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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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Adpative Release (and the spiral of death)

Fri, 02 Nov 2007

I have blogged about using Blackboard before and, by large, things have been pain free. I hit a problem recently which should have been (and was!) easy to solve, but turned out to be quite obtuse. I use Respondus to upload multiple choice tests which my remote sensing class have to take on a weekly basis. This works well and, over the two day period the test is available, nearly all the students complete the questions. Occasionally there are good reasons why a student might not take a test which means making it available to them at a later date (there is no credit for the test so it doesn't matter whether it has already been seen). The "Adaptive Release" facility on Blackboard covers this (and more complex) eventualities so I set up a new rule and ... it didn't work. After trying several combinations I gave up and chatted to our Blackboard people.

Adaptive Release has four sections that look like they all need completion, given the following text:

This content item is visible to all users until a [section] item criteria is created.

It suggests that each section requires completion which, as it turns out, is not the case. Indeed, for my simple scenario I only needed a date and the student IDs to make it available. This then nearly worked except that the date range set up by Respondus for the test overrides the Adaptive Release rule. Once that is removed it then does work correctly. And the spiral of death? Well, I had incorrectly set up the rule so that it entered the mark into, what I thought, was the correct gradebook item. It wasn't and was actually waiting for a mark to be entered in to that item before it would allow the student to take the test to enter a mark into the item...

As ever, it's easy when you know how.

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