Question Writer Manual/Save and Publish/Publishing SCORM exams to Ecampus/WebCT

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Publishing SCORM exams to Ecampus or WebCT[edit]

Learning Management Systems (LMS) allow authenticated student access to exam and other materials under a variety of protocols. This section describes release of published Question Writer SCORM exams under Blackboard learning Systems Ecampus, one of a number of current LMS systems in use in academia.

Setting up QW SCORM exams in Ecampus[edit]

SCORM modules may be published and released under Ecampus. This requires four main steps

1. Upload the Question Writer SCORM export to Ecampus[edit]

You do this by using the Ecampus File Manager package to upload the Question Writer files from the local computer to your Ecampus storage area for the specific class in question. You can keep the original filename of the SCORM module created by Question Writer, or you can rename it at this stage.

2. Create a SCORM[edit]

You do this in the Ecampus SCORM package, by hitting the "Create SCORM module" radio button and giving the module a title (i.e. "Exam #1", etc), specifying the file location of the uploaded Question Writer SCORM, and setting navigation control/table of contents options. This is the SCORM that is linked to from the Course Content area, and is the Question Writer SCORM with a wrapper.

3. Link to the SCORM from the Course Content area[edit]

Navigate to the Course Content area, and specifically to the folder where the exam will be placed. Then "Add Content Link...SCORM Module" allows browsing of the SCORM created in step (2).

4. Selective release of the SCORM link[edit]

The SCORM created in (3) can, by default, be executed by any class member (including students) if no selective release criteria are specified, as may be done in the Selective Release package. Here, editing the selective release criteria may be done by Ecampus member (individual), group (a number of members), or by date/time interval. If no criteria are added, then Ecampus will release unconditionally.

In addition to selective release, the folders in the course area as well as the links themselves may all be individually "HIDDEN" or "SHOWN". This is also controlled in the selective release area.

This means that if an exam link named "bar" lies within a folder named "foo", then one can HIDE foo and, even if bar has no selective release criteria set, no student will be able to see the link or execute the exam. HIDE is not member or group specific and is in effect a quick way to make the folder inaccessible to all (even the course designer).

Limitations of selective release: as of this writing (11/2008), there is no selective release of SCORMs by IP address. This is in contrast to the selective release allowed for Ecampus's own assessment modules. If you want to have selective release by IP address (i.e., to accommodate exam administration only in a proctored lab), then the instructor must create a "check in" group and release the exam to students by adding their names to this group after they have admitted the students to the lab. This is a serious drawback of using SCORM modules within Ecampus for this type of exam administration, and hopefully will be amenmded in future versions of the LMS.

Nature of Question Writer exam execution in Ecampus[edit]

Question Writer SCORM exams will run very similarly to how they do as an html. They run in their own applet window, which is initially minimized by default and must be maximized manually by the student if a full-sized window is desired. But in all other ways, Question Writer exams will look and feel just as they did while being viewed in Question Writer itself.

Reporting of results[edit]

Question Writer transfers exam results as a final average (expressed as a percent of 100%, only) truncated at the integer percent below the grade. Thus, 78.9% will report as "78". It will report to the SCORM gradebook, using the Title of the Question Writer exam entered under "Quiz Details" in Question Writer, e.g. "Exam 2", etc. If the same exam is run multiple times, only the most recent grade is retained. If a 2nd SCORM exam is uploaded with the same Title, then the grade listing is saved as a new field in the SCORM gradebook, such as "Exam 2(1)".

Somewhat frustratingly, SCORM gradebook fields may only be added by a SCORM module being run, and once created may not be edited or deleted by the Instructor. They may, however, be used to calculate user-created fields in the regular gradebook (non-SCORM) for the course.

Of course, grades may be submitted externally to a results server outside Ecampus, as for other environments. This may require that a current version of Java is installed on the exam computers and that no firewall or local network restrictions are applied to prevent this.

Summary[edit]

SCORM module execution of Question Writer exams under Ecampus is reasonably robust and produces exams that are very close facsimiles of what one sees in Question Writer itself. Execution in a LAN environment of suitable speed is clean, fast, and robust. Potential drawbacks do (as of 11/2008) exist:

a) SCORM results are limited in quantity in Ecampus; external results service is virtually required

b) no IP address filtering may be performed to allow secure lab exam administration

c) exams terminated prematurely/unintentionally may not be restarted with retention of completed questions

d) exams <may> be restarted without retention of earlier questions, and may be done so multiple times (Ecampus does not limit re-execution)

Item (d) may be addressed by modifying the index.html within the /Publishing/SCORM folder of Question Writer. A modified index.html may prevent re-taking of the exam or require password override to retake.

Despite the shortcomings, Question Writer exams are still generally higher in quality than those available in most LMS assessment packages, and all of the shortcomings above may be worked around.

Question Writer SCORM exams in Ecampus are a viable alternative to LMS-based testing.