Because UTSOnline quizzes are online, many unforeseen events can interfere with a student completing their quiz attempt. These events include:
- Network issues (wireless connections are more prone to network issues)
- The computer crashes or loses power
- Variations in web browser behaviour
- Session timeouts
- Student accidentally closes their web browser
Whether it’s attempting a quiz at home or in a proctored UTS computer lab, the events listed above can appear anytime and can hinder a student from completing and submitting their quiz attempt.
We cannot completely eliminate these events from occurring but an Instructor can minimise the impact of these events for students by configuring specific UTSOnline quiz settings. UTSOnline quizzes contain a number of settings that alter the behaviour of the quiz and when active (or not), can mitigate student issues with quizzes. Below are the recommended approach and quiz settings to ensure a smoother experience for both Student and Instructor during the deployment of a quiz.
- Ensure you have a paper version of the quiz available for all our students as a back up in case of any unforeseen technical issues.
- Have students access the quiz in a UTS computer lab rather than on their personal devices. Personal devices might have any number of individual issues including OS or browser incompatibility, bugs, or connectivity issues with UTS WiFi. FEIT Computer Labs are allocated for this purpose. Please log a service connect ticket to book a computer lab for your online test.
- Attempt and submit the quiz yourself first as a student (using your student-view account), in the computer lab where the quiz will be conducted.
- Do not attempt to edit an online quiz after it has begun. If it is absolutely necessary to do so then you should notify all students to log out of their online quiz, then clear all students’ attempts in the grade centre before advising your students to start the quiz again. Not doing this will result in students seeing errors in their quiz.
- Some computer labs are capable of booting into Windows and Linux platforms. Confirm with the Lab Support team whether this applies in the lab you book, and if so ensure students are aware that they must be using Windows as UTSOnline quizzes are not supported on Linux.
- If you are concerned about collaboration between students, then make collaborative tools unavailable in your subject site for the duration of the quiz. This is done via Control Panel – Customisation – Tool Availability. Tools you might consider disabling include: discussion board; Blackboard blogs, wikis or journals; Campus Pack blog, journal or collaboration space; groups.
- Ensure that all your students have successfully logged in to their computer, and into UTSOnline before announcing the start of the online quiz.
- If you’ve enabled adaptive release to set a start time for the availability of the quiz in your subject site, provide students with enough time to be fully logged in and ready before the online quiz start time.
- If you or your students do encounter an issue with your online quiz please log a service connect incident and provide us with as much of the following information as you are able:
- Student ID of the affected students
- Their Computer ID and Computer Name
- Subject ID
- Assessment Name (Quiz name)
- Grade Centre column ID
- Which Browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer)
- Lab number
Recommended quiz settings
There are three UTSOnline quiz settings you need to consider:
To access the quiz settings, navigate to the quiz in the content area of your UTSOnline site and from its contextual menu, select Edit the Test Options (see image below):
If you are preparing an online summative exam, please refer to the guidelines for computer-based exams. The settings in this case will be slightly different due to examination conditions in computer labs. (Download PDF)
1. The Force Completion setting
The Force Completion setting when set to ON requires a student to complete their quiz attempt once they have launched it. A student cannot exit the quiz and return to it at a later time.
Recommendation: It is strongly recommended that you leave it OFF (unchecked).
As mentioned above, students may be disconnected from an online quiz through factors beyond their control. A disconnection can manifest as an error when attempting to submit an attempt or save an answer, or the web browser closing or crashing. When this occurs, the logical next step for the student would be to relaunch the quiz and continue on with their attempt. With Force Completion set to ON, a student will not have the option of relaunching their attempt. The student attempt will be submitted based on the questions answered prior to the issue occuring. The student cannot reconnect with their attempt nor can an Instructor enable the student to continue on with their attempt. To submit an attempt, a student would have to start from the beginning and redo the quiz – if multiple attempts are allowed.
For an Instructor, this creates additional work as they would then have to ensure that students are allowed to start a new attempt either by configuring the quiz to allow multiple attempts or if single attempts are configured, the Instructor would have to delete the student’s attempt so that the student can start a new one. This can be especially difficult for an Instructor if many students are affected by a network issue during a quiz held in a UTS computer lab. For a student attempting a quiz on their own time, they are dependent on the availability of an Instructor if they experience a quiz issue.
With Force Completion set to OFF, a student can independently recover from any quiz issue by relaunching the quiz. What’s more, any saved answers prior to the disconnection issue will remain intact.
NOTE: If the quiz timer is activated and a student is inadvertently kicked out of their attempt with Force Completion set to OFF, the timer will continue to run – even when the student is not logged into UTSOnline. Randomisation will also be maintained for a single attempt which means that a student will see questions in the same order even if they need to relaunch their quiz attempt.
2. Test Presentation – One At A Time setting
The One at a time setting enables a quiz to display one question at a time.
Recommendation: Turn it ON (checked).
When this setting is enabled, questions are presented one at a time. For a student to see the next question, they need to click on the navigational arrow. The act of clicking sends a request to the quiz to confirm the student’s connection. Why is this important?
Lets assume a quiz is presented all at once rather than one at a time. This means that all questions are presented on a single page. Now imagine a student taking this single-page quiz experiences a disconnection issue which may not be apparent due to the lack of error messages. This student continues answering the quiz questions. Once they have finished, they click on the Save and Submit button which will be the first time they have requested a response from the quiz since the disconnection issue occurred. Because the student has been disconnected from their quiz attempt, they will not be able to submit their attempt and may receive an error message. Any question the student thought they answered since the disconnection issue occurred would not have been saved.
Turning on the One at a time setting ensures the student’s quiz attempt is regularly updated which will prevent timeout issues from occuring. And if a disconnection issue occurs, the student will be alerted to it immediately when they attempt to proceed to the next question.
If you have pedagogical reasons to display all the questions on a single page, it is important to advise students to periodically click on the Save Answer button. This will allow a student to confirm if their quiz attempt is still connected.
3. Test Presentation – Randomise Questions setting
The Randomize Questions setting enables a quiz to display questions in a random order each time the quiz is taken.
Recommendation: Leave it OFF (unchecked).
Occasionally, a student may complain that they were “kicked out” of their quiz or that when attempting to submit their quiz attempt “nothing happened”. These issues have largely been observed in quizzes that utilise Randomisation. Why only randomised quizzes? When a quiz that does not utilise randomisation is launched, the student attempt will connect directly to the location that contains the questions for that quiz. When a quiz is randomised, a copy of that location is loaded into memory to which the student connects to. Questions stored in memory are more exposed to connection issues such as timeouts. When these issues occur, a student may be kicked out of their quiz attempt and their attempt will not persist anywhere and will be completely unrecoverable.
If you have pedagogical reasons to utilise Randomisation, you can minimise the impact of Randomisation issues by performing the following:
- Ensure the Force Completion setting is OFF. This ensures a student can recover their quiz attempt if they get kicked out of the quiz (see above section: 1. The Force Completion setting for more information).
- Ensure the One At A Time setting setting is ON. That is, present one question at at time. Activating this setting ensures that students are constantly updating their quiz attempt as they would have to interact with the quiz to proceed to the next question. This will minimise timeout issues and will immediately alert students to issues with their attempt. If you need to display all the questions on one page, advise students to periodically click on the Save Answer button (see above section: 2. Test Presentation – One At A Time setting for more information).