The new Manager of Technology Support Services, Tianna Johnson, and Scott Cowdrey, CIO, were first on the bill. Cowdrey introduced Johnson to the group, and then they described several Technology Department initiatives including a new telephone system which will entail improvements to the network structure, a new version of Astra that will put both campuses in sync, and improvements to the help desk response time.
The next presentation came from Dr. Lori Charron, from the Communication Department who described the new testing technology–Respondus. Respondus works from within Blackboard to provide a locked down testing environment enabling students to take quizzes on their own time and not during valuable class time.
Charron and her department were looking for a way to ensure that their students did the reading assignments before they came to class. Respondus provides them with a fairly reliable vehicle for quiz taking–once the a test bank of quizzes is developed it goes into the Respondus browser. When students log into the browser to take a quiz, they are unable to leave the site, print, get e-mail, get downloads, or copy anything. They must stay in the browser until they complete the quiz. While the software does not totally eliminate any means of cheating it is so far working very well for Charron and members of her department.
The software is available to all faculty and staff at SMU. Jason Spartz from the Instructional Technolgy Department can get you started.
Missed the session? View it here on Tegrity.