One little-known feature hiding within D2L is the ability for instructors to record webcam videos and instantly post them to a course. Here’s how:
1) From the Content tool in D2L, select the module in which you would like to post your video
2) Click New, then Create a File
3) In the next screen, type a title for your video, then click the “Insert Stuff” button (shown below)
4) In the next screen, click the Webcam button on the left-hand side, then “Allow” at the security prompt
5) You webcam will activate. Position yourself in the center of the frame, then click Record when you are ready to begin your video. Click STOP when you are done.
6) When you are finished with your video, click NEXT in the lower-right corner of the window. In the next screen, type a title for your video, then click NEXT again.
7) Click Insert to finish.
8) In the final screen, click Publish to make the video available to your students.
Conducting online, self-scoring objective tests using the Quizzes tool in D2L has become a popular way to assess students in both online and face-to-face courses. However, for faculty using online tests, the questions always comes up as to how secure online tests really are, and how to keep students from cheating. This post will attempt to clear up some misconceptions.
Hard Truth #1: Students Sometimes Copy and Share Questions Out of the Test
Now and then I hear from faculty who are shocked to find that a student has emailed them with questions taken out of a test or quiz. Yes, in the Properties screen of a quiz, you can turn off right-clicking, but students can still copy questions out by using the PrintScreen button on their keyboards, or by using keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste. Expensive and awkward software solutions exist that can disable the PrintScreen buttons and copy/paste functions, but even then students can copy and share tests by taking cell phone pictures of their screens.
Hard Truth #2: Students Sometimes Use Their Notes and the Internet to Look Up Answers
Unless you conduct your online exam in a proctored computer lab, there is no way to stop students from opening up their paper notes while taking the exam. Students may also use their cell phones or open up a second browser window to search for answers.
Hard Truth #3: Students Sometimes Take Online Tests Together
It is a common sight in the library during midterm and finals week to find students sitting side-by-side in the computer labs, working together on the same online test. This is especially common in fully online undergrad courses, in which most of the students live on campus.
Best Practices to Ensure Academic Integrity
It’s very difficult to create a perfectly secure, fully-online test, but there are strategies you can use to make collaboration more difficult:
1) When creating multiple-choice quiz questions, always use the “Randomize Options” setting.
2) It takes some time to learn how to do, but you can also randomize the order in which the quiz questions appear for each student.
3) Be sure to set a conservative time limit (30 seconds to 1 minute per question). A short time limit means less time to look up answers.
4) Also be sure to set a narrow start and end date window. This means less opportunity for students to meet up and work together.
5) When opening up Post-Test Feedback, be sure to show only questions answered incorrectly, and NO answers.
This has been the reality since before SRU used Desire2Learn, and was the case with Blackboard as well. The best approach to take is to assume that students will be using notes and other resources, and will likely be sharing details about the exams with one another. Many of the most successful online instructors place far less weight on objective tests, and instead draw most of their assessments from writing assignments, discussions, and research. Dishonesty is much easier to spot in written assignments since we can do plagiarism detection with Turnitin.
On occasion, we will have reports from faculty that quizzes taken by students on D2L will return very low or unusual scores in the gradebook. For example:
What Causes This?
This is caused by a common mistake made when creating quiz questions. Specifically, the technique used to specify the correct answers.
Fixing the Mistake
The first step in fixing this issue is to correct the affected quiz questions.
1) Click on the Quizzes button in the navbar of your course.
2) Click on the title of the problem quiz
3) In the next screen, click on the Layout/Questions tab
4) Click on the Add/Edit Questions button
5) Locate the first multiple choice or true/false question in the quiz, then click on its title.
6) Scroll down to the area of the question creation screen where the answers are specified.
The example above illustrates the source of the problem. To specify the correct answer for a multiple choice or true/false question, you must put 100 in the box labeled “Weight” next to the correct answer. In other words, if the student chooses “First-Person Narration,” they are awarded 100% of the points for that question.
To correct the quiz, change the “Weight” value to 100 in each of the questions that were incorrectly created.
Re-Scoring Existing Quiz Attempts
Once you’ve corrected the questions in the quiz, each student who takes the quiz from now on will receive the correct final score. However, this doesn’t fix the scores of students who have already taken it. Here’s how:
1) Click on the Quizzes button in your course
2) Next to the title of the affected quiz will be a small drop-down box. Click that, then choose Grade
3) In the next screen, click on the Questions tab
4) In the next screen, click on the bubble labeled “Update All Attempts”
5) Scroll down to the bottom of the screen, and you’ll notice a grouping of questions labeled “Questions that are not in the quiz anymore.” Click on the title of the first question
6) In the next screen, you will see a breakdown of the answer choices for the question, plus an option labeled “Give to attempts with answer____, _ points“
As in the circled example above, use the drop-down box to choose the correct answer, then put the number of points to be awarded in the textbox
7) Click Save at the bottom of the screen, then click Yes at the confirmation.
8) When the screen refreshes, click Go Back to Questions.
9) Repeat the process for each of the affected questions.