Saturday, October 27, 2012

Desire2Learn and ExamView... why they need to partner

I read a quote a while back on Twitter that those who control or own the evaluation also own or control the curriculum. If this is true then it would be a logical extension that if that evaluation is housed in a particular learning management system (LMS), then the purchase or use of a LMS would depend upon the evaluation that is either contained within that LMS or can be loaded within that LMS. In short, those that own the evaluation can also own the LMS too.

Perhaps the best example of this that I can find is the Pearson Math XL resource. Within that resource a teacher can assign homework that can be random and unique. The homework has hints, extra examples and all other good things for students to access. In addition it also has the ability to track and record student progress. In short it works exactly the way an LMS is to supposed to work when it has good content contained within it. It is impressive and it is a product that many math teachers in the face to face classroom setting would like to have access to and use with their students continuously.

So if a teacher who has access to a LMS wanted to use the content inside Math XL for example, then the process should be that the institution purchases the right to the content and loads it into their LMS. Sounds simple but that's not the way it works. Math XL for example is built to work within its own system or LMS so to speak. Pearson owns the evaluation and can therefore decide where it is placed.

So what is a teacher to do if they want to create their own evaluation and load it to their own LMS? For us, our use of ExamView has allowed us to create dynamic evaluation in addition to purchasing existing evaluation from publishers. With using ExamView we are able to create dynamic solution keys in addition to the questions, distractors, etc... also being dynamic.

For those of you who read my blog post, our LMS is Desire2Learn. It is an extremely powerful LMS with some excellent tools and features. As a teacher, one of its good points is also a bad point. It does not contain content like a Math XL package would. That's good because it allows a teacher to create and customize a course their way and bad because not all 3rd party content construction tools work properly with Desire2Learn for such content. ExamView is such a tool.

Now don't get me wrong, we have ExamView content working within D2L and we also have the rationale or solutions showing up for students after we grade their unique online work. However the only way we got it to work at all was by exporting from ExamView using Blackboard 6.0 and reword multiple choice questions so that the look like constructive response or long answer questions. We are forcing the square peg of ExamView to fit in the round hole of Desire2Learn. However we are losing question type options when we do this.

Since we can get some things in ExamView to work with Desire2Learn, I would think that if the two companies partnered together, most if not all question types that ExamView can create would load and work properly within D2L... with rationale or solutions of course. As well the import procees would be much simpler if the two worked together.

So if ExamView and Desire2Learn are already partnering to do this, great! Sign me up to be a beta tester! If not then please consider doing this. That way the teacher owns the evaluation without having to purchase an alternate LMS with it.

One final note... for the ExamView evaluation that we have already uploaded to Desire2Learn and graded, the analytic data that we are able to see inside Desire2Learn is absolutely amazing. Great stuff!

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