Center for Information Technology Services

 

Thursday, November 11, 2004
E-Learning Committee Meeting
School of Nursing Room 435

Attendees:  Sarita Sanjoy (SOM-DPTRS), Jeff Hawk (SOM-DPTRS), Darryl Roberts (UMSON-Faculty), Shannon Tucker (SOP), Brook Botvin (CITS), Lorraine Doucette (SOM-DMRT), Kevin So (SON), Nola Stair (SON), Fran May (CITS), Alexo Mayo (HSHSL), Dan Hughes (CITS), Vavian Cox (CITS), Robert Bennett (Dental School), Jim Leoni (CITS)

Noted Absentees:  Brent Nickles (CITS), Dave Pitts (SSW)

Darryl Roberts (SON-Faculty) attended the e-learning committee meeting today as a result of having several issues/problems with Blackboard since the move to version 6 beginning in the Fall 2004.  The following are those issues/problems:

  1. The problems have been related mostly to quizzes and tests – specifically when some students submitted answers to essay questions some of their answers are erased so that the faculty member only sees their answers for 3 of the 5 questions and the students have reported answering all 5 questions.
  2. Additionally, students have been able to print the tests and quizzes in Blackboard.  In version 5 there was a piece of code that was used to keep the students from being able to print the quiz/test question from that browser window.  That piece of code does not work in Blackboard 6.
  3. The grade book has to reload for every student when making changes to the grade book.
  4. Media server problems were mentioned but Darryl Roberts was going to speak with Tom Connolly about those issues.

Shannon Tucker (SOP) School of Pharmacy has had problems getting all students into a quiz at the same time.  In one particular class, there was an in class quiz given and all students were on SOP’s wireless network.  Not all students were able to get into take the quiz.  Shannon had to go into BB and allow more time for the quiz to be completed

As a result of some of these problems with tests and quizzes the SOP and SON want to pursue other alternatives for testing with their online courses.  One of the products mentioned was QuestionMark.  The e-Learning committee decided it would be worthwhile to investigate some of these other alternatives (Question Mark and LXR).  It was recommended that perhaps some of these computer-based testing vendors can come to showoff for the e-Learning committee.

Nola Stair (SON) – reported that if you post a quiz/test/survey, the associated announcement that is created does not synchronize with when the quiz should be.  In other words, if you create a quiz that should  not be seen by students until a week from the day it is created, the announcement will report that a quiz has been posted.  The announcement should not come up until the quiz is available to be taken.  The work around that was suggested is to go in and change the announcement after creating the quiz.

Jim Leoni (CITS) - CITS currently performs a service that provides test scoring for the schools.  The software runs on the HP 3000 legacy computer which will probably be taken out of service some time in late 2005.  Additionally the current software utilizes Scantron cards and card readers; the card readers are problematic as they are very difficult to “tune.”  (e.g. erased answers sometimes are picked up by the scanner)
 
Jim wanted to query the group to see if utilizing Blackboard as an assessment mechanism was viable.  The consensus of the eLearning Committee was that Blackboard’s functionality for providing test scoring left much to be desired.  In addition, instructors will most likely still have to provide physical testing mechanisms since there is not a computer lab big enough on campus to accommodate the number of students quizzed or tested at one time.
 
Jim passed out a sheet of all known instructors utilizing CITS test scoring and asked the committee members to send any changes or additions addition to him at jleoni@umaryland.edu.   Bob Bennett suggested that committee members go back to their schools and ask their course directors for this information and pass it to Jim as the course directors have the most accurate information.
 
After discussion, committee members suggested that the eLearning Committee may be the right group to provide recommendations for replacing the current test scoring system, possibly inviting vendors in so that we could “test drive” their software and solutions.  Solutions may range from products that interface with Blackboard or run completely independent of Blackboard.

Fran May (CITS) – Monday December 6, 2004 is the deadline for course creation forms to be submitted to the Help Desk if you want to ensure your courses existence for the start of the Spring semester

Next Meeting is Thursday, December 9, 2004 at Room 435 at SON building.