As more courses move online, one question we keep getting is, “How do I offer assessments in the most secure way possible?”.
We have had a number of instructors ask us about test security, and we also know that a lot of your schools already have programs for proctoring and browser lockdown. As such, we are not adding our own options for proctoring and lockdown (and be forced to charge for it accordingly), but rather we are providing more tools to make exporting our tests to load into your campus LMS easier. Directions to export a test created with Macmillan Learning Test Bank into your LMS are here .
In addition, each of the individual digital products that we offer have tools to help with test security. You can read through those options below. And we had a very useful webinar with Eric Chiang where he reviewed ideas for test security.
Lastly, we have moved most of our test banks to the Macmillan Learning Test Bank, accessible only only to a verified instructor. With this system you can:
Create paper or online tests that you can export to your LMS using your web browser;
Drag and drop questions to create tests;
Create and edit your own questions and edit publisher-created question sets.
Learn more here: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Getting-Started-with-the-Macmillan-Learning-... .
If you are using a Macmillan Learning digital product for your online class, here are some suggestions below to help you with assessment security.
For LaunchPad Users:
Set a Passcode - Requires a student to enter an instructor-specified Passcode to begin the quiz.
Limit the Number of Attempts - For higher stakes assessment, only allow students to submit the assessment one time.
Time Limit - This ensures that all students are provided the same amount of time to complete a quiz. If the quiz is not completed within the time limit, the quiz is automatically submitted when time expires. The time limit will also limit students’ ability to look everything up or get too much assistance.
Scrambling - Instructors use this setting to randomize the order of question, the order of answer choices, or both.
Feedback Control - This gives instructors the control over what information is available to students after they submit a quiz, such as whether to show the correct answers.
Visibility - Instructors use the Visibility setting to "hide" a quiz from students until a specific date and time.
Hide Grade - Instructors can elect to hide students' quiz grade until the due date has passed.
Question Pooling - can further add to the variability of the assessment so that not all students receive the same questions on the exam and instead receive a random set of questions from a set of them. Instructors can set up multiple pools within one assessment to ensure students receive the right number from each desired topic the test should cover.
You can see all of these settings explained in this article on setting up assignments: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/LaunchPad-Tips-for-setting-up-assignments and the article on question pooling: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/LaunchPad-Creating-a-quiz-with-question-pools
For Sapling and Achieve Users:
For Assessments, use the Quiz / Test policy and add a time limit also. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-View-or-change-mobile-assignment-grading-policies
Time Limit - This ensures that all students are provided the same amount of time to complete a quiz. The time limit will also limit students’ ability to look everything up or get too much assistance. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-Make-an-Assessment-timed
Use question pools - Although many of our questions already contain variation, using Pools can further add to the variability of the assessment so that not all students receive the same questions on the exam and instead receive a random set of questions from a set of them. Instructors can set up multiple pools within one assessment to ensure students receive the right number from each desired topic the test should cover. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-Create-and-edit-question-pools-in-mobile-assignments
Scrambling - Randomizing the order the questions are delivered could also be a viable option so no one has the same question 3. This can be set in the Grading Policies for an assessment. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-View-or-change-mobile-assignment-grading-policieshttps://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-View-or-change-mobile-assignment-grading-policies
Visibility - When assigning the assessment, instructors should use the visibility settings to ensure students don’t see the exam until the instructor is ready for them to see it. By setting the student visibility to a certain date range, instructors can choose exactly when the assessment becomes visible to students and when it closes from visibility. For higher stakes tests, it is recommended that this window be as short as possible. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-View-or-change-mobile-assignment-grading-policies
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As the semester comes to a close, you'll need to start thinking about wrapping up student grades and then creating your new course for the next semester. Here are a few links to help: LaunchPad: For this semester: Make sure you zero scores for unsubmitted assignments. Make any other changes to student grades. Export your gradebook (as needed). For next semester: Copy your existing course (and update the due dates) or create a new course. (And, if needed, branch from a course Master to create section copies.) Update the assignments (changing questions, changing due dates) as needed to meet your course goals. Make sure your course is available for students. Sapling / SaplingPlus: Make any final changes to student grades. Export grades (as needed). Copy your course or let the Client Success Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you wish to use Sapling next semester. Update the assignments as needed to meet your course goals (whether that means changing the questions or changing the assignment settings). Achieve: Make any final changes to student grades. Export the grades (as needed). Either copy your prior course or create a new course. Update the assignments as needed to meet your course goals. And once you've done all that, consider yourself ready for the next semester!
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We have been doing A LOT of work on Achieve Read & Practice this fall, so here's a recap of what you and your students will have for January 2020. Course List: The Course List redesign (that you'll see when you first log into Achieve in mid-December) organizes courses for students and instructors in collapsible buckets allowing users to easily find their current courses and access past courses. Master Section: There is a new Master Section option that will allow one instructor or coordinator to set up their course and then create individual section courses (for themselves or other instructors) from the Master Section. The coordinator can set all of the consistent course info for all sections in one place. These settings pass down to the sections. Section courses are set up in a grid format where the coordinator can specify the section name, meeting days and times, instructor(s) teaching, and the level of access that the instructors will receive for that section. (If an instructor has Restricted Access, the instructor has clear indicators regarding what actions they can and cannot take.) Within the tools, coordinators will be able to edit the content and push the updates to Restricted Access sections until the first grade return. We recommend using Restricted Access for your own sections when you want to manage the content for all of your sections in one place. Preview as Student: I nstructors can preview the course as a student, including My Course and Gradebook. Contextual Help: From the "Help" in the upper right of each page, we added in Help links to the most commonly asked questions--like how do I assign something on the "My Course" page or how do I sync with my LMS on the "Gradebook" page.
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In an effort to make sure you are all ready to go before classes start, here's a short checklist of how to prepare yourself and your students to use LaunchPad this semester. Course Set Up – Prior to Term ❏ Bookmark the LaunchPad sign in page: https://www.macmillanlearning.com/college/us/digital/launchpad/ ❏ Attend a training and develop confidence in your ability to use LaunchPad ❏ Learn your username and password (and don’t put it on a post-it note in your office for students to see) ❏ If you are using an LMS in conjunction with LaunchPad, make sure your integration is set up correctly and that you’ve attended the LMS training session . ❏ Bookmark Instructor Help and know how to contact Customer Support ❏ Set up a new course for the new term. (You can copy your existing course and branch it, if you have multiple sections of the same course, or create a new course .) ❏ Make a series of assignments for students to complete. If you are new to LaunchPad and want to start small, we typically recommend that you begin with LearningCurve. ❏ Confirm that your assignment settings match the goals of your course. (For instance, do you want to make the assignments due before class to enable discussion or after class, to confirm understanding.) ❏ Activate your course so it is available for students to enroll into. ❏ Prepare for your First Day of Class with students by using our FDOC tools or by talking to your local representative . Getting Started with Students - First Day of Class ❏ Provide students with the access information needed to join your course, whether they are buying access through the Macmillan LearningStudent Store or purchasing codes directly from your campus bookstore. ❏ Explain to students why you are having them use LaunchPad and show how it can benefit them ❏ Make students aware of the three purchase options: purchase now, enter an access code, and pay later. ❏ Make sure students know when and how to contact Customer Support . ❏ Make students aware that the full ebook is included in LaunchPad, and it’s available to be downloaded for reading offline . Gradebook Results and Assessment – During and After the Term ❏ Review the gradebook to identify common student misconceptions and inform course and lecture plans ❏ Use individual student data for early intervention ❏ Download my student results from LaunchPad (or, if using an LMS, from the LMS) ❏ Think about how to change and improve your course for next semester ❏ Review the Macmillan “ Webinars on Demand ” for new ideas on how to use LaunchPad in your course.
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The team has been working hard on improvements to LaunchPad this year. A lot of the changes are ‘behind the scenes’ like security improvements and changes to how LaunchPad works for visually impaired users working with JAWS, but a few to highlight are: We just released some student onboarding changes that adds a "Purchase Access" and "Enter A Code" button to the top of the LaunchPad course if a user has less than 30 days of access remaining. This is designed to make life (and purchasing) easier for students using Trial Access. To further help with student onboarding, we increased character limit of the LaunchPad school name field so institutions with a very long name won’t be truncated, making it easier for students to find their school. We removed the Flash Player from the LaunchPad System Check since a) we have very little Flash content in LP anymore and b) Flash is going away, as you know. The "Zero score for unsubmitted" Gradebook Preference is now disabled by default for copied/branched course. This prevents the issue where an instructor creates a copy or branch of an existing course but doesn’t update the due dates and then when students enroll in the course, they automatically receive a zero for all past due assignments.
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Okay, so I will confess that Question Pooling is probably my favorite part of LaunchPad. (Yes, I'm a nerd and I'm okay with that.) Hopefully you know all about question pooling already and this post is a boring reminder...but just in case, here's a recap: With Question Pooling, you can create a group of questions from which one or more (depending on the setting) is chosen at random for students (and we do this for some of our pre-built quizzes already) . If you pick questions that are all related to the same topic (which is sensible to do, by the way), then students are all being quizzed on the same concept, but the actual question they see varies--making cheating harder to do (not that students cheat, but you know, hypothetically...) and giving you a more diverse question base. So you could end up with a quiz where students see 10 questions, but those 10 questions are pulling from a pool of 50 questions, so each student likely ends up with a slightly different quiz from each of their colleagues. Check it out and let us know what you think!
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At this point, hopefully you've gotten all your students into LaunchPad and you want to see who has started to do work. So you open up the gradebook and bam--there are ALL these pieces of data in the gradebook. What do they mean and how can they help you and your students? I think one of our BEST resources is the LaunchPad Gradebook Tutorial . This help article shows everything you need to know about the gradebook and more! Check it out and let us know what you think!
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If you're just starting out with LaunchPad and you are overwhelmed with the number and variety of resources in the product, just start with LearningCurve. Assign one LearningCurve before each class period so students come to class prepared for discussion. This will allow you more freedom in your class to talk about what's important, and you can see which students are doing the work or which topics are causing problems. And though it's hard to believe, students consistently, over the years, report actually enjoying doing work in LearningCurve because they can make progress, ask questions, and they actually learn! They view the interface as 'game-like' and the online format allows them to learn without feeling silly by asking questions in class. It's a win-win, so give it a try! And if you're nervous, reach out to our implementation team of help in setting up your course quickly and easily. We're here to help!
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If you have students who want to get the print book to go with LaunchPad, LaunchPadSolo,or SaplingPlus, please be sure to alert them to the options at the Student Store. store.macmillanlearning.com Why rent textbooks from Macmillan Learning? Renting textbooks can help students save money throughout their college career. Textbooks rentals are available from 3 months to 1 year—choose the duration that works best. The best part of all? We offer free shipping for all hard-copy textbook rentals with immediate 14-day access to the online e-textbook.
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We know that about 79% of all LaunchPad submissions are LearningCurve. We also know that LearningCurve has a 90% satisfaction rating with students. And I just got this tremendous quotation from a professor today: "In the 10+ years that I've been teaching, I've never experienced students come to lecture so prepared and knowledgeable before; this is due to the Learning Curve assignments" . You can learn more on our LearningCurve catalog page, or check out LearningCurve in your LaunchPad (or SaplingPlus) course.
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We know that for people new to LaunchPad, they just want to learn the key functionality to get started--not all the pieces that the product offers. To that end, we just added a series of Interactive Guides to LaunchPad to get you up and running when you first log in. For instance, when you first go in to create a course, you will see the guide for how to create a course. You can follow this step-by-step walkthrough to actually create a course. At the end of the tutorial, you will have a fully functional course to explore. All in all, we added seven interactive guides to LaunchPad, including ones on Course Creation, Dashboard Navigation, Course Activation, Instructor Resources, Gradebook Tour, Instructor Console, and Zero Out Past Due Assignments. You can open them up by clicking on “Guides” on the right, or close them out with the x. We are testing these guides out this semester to see if you find them useful. Please let us know what you think by responding to this post (or by using the guides themselves)--and let us know if you have other topics that you think would benefit from a guide.
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It is disheartening to know how many students don't realize that their LaunchPad includes the ebook--and we wanted to help fix that. So with the newer LaunchPads, we added an Orientation Quiz to help students better understand how to use LaunchPad. There is a short video to watch and a series of quiz questions so students know how to find assignments, reach out to tech support, locate their ebook, see their grades, and more. You can assign this to your class at the start of the semester to make your life, and your students' lives, easier. If your LaunchPad starts with a Welcome unit, open that up for the Getting Started Quiz that you can quickly and easily assign. Let us know what you think about this--and if you have any suggestions for improving this, we'd like to know that as well. And if your LaunchPad doesn't include this quiz to start, you can easily add it using these directions. Have fun!
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Inclusive Access is an option that ensures when students register for your course, they are charged for the course materials at a discounted rate. They save money and have access to course materials on the first day of class! How does this work? Macmillan Learning works with you and your bookstore to find the best price and product for your students. The format of the product is often dictated by your school but any Macmillan product is available for adoption including LaunchPad, Writer's Help, and our ebooks. Contact your rep to learn how to offer Macmillan content via Inclusive Access or check out our website for more info.
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As of today, 70 LaunchPad titles have the link to the new ebook under the Help Menu. We wanted to give students the opportunity to access the mobile-optimized and accessible ebook, as well as give offline access. (You can look to see if your book has this functionality.) So how does this work in LaunchPad? Go to HELP in the upper right of your course. You will see the option for “Download Offline eBook.” Click on that. (If you don't see that option, then your book doesn't have this functionality, unfortunately.) You will then to go to a new log in page. Enter in your email address to create an account. That will then opened the book on your bookshelf: Then, if you want to do the app, you need to download the “Macmillan Learning eBook” app and use those same credentials that you just created, to log in and see the book on your device. If you go to another LaunchPad course that has the offline ebook, simply enter in your existing username and password, and you will then see that additional book appear on your bookshelf. (You will not need to create another account.) For more information, directions, and visuals, check out the article in the support community.
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One of the greatest benefits of using LaunchPad is how easy it is to customize to create the perfect course for you. But not everyone knows that you can do all these things, so here’s just a short refresher on how you can customize your own LaunchPad course. First off, you need to choose the correct LaunchPad course to begin with. Make sure you are using the author and version of the book that best matches your course goals. (And we have lots of books available with LaunchPad, so this can be daunting. Work with your local representative to find the best book for you, or you can see what we have by browsing our catalog .) Once you have the base course selected, next comes adjusting the content. You can re-name and re-order chapters/units, delete existing units , or add new units. You can add additional resources to your course, like your syllabus or student policies, discussion boards , outside links , video assignments and more. You can pull in resources from our resources tab that are in the course, but not assigned. You can create or delete assignments that we have created for you. You can edit existing quiz questions or add your own quiz questions . You can pool questions for greater variety and security in your assignments. You can create video assignments . And for all of these assignments, there are a variety of settings that you can adjust, such as number of attempts, time limits, or ordering of questions. Since so many people using LearningCurve so extensively, you should know that you can remove topics in LearningCurve , as well as adjust the target score . You can manage your roster, dropping students from your course , creating groups for assignments or for various accessibility reasons, or emailing some or all of the students in your class. You can change assignment settings for particular assignments or particular students. If you want to know more, check out all the articles in our support community or reach out to us if you have additional questions. We love to be able to tell you, “Yes, we can do that!”
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