E-assessment is the use of electronic tools for formative or summative assessment. We assist you in E-assessment creation and administration by supporting various tools for these purposes.

Tools

Blackboard

If you wish to run an exam on Blackboard, you must contact us at least one month in advance. Please note that we are not able to provide support for assessments taking place outside of working hours (08:30-18:00, Monday to Friday). Contact the ICT Service Desk to log a request.

Plagiarism detection (Turnitin)

Turnitin is an online text matching service that assists you in detecting possible plagiarism.

Exam checklist

Examination checklist

General recommendations

  • Contact your IT Faculty Support Team and Learning Technologist. Before you embark on an exam you must contact your departmental Learning Technologist and IT Faculty Support Team. They can assist you in preparing and running your exam properly. Go to: Learning Technologists.
  • Notify ICT separately. If you wish to run assessments on Blackboard, you must report these to us at least one month in advance of the exam. We will ensure that a member of the E-learning Services team is available by telephone and email during working hours to support any technical issues that may arise with Blackboard during the exam. Where we have not been notified in advance, support will be subject to usual standards.  To notify us, contact the ICT Service Desk.
  • Randomise the questions. If you are using multiple choice exams, it is best to randomise the questions and choices so that students will get the options in a varied order.
  • Add security features. Consider adding a password, restricting the IP address and setting a time limit.
  • Have a backup plan. It is best to have a backup plan. Have a paper test ready in case there is a power cut or some other issue which will prevent you from holding an e-assessment. You might also consider having backup invigilators just in case the assigned invigilator is ill.
  • Plan the assessment during normal working hours. We can only provide support during normal working hours (08:30-18:00). If you run into problems outside of this time, we cannot guarantee that technical issues can be investigated. All issues should be reported to the ICT Service Desk or Out of hours support.

Blackboard-specific tips

Before the exam

  • Make sure you have notified the relevant people. Ensure that you have notified your Learning Technologist, IT Faculty Support team and ICT.
  • Test your assessment. Make sure to test the assessment yourself before the students try the exam. We recommend that you use the Preview button in Build or Teach and we do not recommend that you use Student View or Demo Student.  If you use this feature then Blackboard assumes that the test has actually begun, as a result it will not let you make any changes to the exam because it thinks that it is in progress.
  • Ask your students to practice. Allow your students to familiarise themselves with the Blackboard assessment tools before they sit the assessment e.g. ask them to complete a trial quiz or upload a test assignment. Make sure that they are aware of the Save Answer feature.
  • Ask your students to check that they can login to Blackboard. Remind your students to ensure they are able to login to Blackboard at least two working days before the assessment. If they are unable to login, ask them to contact the ICT Service Desk.
  • Remember to provide feedback. Automatic feedback should be provided for each assessment question created.  If the question is a fill in the blank or essay question, then feedback should be provided in a timely fashion after the exam is submitted.
  • Use the Dates option to set the date of the exam. When you set up the exam you should use the Dates option within the assessment properties. Do not use Selective release by date along with this option. 
  • Report suspected Security breaches. If you suspect that there has been a problem with security during the Blackboard exam, contact the ICT Service Desk.

During the exam

  • Remind your students to read the instructions. For Blackboard quizzes, advise your students that they must click Save Answer after each question. They should also read the instructions before they begin the quiz as this will tell them how the questions will be presented, whether they can revisit questions and whether there is a time limit.
  • Remind students to save their answers regularly. Please remember that Blackboard times out after 40 minutes of inactivity, so instruct your students to save their answers regularly (i.e. within the 40 min. time frame).
  • Encourage students to take microbreaks. Students should be encouraged to take micro breaks to relax their muscles and eyes (i.e. stretch, look up at the ceiling). Where an assessment lasts longer than 90 minutes, you should make provision for candidates to take a short supervised break away from the PC.
  • Keep track of when your students finish. If students are permitted to leave the room before the assessment time is up, ensure that they have submitted their assessment on Blackboard before they leave and take a register of the students who are in the exam room. If it is not possible to check the submissions on Blackboard, note down the time that each student left the exam. To check submissions, login to Blackboard and view the submissions for that quiz. If a student has submitted their assessment it should say either Graded, Not graded or Partial next to their name. If it says In progress then the student has not submitted the quiz and would be able to revisit and submit the quiz by logging in after they have left the room.

E-assessments in a computer lab

Technical equipment

  • Screens: If possible, ensure that there are adjustable screens. The input lines should be between 20 and 45 degrees below the test subject’s horizontal line of sight.
  • Space: Ensure that there is sufficient space between workstations. This will help to ensure that students cannot see other students’ screens. A minimum distance of 1.25m is recommended. If not, then partitions may be required.
  • Depth: Ensure that there is sufficient depth of workstation (to allow for keyboard, mouse etc.).
  • Number of computers: It is recommended that you use a room with 5-10% more computers than you need. This will ensure that there will be spare computers in the room in case of a computer failure.
  • Number of chairs: It is recommended that you have some spare chairs in the room to ensure that you can accommodate everyone.
  • Check computer room: Before you run the exam it is recommended that you check that all network and hardware connections are in working order.
  • Projectors: If you need to use a projector to demonstrate the exam, please ensure that this is working.  Projector bulbs often burn out and a warning will pop up on your screen to alert you if this is a possibility.
  • Sound: If the exam produces sound then headphones should be distributed to each student.

Environment

  • Air quality: Ensure that the room has proper ventilation and/or air conditioning.
  • Seating: It is important to provide adjustable seats to accommodate for students of varying heights.
  • Lighting:  Provide sufficient lighting and ensure that there is no glare from the windows or any artificial light.
  • Space for printed paper: You may need space for printed paper or notes.  A document holder may be requested by students with disabilities.
  • Note Taking: You may need to provide a facility for making notes or calculations.
  • Footrests: Footrests may be required for students who are below average height.
  • Cleanliness: Please ensure that all desktops, mice and keyboards are clean and tidy.

Catering for students with disabilities

  • Wheelchair access: Students may require additional space for wheelchair access
  • Screen size: Students who are visually impaired may require larger screens or the ability to resize the text with assistive technology (such as screen magnifiers).
  • Accessing images:  If your exam questions rely on the use of images, it is possible that people with visual impairments may not be able to answer some of the questions.  Alternative text should be provided or an alternative solution.
  • Multiple choice for blind users: When designing multiple choice questions for blind or visually impaired students do not offer choices that are in a long list as seen in the Wrong solution below. Instead it is best to list items individually and let them choose which ones are the correct answers as seen in the Right solution below. The Right solution will be easier for the student to understand and use if they are using a screen reader. 
Examples

Which colour model do digital displays use?

Wrong solution

a.  red, green, blue
b.  red, green, orange
c.  red, green, brown
d.  red, green, purple

Right solution (normally tick boxes to select more than one answer)

a. red
b. green
c. blue
d. orange
e. brown
f.  purple

  • Assistive technologies: Students may require the installation of assistive technologies or links to assistive technology.
  • Usage of colour: 8% of men and 1% of women are colour blind. With this in mind, colour should not be used in a way that would disadvantage those who cannot see it.  Do not use colour to define any important content of the exam (particularly red and green).  It is useful to provide the ability to view a page in high contrast. 
  • Noise of assistive equipment:  If the person with a disability is using a piece of technology which emits extraneous noise, we recommend they are located in a separate environment or room. If possible, it is acceptable to use headphones.
  • Extra time: Students with disabilities may require extra time.  If they require extra time it is best to place them in a separate area to avoid any disturbances when people get up and leave the assessment.
  • For questions about assisting student with disabilities in e-assessment , please contact Mary Bown (m.bown@imperial.ac.uk) or go to: Disability Advisory Service.