Instructor Step-by-Step Guide:

 Assessments Best practices

Create timed exams by setting a specific time limit within a larger time frame.

Within the Interaction tab of an exam’s Settings, set a Time Limit using the radial button and text box at the bottom of the tab. Consider giving students few additional minutes, to compensate for possible user or technology problems.

Back at the top of the Interaction tab, use the check and dropdown menus to Enable and Disable the assessment on the date of the exam.  Use the clock to set generous time span during which students can access the exam.

An assessment is available on December 1, 2009 between 10:00-11:00 am (during class) but is limited to a 30 minute time window. Student A logs on right at 10:00 and begins taking the exam. He will have 30 minutes to complete it. Student B has battery problems and needs to borrow a laptop from the Library. She doesn’t begin the exam until 10:25.  She too will have 30 minutes to complete the exam.

Be aware of the limitations of the auto-save feature.

The auto-save is designed to allow students to pick up where they left off after an interruption in an exam due to technology failure. However, it is important to realize that clicking on the next question is what causes progress to be saved. To put it another way, myCourses only auto-saves completed questions in an assessment and not partially answered questions. If students are writing long essay answers and their computer crashes half-way through, that particular essay will not be saved. This is particularly important to be aware of in assessments which are timed, because there is no manual save button displayed.

In an untimed assessment, there is a setting that enables a Save Button which allows students to save their content at any time (including in the middle of a long essay question). However, if they do not remember to press the Save Button manually, the same auto-save rules listed above apply.

If appropriate, allows students to type answers in paragraph form into MS Word.

Students can then paste their answers into myCourses. This measure provides extra security in the face of technology failure and prevents loss of any essay data should the exam be interrupted.

Only open one session of myCourses at a time!

While taking an exam in myCourses, students must not open myCourses in a second browser window. Doing so will cause any submission to fail and the attempt will be lost. If attempts are restricted to one, a student will not be able to re-open the exam to continue taking it.

Warn students that they must not open myCourses in more than one browser. While it is physically possible to open myCourses in that second browser, myCourses only allows a user to be in one place at a time. A student can be either in the exam OR in Course Materials. myCourses responds to the last command a user gives it, regardless of what browser it came from; once they move to Course Materials, they are no longer in the exam.

 Turn on "tracking" for all assessments/quizzes/exams. 

This facilitates troubleshooting and also allows insight into student activity; for example, it shows if a student has tried to access myCourses through a second browser while taking an exam.


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