Saturday, October 25, 2003

Whewwww! I just finished putting all my quizzes into Blackboard for the semester. I decided to try this out for the current semester. When I came to Xavier I felt it necessary to give quizzes to make sure students were doing the readings before class. I would usually give these out on Friday of MWF sections, and Thursday of TTh sections. But, these took away about 15 minutes of classtime, and often students would come in late and I would be spineless and let them take it. In short, it was becoming a problem. So I learned blackboard. I now put all of my reserve articles on it in .doc or .pdf format, and all the class handouts. Everything except the textbooks. This has been very popular with the students, though it has made this semester rough as I try to get all the articles typed out about a week before they are due. Anyway, when I teach these courses in the future it should be easier. Well, back to the quizzes. I put five questions from each day's reading assignment on blackboard, and using the random pool option each student is presented with 3 randomly selected multiple-choice questions from the pool of 5. They are given a five minute time limit, and the quizzes go offline when class starts. Thus, they have to take the quiz before the class for which they were assigned. In the end, there will be 30 quizzes, which makes 90 quiz questions. I will drop the lowest 3 quiz scores. If I take the huge amount of time involved in making up the quizzes and setting up blackboard properly, these have been great. The students I find are really doing the reading more closely, and they are coming to class prepared. Also, I don't have to spend any class time going over the quizzes. Once in a while there has been a problem. Blackboard, or more likely, Xavier's server was down for a few days. I simply postponed the due date for that quiz. Also, once in a while the students think a question might not have been worded properly, or something similar, or their computer froze. These I deal with on an individual basis. Anyway, hallelujah, I now have all the quizzes on blackboard for all of my courses this semester. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have time to work on my atlas.

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