Test Management Issue

I’ve taken to “daisy chaining” the quizzes and tests in my online course.

That is, a student has to take Quiz 1 before Quiz 2 becomes available. Then they have to take Quiz 2 before Test 1 becomes available. After taking Test 1, Quiz 3 become available, etc.

I’ve been, umm, forced to do this to make the point that the Quizzes are required and not an optional part of the course. But that’s not the technical issue here.

It turns out that the “adaptive release” option I use to manage this little trick is negated when I “Edit Test Options” and add names to the “Test Availability Exceptions.”

When I need to make a Test available past the due date for some student (and, sigh, there’s always at least one), then the “adaptive release” is completely taken away.

Which means students who have not taken Quiz 2 now can jump directly to Test 1 — without passing Go, and without collecting $200.

This also means if your test availability dates were in “adaptive release” and not in the “Edit Test Options” section, you need to add your beginning and ending dates to that area… otherwise, your availability dates are totally gone!

Took me a while to figure this one out… thought I’d share!





Using Rubrics to your Advantage

Rather than deal with the ‘discussion’ about late assignments, I allow for them, with an overt penalty listed in the syllabus.

There are 11 ten-point assignments in the course, so remembering who has turned what in, and when, is fully managed by the Assignment Tool. And since it’s only 10 points, every assignment has a rubric attached to it.

I’d rather students do the assignment than not, in the end, and I can be ‘understanding’ by allowing for the late submission. I do have a “last submission date” where I do not take assignments after that date, but during the semester, I’m pretty lenient.

In an effort to keep everyone more-or-less on time, I have penalties listed right in the syllabus. Assignments submitted 2 days late get a 2 point penalty and over 2 days late, it’s a 6 point penalty.

But, heck, when you’re otherwise struggling, 4 points is better than 0!

But as I’m typing “minor penalty for late submission” in the feedback box for the bazillionth time, it finally hits me. I can put that into the rubric!


The rubric tool will take negative numbers, as long as you also have a 0 value in the row.

When an assignment is turned in on time, I can simply click the “0 Points” box and it’s all set. When it’s late, I click the appropriate penalty. The penalty is applied and message sent, right in the rubric.

Course Sites

Blackboard has a really cool web site at http://www.coursesites.com (don’t forget that “s” at the end of ‘coursesite’ or you’ll end up at the wrong place.

For free — a very important concept — Blackboard will let you build a course. What’s even cooler, is that if you build a course there, you can ‘export’ it and we’ll be able to import it into our Blackboard instance. So, no wasted time in building a course somewhere only to have to re-build it again when we’re fully live.

I’ll be talking a bit about the Course Sites site, what’s there and where you might want to start.

I have this really huge delusion that I’m going to re-build my online Mat 129 Stats class there, kind of a ‘performance art’ approach. I’ll talk about the differences between what I’ve done in the past and what does and doesn’t work for me now. I’m not going to just ‘roll’ an existing class into the Course Site, I’m going to build from scratch so I can see how things work.

I do feel obligated to say: YES, you can roll courses from our existing BB8 to BB9. Things will change but the majority of your existing work will transfer over.

This also will be a primer on teaching an online class that anyone can take advantage of. I’ll talk about the tools I use, what I don’t use, why I’ve made those choices and how they’ve worked for me. Laying it all out there! 

After I get the build started, if you’d like to play, let me know and I’ll invite you as a student so you can see how it’s going. I’d love the feedback!