Oncourse Tests & Surveys: Overview

Oncourse will be retired in August 2016. Canvas, IU's next learning management system, is currently available for teaching and learning. For more, see About the transition from Oncourse to Canvas.

What it does

This tool allows you to create online assessments (i.e., tests, quizzes, and surveys) for delivery via a web interface to your students or other groups. It was designed primarily to administer tests, but you may also create assessments to gather survey information or informal course feedback.

You can include multiple question types in an assessment, including ones that require your students to upload files. You then can choose how to organize, deliver, and collect that assessment. You can choose to randomize questions so that they appear in a different order for each student. Questions can be organized into question pools, allowing you to reuse questions. You can also import previously created tests and surveys.

Most grading is done automatically, and grades can be posted automatically to an online gradebook. Additionally, it is possible to link multiple assessments to the same Gradebook item.

By configuring an assessment's settings, you can control a wide range of conditions for taking an assessment. For example, to specify locations for taking an assessment (such as a Student Technology Center [STC] or department lab), you can indicate a range of IP addresses. Via the settings, you can determine when an assessment will become available, set time limits, determine how many times a student can take an assessment, and indicate whether or not late submissions will be allowed.

Key concepts

Creating a test: When you click Create on the "Assessments" page, you are naming and setting up the test, and entering the assessment editor. From here, you can go on to create the test content, including questions and the parts (i.e., sections) that will contain them.

Question editor: Within the question editor, you not only create the question and its possible answers, but you can also assign the question to a part or a question pool, add feedback and metadata, and choose whether or not to require a rationale.

Parts: Every assessment must contain at least one part (i.e., section). Each new assessment will include an automatically created part called "Default". If you do not change the "Default" part's name, its heading (i.e., gray divider) will not appear on your assessment. Any questions or images you place in this part will appear; only the heading will be hidden.

Settings: From the "Assessments" page, you can view and modify the settings for all your assessments. Within the settings, you can create an introduction for your assessment, determine its delivery dates and to whom it will be released, set security levels, specify time limits and the number of submissions allowed, add graphics, feedback, and metadata, and determine how the assessment will be graded.

Question Pools: You can organize questions into question pools so that you can reuse them in other assessments. You can subdivide question pools into subpools to organize questions by subject matter, section number, question type, or any other criteria desired. For example, an instructor can create a question pool called "Biology 105", and then create subpools called "Basic concepts", "Cell biology", and "Genetics".

Things to consider

  • For a list of known issues, see Tests & Surveys Known Issues.
  • It can take a few tries for students to feel comfortable taking online tests. Consider setting up a practice run in a lab environment.
  • Assume all the issues concerning take-home exams also apply to online tests.
  • Consider linking a test or survey to a Calendar item.
  • The feedback settings for your test can be important. The tool can grade only true/false, multiple choice, matching, numeric response, and fill-in-the-blank question types; it can't grade short answer/essay or file upload questions. If your assessment includes questions that you'll need to grade by hand, you might prefer that your students not see the results of their automatically graded questions until you have reviewed the whole test.

    Note: You should not use the Immediate Feedback setting in Tests & Surveys when assessing learning, as it may provide information students can use to correct their answers before submitting a test.

  • Note: To help prevent participants from losing their work because of unexpected disruptions in connectivity, configure your assessment so that it displays each question on a separate web page. For more, see Can I lose my work if Oncourse times out?

Help documentation

For help documentation about the Tests & Surveys tool, see Tests & Surveys.

This is document arfk in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-07-08.

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