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  1. 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

  2. Overview • Web and Database Support • Stuart Varden • Faculty Support • Kitty Daniels • Testing in an Online Course: A Challenge • Susan Feather

  3. Web and Database Support • Use Blackboard, Inc. System (BB5) • Use HorizonLive and Real Presenter Systems for Voice-Over-Graphics Presentations • NACTEL Web Page

  4. 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

  5. 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)

  6. 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

  7. Evolution of Database Function • Stage 1: • Standalone MS Access Databases • Stage2: • Perceived as Having Low Impact • Proctoring • Courseware (Lack of control; change management issues)

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Faculty Support • Orientation for NACTEL faculty • On-going support for NACTEL faculty • University-wide support

  11. Orientation • Online Seminar • Student version • Faculty version • Provide introduction to Blackboard, Horizon Live • Provide essential Internet concepts • Prepare computers for online education

  12. Orientation contd. • “Shadowing” of experienced faculty

  13. On-Going Support • Faculty support • Team Teaching • Team Course Development • Team Course Maintenance • Faculty Meetings • Technical support • Instructional design support

  14. 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

  15. Testing in Online Courses:A Challenge • Student assessment and evaluation (how much, how often, hands-on, practical vs. theoretical) • Secure testing – need for authentication

  16. “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

  17. 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

  18. 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 –

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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)

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

  25. Drag and Drop Question

  26. 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.

  27. 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)

  28. 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)

  29. 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 . . .)

  30. Consortium of Testing Centers

  31. 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

  32. 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?

  33. 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?

  34. 1.Selection of person to serve as proctor Change 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

  35. NACTEL’s Proctoring Program

  36. Proctor Database SQL Server (Spring 2001)

  37. 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

  38. 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)

  39. 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.”

  40. References 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”

  41. Questions?