D2L Quizzes: How, Why, and the Daylight Experience

Last spring, I ran a hands-on workshop which covered creating, managing, and grading quizzes, as well as creating questions in the question library in D2L. The new version, Daylight, had just been launched, and there were some significant changes to the question creation interface for some question types which I also wanted to introduce.

The objectives for this workshop included:

  • Creating questions in the Question Library
  • Setting up a Quiz and adding Questions to it
  • Grading and re-grading quizzes, releasing quiz grades, linking a quiz to a grade item in the Gradebook, and sending quiz grades to the gradebook after it has been completed
  • Setting up Submission views (what students see after completing a quiz)
  • Previewing a quiz (so you can test it out first)
  • Determining how they will use the Quizzes tool to support their teaching

But before launching into the hands-on part of the workshop, we discussed some of the questions you should ask yourself before putting in the time and effort creating question databanks and quizzes:

  • What is the purpose of your quizzes?
  • Have you considered accessibility and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles in your quizzes, questions, and assessments in general?
  • What kind of questions will you use?
  • Can your quizzes also be used for self-assessment purposes (note that quizzes can be set to unlimited tries with the first attempt being the graded one)
  • Will I need to grade or re-grade any of my quiz questions, and what will I do if a question is a problem for students?
  • How do you re-set quiz submissions, for example, if a student accidently submits a quiz before they have completed it, or if they need one more try to pass so they can see the next module of content.

After showing examples of all the question options available in D2L, we discussed some of the advantages to setting up questions in the Question Library (your question databank) which allows you to:

  • Organize your questions
  • Use questions in multiple quizzes
  • Randomize questions in a quiz using the Question Pool

If you don’t know how to create questions in the Question Library, browse the tutorials on the various question types in the On-Demand Training site, or book an appointment with an instructional designer.

After creating some basic questions in the Question Library, we went back to the Manage Quizzes area, to build a quiz. Some things to keep in mind as you build your own quizzes:

  • Make sure to check the auto grade options if you want students to see quiz results (or you will have to publish them yourself later.)
  • You can control WHAT students see after they complete a quiz, and WHEN they see it, using Submission Views.
  • Use Question Pool to pull 10 questions out of a possible 50 (for example), and use Shuffle Questions to shuffle the order of a set of questions.
  • You can Copy & Edit an existing Quiz when you want to have all the settings the same for all your quizzes, for example.
  • You can Preview a quiz to make sure it is set up the way you want it – this includes previewing any and all submissions views you have set up for your quiz.

There are several tutorials related to grading quizzes and resetting attempts – check them out on the On-Demand Training site.

Finally, we discussed the pros and cons of using test banks from external sources, such as publishers. Some things to think about:

  • Can you import the test bank into D2L without students needing to sign into publisher site? Publishers will generally provide a format for importing into D2L if this is possible. Sending students to a publisher site can be a violation of the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and if grades rest on US servers, could also be in violation of Camosun policy.
  • “Importing” usually means importing questions right into the Question Library, NOT quizzes. Check to see if quizzes are also available for import.
  • Beware: You will need to review all imported questions to check for typos, to ensure that their content is relevant, etc.

By the end of the workshop, participants were feeling confident enough to begin using the Quizzes tool for self-paced practice quizzes, pre- and post-tests, in-class essay quizzes, and even for full assessments (including midterms and finals).

Some final things to consider when using the Quizzes tool in D2L

  • Creating questions and quizzes is very time consuming; even if you are importing questions from a publisher’s question bank, you still need to check the questions to make sure there are no typos, and that the questions are appropriate for the way you are teaching the course. Once you create your question databank, however, the time you save in grading, and the time students can invest in studying for larger assessments, is invaluable
  • Many faculty worry about students cheating in online exams. There are ways to set up your quizzes to mitigate this risk to a point, but this topic is one that warrants a much larger, college-wide discussion around assessments and academic integrity. I hope that the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning can support in the future by running workshops and dialogue sessions on this complex issue.
  • When considering accessibility and UDL Principles.  For example, use the Special Access tool to give specific students more time to complete a quiz, remember that “no enumeration” is the default setting for Multiple Choice questions which will cause problems for students using screen readers, and consider whether how you will present images in your quiz for students who may have visual disabilities.  Finally, think about the purpose of your quiz – does it really need to have a time limit at all?

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