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Teaching with Technology:
Respondus and StudyMate

Assessments can be used to measure a student’s knowledge, skills, aptitudes or beliefs.  Blackboard has a variety of question formats available for surveys or tests.  However, it can be both inconvenient and tedious to craft the assessments while online, one question at a time in Blackboard.  Respondus is a third-party software package that works with Blackboard.  Faculty can now take existing tests in Microsoft Word or publisher-provided test banks, convert them into Blackboard formatted questions, and load them into their Blackboard class sites.  As Respondus supports up to 15 question types, including calculated and algorithmic formats, tests can now be drafted in a more user-friendly format than Blackboard.  Existing Blackboard assessments can be downloaded from Blackboard and converted into Word documents for paper-pencil testing or historical backup.

Studymate Crossword PuzzleStudyMate, made by Respondus, allows faculty to repurpose their assessment questions into educational games such as crossword puzzles, flashcards, or even a variation of Jeopardy.  Played in Flash format, these games are compatible in both PC and Mac computers and multiple browsers.
Some potentially valuable instructional uses of Respondus and StudyMate in higher education include:

  • Rapid development and sharing of test pools using publisher or faculty test material
  • Repurposing of exam material into study aids for students

The CTE offers a workshop to assist faculty members with exploring the instructional uses of these tools:  Blackboard Assessment, Respondus and StudyMate.  Faculty members interested in learning more about how these assessment tools might be used in their teaching are welcome to contact Britt Watwood at the CTE (bwatwood@vcu.edu).

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Virginia Commonwealth University | Center for Teaching Excellence
Last modified: June 20, 2013
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