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Building a Winning Infrastructure for Distance Education: A Case Study Stuart Varden Kitty Daniels Susan Feather 2002 OSRA Conference St. Louis, MO February 21, 2002 Overview Web and Database Support Stuart Varden Faculty Support Kitty Daniels Testing in an Online Course: A Challenge

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building a winning infrastructure for distance education a case study

Building a Winning Infrastructure for Distance Education: A Case Study

Stuart Varden

Kitty Daniels

Susan Feather

2002 OSRA Conference

St. Louis, MO

February 21, 2002

  • Web and Database Support
    • Stuart Varden
  • Faculty Support
    • Kitty Daniels
  • Testing in an Online Course: A Challenge
    • Susan Feather
web and database support
Web and Database Support
  • Use Blackboard, Inc. System (BB5)
  • Use HorizonLive and Real Presenter Systems for Voice-Over-Graphics Presentations
  • NACTEL Web Page
support staff
Support Staff
  • BB5 Systems Support
  • Two Course Technology Support persons:
    • Graphics support
    • Implement Quizzes, Exams, Syllabi, Assignments and other instructional documents
    • Student/Instructor Help Desk
  • Database Administrator
database function
Database Function
  • Administration System
    • Student Registration
    • Maintain Records on Screening Tests
  • Reporting for:
    • Internal Control
    • External Funding Agencies & Sponsors
      • Sloan Foundation
      • U.S. Government
      • NACTEL Board
      • New York State
      • Regional Accreditation Agencies (Middle States)
database functions cont
Database Functions (Cont.)
  • Research
    • Three Main Thrusts (FIPSE/LAAG):
      • Enhanced Student Services
      • Secure Online Test Proctoring
      • Mentoring
    • Student/Faculty Research Data Source
      • Doctoral Dissertation Research
      • Faculty Research
evolution of database function
Evolution of Database Function
  • Stage 1:
    • Standalone MS Access Databases
  • Stage2:
    • Perceived as Having Low Impact
    • Proctoring
    • Courseware (Lack of control; change management issues)
evolution of database function8
Evolution of Database Function
  • Stage 3:
    • Integration of All Databases
    • Move from MS Access to Sequel Server
  • Stage 4:
    • Interface to University Registration Systems
    • Calendar Issues
    • Billing Structure
    • Third Party Tuition Payments
evolution of database function9
Evolution of Database Function
  • Stage 5:
    • Leadership  Heading to Mainstream
      • Major Program
      • More Online Program Demand – the 9/11 Effect
      • Translates Into Dollars ($)
    • It Is Now Understood That NACTEL Web Page Must Guide the Student Through a Sequence of Functions and Services with the Database Having a Role Throughout
    • Still Learning and Reinventing
faculty support
Faculty Support
  • Orientation for NACTEL faculty
  • On-going support for NACTEL faculty
  • University-wide support
  • Online Seminar
    • Student version
    • Faculty version
    • Provide introduction to Blackboard, Horizon Live
    • Provide essential Internet concepts
    • Prepare computers for online education
orientation contd
Orientation contd.
  • “Shadowing” of experienced faculty
on going support
On-Going Support
  • Faculty support
    • Team Teaching
    • Team Course Development
    • Team Course Maintenance
    • Faculty Meetings
  • Technical support
  • Instructional design support
university wide support
University-Wide Support
  • Center for Instructional Technologies
    • Blackboard Seminars and Conferences
    • Online Seminars
      • Online Course Design
      • Designing Accessible Courses
      • Moderating Online Discussions
      • Using Audio and Video for Online Courses—An Introduction to Web Streaming
  • Faculty Resource Web Site
  • Teaching, Learning, and Technology Roundtable
testing in online courses a challenge
Testing in Online Courses:A Challenge
  • Student assessment and evaluation (how much, how often, hands-on, practical vs. theoretical)
  • Secure testing – need for authentication
“Feared by learners, discounted by instructional designers, tests are, nevertheless, an essential element of learning. We may call them quizzes, drills, examinations, assessments, competence monitors, or demonstrations of mastery. We may cloak them as games or puzzles. Yet, they remain an essential ingredient for gauging a learner’s progress.” (Horton, 2000)Tests
assessment at a distance
Assessment at a Distance

Two Types . . .

  • Formal
    • Online Quizzes
    • Cumulative exams (midterm, final)
    • Submission of homework assignments (fax, e-mail, Drop Box)
    • Projects/Papers (individual and group work)
    • Lab assignments and reports
  • Informal
    • Participation in class discussion board
    • E-mail responses
    • Responses to open-ended questions in an online chat
distance learning software
Distance Learning Software
  • Course Management Systems
    • Blackboard - (adopted by Pace)
    • WebCT –
  • Other Assessment Software
    • Question Mark –
    • eZ.Exam –
    • ExamSoft –
    • Secure Exam –
    • –
    • Cyber Exam –
    • Test Pilot –
    • Chi Tester –
blackboard assessment features
Blackboard Assessment Features
  • Assessment Manager
    • Creates quizzes, exams, and surveys
    • Password protects exam(s)
    • Enables timed quizzes/exams
    • Calculates and records grades
  • Pool Manager
    • Stores questions to be used and reused
  • Online Gradebook (Spreadsheet)
    • Stores grades, allows editing, weighting
    • Exports Gradebook into Excel
    • Resets quizzes/exams
blackboard question types
Blackboard Question Types
  • True/False
    • Make a binary decision – right or wrong?
    • Make question simple and straightforward
  • Multiple choice
    • Maximum 20 choices
  • Multiple Answer
    • Choose more than one answer
  • Fill in the blank
    • Evaluated on an exact text match
    • Doesn’t accept synonyms, grammatical variants, common misspellings
blackboard question types21
Blackboard Question Types
  • Matching
    • Maximum 20
    • Keep the list short!
  • Ordering/Ranking
  • Short Answer/Essay
    • Not automatically graded
    • Learner can cut/paste from another open program
    • Limit on number of characters
blackboard advanced options
Blackboard Advanced Options
  • Categorize questions to create from Question Pool
    • Specific or random
    • Import and export capability
  • Allow HTML coded text
  • Upload multimedia
    • Images
    • Audio
    • Files/websites
      • Create a Link to file (Example: Link to File)
      • Display it on the page
options not available yet
Options Not Available . . . Yet
  • Spell Checker
  • Enter mathematical symbols/functions
  • Greater storage for essay type questions
  • E-mail sent upon completion
  • Interactive questions (hot spot, drag and drop)
hot spot question
Hot Spot Question

In the above diagram, place the marker on the area that makes this a parallel circuit. Then click the Submit button.

how can cheating be reduced
How Can Cheating Be Reduced?

Trust Approach

  • Remind learners . . .
    • they are responsible for their own learning.
    • they only cheat themselves.
    • that you trust them.

Fence Approach

    • Try to make cheating impossible or harder than actually studying.
    • Create new test questions for each test.
    • Randomly select questions from a list.
    • Randomly order multiple choice answers.
    • Require proctored exams.

Threat Approach

    • Threaten punishment with clearly stated policy if caught cheating.
purpose of proctoring program
Purpose of Proctoring Program
  • The proctoring program was designed to focus on the issue of periodic student verification when taking an examination in an online course.
  • “The basic purpose of having a test administrator or proctor in the room is to prevent the test from being compromised.”
  • “Ninety percent of respondents will usually be honest. The other 10 percent can be a real headache.” (Odin Westgaard, Ed.D, Tests That Work)
the proctor defined
The Proctor Defined
  • A person selected by the student and approved by Pace University
  • The proctor will be responsible for administering and supervising any major examinations throughout the student’s degree (i.e. midterm and final exams)
proctor criteria
Proctor Criteria
  • Cannot be a relative, student in the program, or coworker
  • Acceptable proctors . . .
    • Company Supervisor/Manager
    • Corporate Instructor
    • Official College Testing Service
    • Librarian
    • Official Learning/Tutoring Center

(And more . . .)

consortium of testing centers http testing byu edu consortium find asp
Consortium of Testing Centers
proctor responsibilities
Proctor Responsibilities
  • Verify the identity of a student when taking a proctored exam
  • Have e-mail and Internet access (access to fax machine helpful)
  • Gain access to the examination via the Internet using provided password
  • Validate an exam by ensuring that the student is adhering to the exam guidelines
  • Sign and return a verification form upon completion of the proctored examination
proctored exam considerations
Proctored Exam Considerations
  • Determine the specific course criteria:
    • Which exam/s will require a proctor?
    • When will they be available?
    • How will the proctor receive the examination?
    • How will the completed examination be returned?
    • What resources will be allowed?
    • What is the time limit?
proctored exam considerations33
Proctored Exam Considerations
  • Determine the specific course criteria:
    • When is the completed examination due?
    • What kind of feedback will the students receive after exam?
    • When will the grades be posted?
proctoring program steps

1.Selection of person to serve as proctor



4.Proctor administers exam and returns a signed verification form

5. Exam Complete

2.Complete online proctor application process

3.Provide proctor with the exam information and password

Proctoring Program Steps
nactel s proctoring program http support csis pace edu nactel program proctoring cfm
NACTEL’s Proctoring Program
proctor database
Proctor Database
  • Instructors have access to proctor information and e-mail capability for their courses only
  • Students have ability to edit, verify, invalidate proctor and apply for a new proctor
  • Students have ability to search for currently approved proctors by location (only those proctors who are willing to proctor for other students
  • Soon . . .
  • Proctors will have access to update contact information, retrieve exam information/passwords and verify administration of any proctored exam
current problems concerns
Current Problems/Concerns
  • Scheduling a day/time with proctor
  • Computer/printer malfunctions
  • Problem accessing/submitting online exam
  • Proctor database is student dependent, rather than proctor dependent
  • Lost connection during exam requiring that it be reset
    • Connection Keeper (sends ping to ISP)

proctor survey responses
Proctor Survey Responses

“Your services are great to help people further their education/careers.”

“This was accomplished seamlessly. It demonstrated a lot of thought went into this procedure.”

“Your communications are clear, organized, and allow for ease in response. You've made the process simple and easy to use. Thanks!”

“The use of e-mail and the Internet is an excellent method to distribute the needed information as opposed to regular mail service.”

“I think the process works very well. Tricia keeps in contact and the e-mails I have gotten all have the pertinent information. I’ve enjoyed working with Pace and the students.”


Horton, W. (2000). Designing Web-Based Training

Westgaard, O. (1999). Tests That Work

“Survey of Course and Test Delivery/Management Systems for Distance Learning”

“Web-Based Assessment”

“Quizzing and Testing On the Internet”