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Blackboard 9.1 Online Guide:
Building your test and survey with Excel and Blackboard
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"Questions can be authored offline in Excel and then saved as a text file and uploaded into Tests, Surveys, and Question Pools. Once uploaded, questions can be edited and used like questions that have been authored in the Blackboard system."

BlackBoard INC.


Objectives

Objectives - What you will learn over the next 90 minutes.

  • The trainee will:
    • Learn how to construct a test using the Excel format.
    • Acquire knowledge to import questions.
    • Understand how to set up a random block.
    • Comprehend test settings.
    • Learn about different question types.
    • Understand how to check readiness of a test.
    • Comprehend making a test available to students.
    • Understand how to create an alternate test and set up adaptive release.
    • Learn how to view test grades and adjust scores.
    • Acquire knowledge to create a survey and make it available
    • Understand how to view survey statistics
    • Comprehend downloading survey data.
    • Demonstrate knowledge of the test and survey tools by adding them to their own course directly after this training session.
Learning Activities

To build a test using excel:

  1. Open Excel
  2. Fields in a row are separated by a TAB
  3. Do not include blank lines between records. The blank line will be processed and return an error.
  4. Blackboard recommends that each batch file not exceed 500 records because of timeout restrictions associated with most browsers.
  5. File Format Rules

    Questions in the text file must conform to the following structure to be uploaded successfully:
    • No header row for the file
    • One question per row
    • Duplicate questions are allowed
    • Fields in a row are separated by a TAB
    • Each field in the question correlates to the fields of the respective system-created question
    • Point values for questions in an uploaded file cannot differ but can be edited after the upload
    • The first field in every row defines the type of question
    • Correct, Incorrect, True, False, and other words that identify answers must be in English.

    Note: Formatting errors in individual questions in a file will cause the questions to fail to upload, not the entire file.

  6. Follow this format for different question types:
  • Essay
    • ESS TAB question text TAB sample answer
    • The sample answer is optional for this question type
    • Essay questions require the Instructor to provide Students with a question or statement. Students are given the opportunity to type an answer into a text field. Sample answers can be added for users or Graders to use as a reference. These types of questions must be graded manually on the Grade Assessment page.
  • File Response
    • FIL TAB question text
    • Users upload a file from the local drive or from the Content Collection as the answer to the question. This type of question is graded manually.
  • Fill in the Blank
    • FIB TAB question text TAB answer text
      TABanswer text may be repeated for each correct answer that is part of this question type. The maximum number of answers is 20.
    • Fill in the Blank answers are evaluated based on an exact text match. Accordingly, it is important to keep the answers simple and limited to as few words as possible. Answers are not case sensitive, but are evaluated based on spelling.
  • Jumbled Sentence
    • JUMBLED_SENTENCE TAB question text TAB choice1 TAB variable1 TAB choice2 TAB variable2 TAB choice3 TAB variable3
    • This question type has a list of choices-answers where each choice-answer consists of the choice followed by the list of variables for which that choice is the correct answer. An empty field indicates the end of a choice answer. A choice immediately followed by an empty field indicates that that choice is not the correct answer for any variable.
    • Users are shown a sentence with a few parts of the sentence as variables. The user selects the proper answer for each variable from drop-down lists to assemble the sentence. Only one set of answers is used for all of the drop-down lists.
  • Matching
    • MAT TAB question text TAB answer text TAB matching text TAB answer text TAB matching text TAB answer text TAB matching text may be repeated for each correct answer that is part of this question type. The maximum number of answers is 20. The order of each of the answer texts in the question is the correct order, reflecting the correct answer. The system will randomly order the answers and their question. There must be a one-to-one relationship between questions and answers. If not, correct answers may be marked incorrect if more than one answer has the same value.
    • Matching questions allow Students to pair items in one column to items in another column. Instructors may include a different numbers of questions and answers in a Matching question.
  • Multiple Answer
    • MA TAB question text TAB answer text TAB correct or incorrect TAB answer text TAB correct or incorrect TAB answer text may be repeated for each of the answers that are part of this question type. For each TABanswer text, there must be a corresponding TABcorrect or TABincorrect. The maximum number of answers is 20.
    • Multiple answer questions allow users to choose more than one answer. The number of answer choices is limited to 20.
  • Multiple Choice
    • MC TAB question text TAB answer text TAB correct or incorrect TAB answer text TAB correct or incorrect TAB answer text may be repeated for each of the answers that are part of this question type. For each TABanswer text, there must be a corresponding TABcorrect or TABincorrect. The maximum number of answers is 20.
    • Multiple-choice questions allow the users a multitude of choices with only one correct answer. In multiple choice questions, users indicate the correct answer by selecting a radio button. The number of answer choices is limited to 20.
  • Multiple Fill in the Blank
    • FIB_PLUS TAB question text TAB variable1 TAB answer1 TAB answer2 TABvariable2 TAB answer3
    • The format consists of a list of variable-answers where each variable-answer is composed of the variable name and a list of correct answers for that variable. Variable-answers are delimited by an empty field.
    • This question type builds on fill-in-the-blank questions with multiple fill in the blank responses that can be inserted into a sentence or paragraph. Separate sets of answers are defined for each blank.
  • Numeric Response
    • NUM TAB question text TAB answer TAB answer range
    • Note: Answer and answer range must be in the form of a number with no decimals or commas. TAB answer range is a number plus or minus from the answer that is acceptable as correct. This is optional for this question type.
    • This question resembles a fill-in-the-blank question. The user enters a number to complete a statement. The correct answer can be a specific number or within a range of numbers.
  • Opinion Scale/Likert Scale
    • OP TABquestion text
    • Question type based on a rating scale designed to measure attitudes or reactions. This type of question is popular to use in surveys in order to get a comparable scale of opinion. Users indicate the multiple choice answer that represents their attitude or reaction.
  • Ordering
    • ORD TAB question text TAB answer text TAB answer text TAB answer text may be repeated for each of the answers that are part of this question type. The maximum number of answers is 20. The order of each of the answer texts in the question is the correct order, reflecting the correct answer. The system will randomly order the answers.
    • Ordering questions require users to provide an answer by selecting the correct order of a series of items.
  • Quiz Bowl
    • QUIZ_BOWL TAB question text TAB question_word1 TAB question_word2 TABphrase1 TAB phrase2
      Question words are all valid interrogatives and phrases are all valid answer phrases. The maximum number of interrogatives and matching phrases is 20.
    • Quiz Bowl questions are a way to add fun and creativity to tests, such as self assessments or in-class contests. The user is shown the answer and responds by entering the correct question into a text box.
  • Short Response
    • SR TAB question text TAB sample answer TAB sample answer is optional for this question type.
    • Short Answer questions are similar to essay questions. The length of the answer can be limited to a specified number of rows in the text box.
  • True/False
    • TF TAB question text TAB true or false
    • True/False questions allow the user to choose either true or false. True and False answer options are limited to the words True and False.

To save your Excel file as a .txt file:

  1. Click on the "office icon" in the top left of Excel.
  2. Click on " Save As."
  3. In the save as type drop down menu, save as "Text (Tab Delimited)(*.txt)
  4. Click "Save."
  5. Click "Ok."
  6. Click "Yes."

To import the .txt file into BlackBoard:

  1. On the "Control Panel" (the second panel from the top, below the course menu.)
  2. Click on "Course Tools."
  3. Click on "Tests, Surveys and Pools."
  4. Click on "Tests."
  5. Click on "Build Test."
  6. Name the test and enter a description.
  7. Click on "Submit."
  8. Click on "Upload Questions."
  9. Click the "Browse" button to locate the file.
  10. Click "Open."
  11. Click "Submit."
  12. Your questions are imported, you can change point values here.
  13. Click "Ok."

To check test readiness in BB 9.1:

  1. Go to the content area where you added your test in your BlackBoard course.
  2. Click on the contextual menu to the right of the Test title.context menu
  3. Click on "Edit the Test Options."
  4. You can edit your test options here.
  5. When done be sure to click the, "Submit" button.
  6. The test will appear to students the dates you set to release it.
  7. If you selected an announcement to be sent to students it will be sent.

To create a alternate of a test for extended time or special circumstances:

  1. On the "Control Panel" (the second panel from the top, below the course menu.)
  2. Click on "Course Tools."
  3. Click on "Tests, Surveys and Pools."
  4. Click on "Tests."
  5. Click on the contextual menu next to the test you want to copy.
  6. Click on "Copy."
  7. The copy of the test will appear below the original.
  8. Click on the contextual menu to the right of the copied test.
  9. Click on "Edit."
  10. Click on the contextual menu to the right of the Header.
  11. Click on "Edit."
  12. Change the name of the test here with any additional instructions.
  13. Click on the "Submit" button.
  14. Click "ok."
  15. Now go the the content area where you added the original test.
  16. Mouse over "Create Assessment."
  17. Click on "Test."
  18. Choose the test you created in the "Add Test" window.
  19. Click "Submit."
  20. This is where you can change the time available and other settings.
  21. To set adaptive release to a student or a group of students.
  22. Click on the contextual menu to the right of the test you want to set adaptive release.
  23. Click on "Adaptive Release."
  24. You can set the availability dates here.
  25. The membership area allows you to choose what students to release the test to.
  26. Click on "Browse" in the membership area.
  27. Select your search criteria, Username, First or Last name.
  28. Click, "Go."
  29. Select the radio box to the left of the students name.
  30. Click "Submit."
  31. Click "Submit" again.

To view test scores:

  1. On the Control Panel click "Grade Center."
  2. Click on "Full Grade Center."
  3. Locate the test column by using the horizontal scroll bar.
  4. Scores are displayed in the test column.
  5. To edit grades in the column
  6. Click on the score you want to edit or change.
  7. Type in the adjusted score.

To create a survey and upload survey questions created in Excel.

  1. On the "Control Panel" (the second panel from the top, below the course menu.)
  2. Click on "Course Tools."
  3. Click on "Tests, Surveys and Pools."
  4. Click on "Surveys."
  5. Click on "Build Survey."
  6. Name the survey.
  7. Click on "Submit."
  8. Click on "Upload Questions."
    Note: Survey questions can be formatted the same as Test questions, see "To build a test using Excel above."
  9. Click the "Browse" button to locate the file.
  10. Click "Open."
  11. Click "Submit."
  12. Click "Ok."

To view survey statistics:

  1. On the "Control Panel" (the second panel from the top, below the course menu).
  2. Click on "Grade Center" to expand the menu.
  3. Click on "Full Grade Center."
  4. Locate the column associated with the survey you want to view.
  5. Click on the contextual menu on the right of the column title contextual menu..
  6. click on " Column Statistics."

 

To download survey details:

  1. On the "Control Panel" (the second panel from the top, below the course menu).
  2. Click on "Grade Center" to expand the menu.
  3. Click on "Full Grade Center."
  4. Locate the column associated with the survey you want to view.
  5. Click on the contextual menu on the right of the column title contextual menu..
  6. Click on "Download Results."
  7. Click, "Click to download results."
  8. You can then open the file in Excel.
It's Your Turn!

Itis highly recommended that you apply what you have learned in this tutorial directly in your own BB 9.1 course environment.

Best Practices in Higher Education
  • Formatting your tests using Excel saves you time.
  • The time you save using Excel can be spent to create larger question pools.
  • Surveys are a great way to deliver an anonymous course evaluation.
Summary

Using Excel to format your test and surveys is a great way to save you time. Once you go through the process a couple of times it becomes easier and you will see why this is one of the preferred methods of uploading exams and surveys.


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© 2010, The University of Toledo. A UT Learning Ventures Publication.
Last Updated: 3/23/15