Create Questions for Blackboard Pools/Tests
There are 3 good "batch" methods to create test questions for Blackboard. Read about them here and select whichever method suits your needs!
1. Using Respondus to create questions and tests
The software named Respondus is the best tool for creating tests for Blackboard. It is available for download at http://respondus.com. A single-user license costs $79 but the software is free for 30 days. It is available only for Windows computers. Respondus has many good features, including the ability to print tests for paper administration.
2. Using Excel to create questions
The simplest way to create multiple choice questions from "scratch" is to use Microsoft Excel, as described here: http://www.eku.edu/onlinelearning/bbdocs/create-test-qns-with-excel.docx.
3. Using the Bb Quiz Generator site to create a question pool
If your questions are already typed out, e.g. in a Microsoft Word file, you can use a Web site to transform your questions and answers to get them imported into Blackboard.
We recommend the CSI Blackboard Quiz Generator site: http://www.csi.edu/blackboard/bbquiz/
Information about other quiz generator sites: http://www.cod.edu/it/blackboard/testgenerators.htm
Steps to create a pool of questions in Blackboard:
1. Create a TEXT file of your questions and answers, matching the format required by the Quiz Generator.
2. Submit that text through the CSI Blackboard Quiz Generator Web site.
3. Download the resulting “.zip” file to your computer.
4. Use the “Import Pool” function in your Blackboard site to get that file of questions and answers uploaded.
Here is a sample multiple choice question, ready as input for the CSI Quiz Generator:
1. When did Martin Luther post his "95 Theses"?
The quiz generator requires that the “question” be on a single line (of any length), followed by the answers on separate lines. Questions and answers must start with an identifier (typically a number or letter) followed by a period or parenthesis, followed by the question or answer text. You designate the correct answer for each question with an asterisk immediately before its letter identifier. A blank line separates one question-and-answer block from the next block.
When your questions and answers fit that pattern, you are almost ready to proceed to the Blackboard Quiz Generator site. But you must first be sure that your typed text has the appropriate data “format,” called PLAIN TEXT.
The Quiz Generator operates with PLAIN TEXT input only, and that means that you generally cannot copy-and-paste text directly from a Microsoft Word document. (Some instructors prefer to use Windows Notepad to create tests, because its contents can be copied-and-pasted directly into the QG site.) One major problem with Microsoft Word files is that they ordinarily contain so-called smart characters—”curly” quotation marks and apostrophes, graphical symbols for fractions and ordinals, etc.—which cannot be processed by the Quiz Generator. Here are the steps to convert a Microsoft Word file into the plain text format required by the Quiz Generator:
- With the Word file open, open the File menu and select “Save As.”
- Select the location (such as the Downloads folder, or your Desktop) for saving the new version of your file.
- On the “Save As” dialog box, look for the menu labeled “Save as type:” or “Format,” and click to open the drop-down menu. On the list of formats, look for the entry that says “Plain Text,” noting that you may need to scroll the menu to find it. If you have several “text” choices, select the one with no qualifiers, and do not select anything that includes “line breaks.” You may name your file anything you like, noting that “.txt” is the correct file extension. Click to Save the file.
- Immediately after you click to Save the file, you are likely to see the “File Conversion” dialog box, with some warnings that formatting will be lost, etc. This is normal and expected. Your action at this point is CRUCIAL to your success with the Quiz Generator site. Click the radio button for MS-DOS and also click the checkbox to “Allow character substitution.” Then click OK to finish saving the file.
- CLOSE THE FILE on your display, and then OPEN THE SAVED FILE (with the .txt extension) freshly. Doing this is VERY IMPORTANT; you must not try to use what is displayed on the active window. When you open your saved .txt file freshly, you will see the PLAIN TEXT of your questions and answers—and then you can use copy-and-paste to push that text into the Quiz Generator site.
At the CSI Quiz Generator site, give your quiz a NAME, and then paste your plain text into the box on the page. Click “Create Quiz,” and in a few moments you will see a notice about the number of questions found, and a button labeled “here.” When you click that button, your computer will receive a file (always named bbquiz.zip), for you to save, typically in your “Downloads” folder. Note: if you repeat the quiz generation steps, each newly downloaded .zip file gets the same filename with a parenthetical number to identify it. The NAME you specified on the Quiz Generator page will be revealed only inside Blackboard.
In your Blackboard site, go to Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Pools, and then click IMPORT POOL. Browse to the bbquiz.zip file you saved from the Quiz Generator site and click Submit. (Note: be sure to select the bbquiz.zip file, not the “.txt” version of your questions!) Your questions and answers will now be visible as one of your Pools.