Blackboard Test Generator Converts MS Word Formatted Tests into LMS Quizzes

The Blackboard (Bb) Test Generator converts your electronic file tests (i.e., MS Word or Text) into the learning management system (LMS) test questions. Bb Test Generator is an open educational resource. This will save time from building a test online one question at a time IF you already have it prepared. The College of Southern Idaho provides a Bb test generator website where you can copy-and-paste your test to the Bb test generator to convert it into a zip file that can be uploaded into Schoology. The directions on their Website are fairly straightforward. After you convert the text, you’ll obtain a bbquiz zip file.

For Schoology LMS, follow these steps after you log into your  course to upload the test:

  1. Create a blank test in Schoology.
  2. Then select Add Question.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select Import Test/Quiz.

  1. Select Blackboard 7.1-9.0 button for import type from the pop-up window. Select next and locate your bbquiz zip file for import from your computer.

5. Then provide the appropriate test settings within Schoology.

  1. Save!

Note. In Schoology, the default points awarded for test questions is 1. To change them all to something else without having to manually do this one-by-one for long tests, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Options tab within the Quiz Questions view, and save your test to the Schoology Question Bank. Make a new Question Bank if you don’t have one already. Save Question Bank to your personal Resources (Home) on Schoology.

Schoology Test creation options include a drop-down menu for Add Questions to Bank

  1. Then delete your quiz after you’ve saved it to the Schoology Question Bank. Yes, start all over!
  2. Create a new test (Add Quiz), and use questions from your test bank.

  3. Select From Question Banks from the drop-down menu to Add Questions.

Quiz creation tool includes a tab to Add Questions with a option in the drop-down menu for From Question Bank5. Open the Question Bank in your Resources to add Set Points BEFORE you copy it over. This is the only material you can actually edit within your personal resources in Schoology.

In your personal resources, within your saved Question Bank, you can set points for all test items by typing in the value

 

My Schoology Gradebook Training Notes

Schoology Gradebook tool to copy settings to new courses resides in Grade Setup view

For the past two years, our College has used Schoology‘s Enterprise version as our learning management system (LMS). We’re very pleased with it as administrators and have received positive feedback from faculty and students on its functionality. During this time, I’ve developed supporting documentation and videos for in-house training purposes. This post focuses on Schoology’s Gradebook. These are my training notes for this tool. Granted, Schoology provides their own Support Center with very good information supported by interactive screen captures (gifs) to illustrate directions. My notes provide specific tasks and tool features for an overview based on frequently asked questions in my role as the LMS support on campus.

Workshop Agenda for Schoology Gradebook Review  (9/19/18) 

  1. GRADING CRITERIA: Use Grade Setup for weighted categories after you add categories to the Otherwise, all categories are set to 100% by default! Select the checkbox titled Weight Categories. It’s invisible until you add a category to your Gradebook. Make sure the grading criteria and naming convention used in your syllabus match that of your course grading categories.
  2. GRADEBOOK COLUMNS: Add a Grade column manually to Gradebook for items that are not assigned in Schoology (e.g., participation). Select the plus sign (+) in Gradebook view. Afterward, add grades manually by hovering over the grade slot or import from Excel sheet by selecting the vertical 3-dot icon near the plus sign in Gradebook and selecting Import from the drop-down menu.
  3. IMPORT/EXPORT GRADES: Import/Export grades to/from Gradebook by selecting the vertical 3-dot image in Gradebook view. Then select Import or Export from the drop-down menu. For imports, make sure the Excel columns are named as you would like to display them in Gradebook.
  4. REUSING GRADEBOOK SETTINGS IN OTHER COURSES: Use the Copy Settings tab of Gradebook in Grade Setup before copying course content into a blank shell to lay the operational foundations. Copy the original course by selecting the Options tab near Materials. Select Save course to Resources and then pull it into your new course after you copy the Gradebook’s settings.
  5. ACCESS ALL YOUR CURRENT GRADEBOOKS: Grade multiple courses from Gradebook view. Select the notebook icon in the upper right-hand corner and then select which course’s Gradebook you want to view next.
  6. BULK EDIT GRADEBOOK: To view the settings of all assignments, discussions, and tests at once, go to the vertical 3-dot icon in Gradebook view, and select Bulk Edit to see the name, category, points, factor, rubric, due date, and period.
  7. ACCESS USER ANALYTICS: Select Analytics to see User Statistics. Select a username to see stats per item.
  8. EXPAND GRADEBOOK VIEW: Toggle the Gradebook to full screen with the bidirectional arrow icon in Gradebook. This will help you see all the items in Gradebook instead of scrolling over.
  9. ACCOMMODATIONS: For accommodations for students with certified disabilities, copy test or assignment and assign to an individual when you create it. Within Assignment creation (or edit mode), select the three-dot pyramid icon for Individually Assign. WARNING: Do not re-assign original test from class to individual or your class test grades will disappear. (If this happens, re-assign test to regular class and the grades should reappear.)
  10. RUBRICS/SCALES: You can create Rubrics with criteria and/or Scales for grading such as P/F with ranges (F = 0-60 & P = 61-100). You can reuse rubrics/scales in other courses by saving them to your personal Resources.
  11. ALIGN LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Your school’s LMS administrator can add your departmental student learning outcomes from an Excel sheet to the Schoology system for use in course assignments. After they’ve been added to the system, when you create an assignment (or in edit view), select the bull’s eye target icon for Align Learning Objectives. Then select the Custom Learning Objectives to find your departmental ones under the School heading.
  12. DROP LOWEST GRADE: Follow this pathway to drop the lowest grade: Go to Gradebook>Grade Set Up>Add button beside Categories>Type the Category for your Quiz and then type in # in the section for Drop Lowest Grade>Click Create. To avoid grade inflation early on, don’t turn this on until later in the semester.
  13. EXTRA CREDIT: To give extra credit in Schoology without penalizing those who didn’t do the extra work, create a new assignment worth 0 maximum points within one of your existing Grading Categories, and then assign the number of extra credit points to each student who completes the item accordingly. (Note: You must already have something else graded in that category for this to work).

Do you use Schoology? Let me know if you found this information helpful! View my Advanced Schoology Gradebook video tutorial for a virtual tour of its features.

Hashtags: #LMS #Schoology #Gradebook #training #tutorial

Goodbye eCollege, Hello Schoology!

Venn Diagram comparing the features of eCollege and Schoology with Schoology providing twice as many.

Here’s the Venn Diagram of eCollege versus Schoology.  Pearson closed its door on eCollege and eCompanion, so we adopted a new learning management system (LMS).  Schoology, by comparison, has so many more features for our learners.

4 Things You Can Do to Make Your Online Course More Accessible

The following suggestions are recommended in meeting the Americans with Disability Act (1990).

“No otherwise qualified individual with a disability …shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance… (Section 504, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 794). ” Follow these basic guidelines for compliance and to improve learning for all:

  1. Describe images and hyperlinks with alternative text.
  2. Use san serif fonts for online text.
  3. Check and repair all portable document formats (PDFs) for accessibility.
  4. Caption all video and transcribe audio.

Images. Alternative (alt) text helps people that use assistive technology (e.g., screen readers) as their learning accommodation.  For example, screen readers like Microsoft’s (MS) JAWS (Job Access with Speech) read the description aloud to the user with vision impairment.  Make sure you concisely provide alt text for each image in your online course. This includes images on a course page within a PowerPoint or Word document. For some learning management systems, it’s not a requirement when adding photos.

Hyperlinks. When you add links to your course, think about simplifying information by providing the specific name of the Website instead of a confusing Web address, also known as the URL (Uniform Resource Locator).  Take into account that the assistive technology will read aloud the long URL if you do not give it a name. Imagine listening to an entire URL reading: “h-t-t-p-semicolon-forward slash-forward slash-secure-period-ecollege-period-com-forward slash-shc”.  This would cause extra cognitive load on the listener. Here are some examples:

The exact name of the Website will aid all learners in understanding where the link will take them.

Fonts. Sans-serif fonts are recommended for online text to provide accessibility. Sans-serif fonts don’t have the “hats and shoes” on certain letters that serif fonts include. This is because serif fonts may waiver and become difficult to read on low bandwidth or poor Internet connections. Schoology provides Arial as the default font, which is sans-serif.  For a complete list of typefaces, see Wikipedia.

PDFs. Are your PDFs readable? Conduct a word search within the Find box of aPDF for a word you see in the document. Type Ctrl+F if you don’t see a Find box. If you receive the message, “No matches were found,” then the document is a scanned image, which cannot be read by persons who use assistive technology. Use Adobe Acrobat Pro XI to repair “unreadable” PDFs.  It has an accessibility checker that you can run to repair the document.

Ensure your MS Word documents are accessible before you save them as a PDF.  MS Word versions 2010 and later have accessibility checkers that will highlight any issues your document has. Within MS Word, select File > Info> Check for Issues > Check Accessibility.  Fix issues like missing alt text for images.  See Adobe Accessibility Quick Reference Card for information on earlier versions of MS Word that you may have at home.

Captions. Caption all media. Closed captioning is the preferred format (instead of open captions), so the user can turn it on or off according to their needs.  If you don’t have your media captioned, at the very least, provide a script until you caption the video or audio file; however, transcripts don’t provide equal access to media lesson because the words and images from the video aren’t in sync to enhance meaning. See list of free captioning services below. A transcript would suffice for an audio file or narrated PowerPoint. I recommend providing the transcription in the note’s section of the PowerPoint.

  1. Captioning Key is funded by the National Association of the Deaf and The Described and Captioned and Media Program. It provides a PDF document on specific quality assurance guidelines for closed-captioning. http://www.dcmp.org/captioningkey/
  2. Amara.org for captioning any video on the Internet: http://www.amara.org/en/
  3. CaptionTube for captioning YouTube videos: http://captiontube.appspot.com/
  4. Subtitle Workshop for captioning any video: http://sourceforge.net/projects/subworkshop/

 

Sandra Annette Rogers, Instructional Designer