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Online Adjuncting: quizzes

July 23, 2007

There are numerous reasons to create a quiz:

  • One small attempt to ensure reading
  • A chance to get a grade in the system
  • Automated grading
  • Easy upload

The first reason is pretty obvious: even more than on-ground, you can’t tell if the student has read…or even if the one logging in is the real student (it happens). But, with a handy-dandy reading quiz, you can at least ensure the student reads the material in the quiz… And that is something.

I taught mainly writing courses, so it was nice to get a grade into the system that was relatively high (reading quizzes are not meant to trip the student up, but to ensure reading) and graded by someone other than myself. Online quizzes do both. And they are easy, once made, to upload.

With that, how does one make an online quiz? Glad you asked. I used both BlackBoard and WebCT before they merged, and both handled quizzes much the same. You “code” the quiz, upload and link and set a date to run.

How to code a quiz:

  1. Start with a list of questions (why write your own)…most books have a companion website or CD where they provide lists of questions. Copy/paste into a wordpad document. You will then choose the questions you want to include (I picked a decent number—around 25, unless they really didn’t read and then I picked 50)
  2. Chose your questions, deleting the rest
  3. You have pasted into a WordPad document because you want to eliminate all styles and formatting, and Word will try to retain these. Kill them all.
  4. Format your questions. Automatic upload programs work by finding key words and tabs (similar to uploading into a database or Excel—which it really is). To define the type of question, enter the question type: MC, TF, etc…
  5. Use tabs to separate question type from question from answers from answer types:

Question type Question? answer 1 answer type (is this the correct answer or not)

  1. A formatted question looks:

TF A teleconference is appropriate for a group of people at the same location. False

MC The paperless office prediction was based on the belief that: real paper would be substituted with a more economic “fake” paper. Incorrect offices would eventually store information on electronic media only. Correct the world would have a tree shortage. Incorrect all of these. Incorrect onionskin paper would replace traditional paper. Incorrect

  1. Save your file
  2. Upload to BlackCT (the combined company will soon have a single platform—mark my words).
  3. Link to gradebook
  4. Define the parameters (when and how can they take it)

Subsequent questions are: do you let your students take a quiz more than once? Is it timed? Do you show them the correct answers? Do you show them which questions they missed?

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2 Comments
  1. July 24, 2007 1:43 am

    Great post. I’ve been thinking a lot about quizzes recently, and how to use them beyond a grade.

    Although more work, I’ve been giving tests that attempt to measure their confidence in an answer. I use them as a kind of pre-test. Perhaps just after a reading, but before a lecture or discussion. They do a great job of spotlighting their deficits or needs.

    Who is Cormac McCarthy?
    a) a judge in Tom Sawyer
    b) author of the Border Trilogy
    c) character in James Joyce’s “The Dead”

    I’m confident the answer is “a”
    I’m confident the answer is “b”
    I’m confident the answer is “c”
    not sure — either “a” or “b”
    not sure — either “a” or “c”
    not sure — either “b” or “c”
    Don’t have a clue

    You can give partial credit for the “not sure” answers, but I don’t see the sense in it. What interests me are the confidently wrong answers: answers they bet are right but are not. Why do they think so? A good place to start discussions.

  2. Kristina permalink
    July 27, 2007 9:09 pm

    Thanks for the tutorials. I’ve been enjoying your blog for months, but now I need survival skills from the trenches. I just accepted a position as an English adjunct, teaching 3 online English comp courses. I’m freaking out already.

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