Role-Based Permissions: A How-To Guide (Part 2)

Bart Hendrickx SmallPosted by Bart Hendrickx

In my previous post on this subject (How-To Guide Part 1), I described a situation where managing permissions in the classic version of Questionmark Enterprise Manager can quickly turn into a complicated task. The new version of Questionmark, which we are starting to roll out to Questionmark OnDemand customers, offers a more efficient approach: managing permissions based on the tenets of role-based access control.

Interested in learning more about role-based permissions? Drop in on my session on this topic at Questionmark Conference 2016. Register before March 3 to take advantage of our final early-bird discounts.

The principle of role-based access control is that you use roles to define what users can do in the system. You are free to choose what a role is in your organization. You can tie it to a job title and create a role such as Learning and Development Specialist. You can map it to a role on a project team (e.g. the role of setting up a project for an employee satisfaction survey) and create a role like Project Owner. Or you can use any of the default roles that ship with the new version of Questionmark OnDemand, such as Admin and Reporter.

Roles contain permissions. For example, the Reporter role contains a set of permissions to run all reports on all results. When you add that role to a user, that user inherits those permissions. So far, this is similar to how profiles work in the classic version of Questionmark.

The power of the new role-based access control system becomes obvious when you want to give more roles to a user. In the classic version of Questionmark, you can assign only one profile to a user. In the new version, you can assign multiple roles to a user. Do you have a role for creating test items and another one for running reports, and do you have a user who will take on both roles? No problem: assign both roles to the user.

Another advantage of the new role-based access control system is that you can change the permissions of a role, which will automatically trickle down to all users who have that role. Do you want to remove the permission to run a Grade Book report from all users who have the Reporter role? Remove the permission from the Reporter role and you are done.

To ensure there are no loopholes, the new version of Questionmark OnDemand makes it impossible to assign permissions directly to users. Instead, all permissions will be granted within roles.

If you are a Questionmark OnDemand user interested in moving to the new version, contact your account manager. And if you are attending Questionmark Conference 2016, April 12-15, feel free to drop in on my session on this topic. Register before March 3 to take advantage of our final early-bird discounts.

Next Generation Assessment Technology & Exciting Events Driving the Conference Agenda

Now that we have the program in place for Questionmark Conference 2016, I’m eager to highlight a few sessions that you will have a chance to attend in Miami April 12-15.Postcard Banner

Before the conference gets rolling, there is a full-day workshop available Tuesday, April 12:

Here’s a peak and the agenda. You can explore the entire list of sessions here: Conference Program.

Questionmark Features & Functions

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Case Studies

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Best Practices

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Networking Events

drink emojiWe have some fantastic networking events planned as well.

We’re kicking off the conference with our signature dessert reception. The next day, you will have a chance to enjoy Miami’s popular Mary Brickell Village and dine with a group of fellow assessment professionals. But it’s all culminating to our final event: The next-gen release party, which we are hosting for you at one of Miami’s trendiest spots. We look forward to an evening of eating, networking and celebrating!

Register by March 3 for a final chance to take advantage of our early-bird discount.conf goers banner - Miami

Questions? Email conference@questionmark.com. We’re happy to help!

Role-Based Permissions: A How-To Guide (Part 1)

Bart Hendrickx SmallPosted by Bart Hendrickx

If you manage which users can access your Questionmark environment and define what they can do when they log on, you know that controlling access can take time.

I’d like to take you through a two-part scenario that will demonstrate how to control access efficiently and navigate changes in job roles effectively.

Interested in learning more about role-based security in Questionmark OnDemand? I will be presenting a session on effectively managing users at the 2016 Questionmark Conference in Miami.

Imagine welcoming Ella to your team as a new colleague. She will be using Questionmark, and you want to make sure she has access to those functions of the software she will need—no fewer, and certainly no more. Then you ask yourself: What will Ella be doing? What will be her role?ella

Maybe the answer is along the lines of “she will be replacing Wendy.” Then you might wonder, “OK, so what was Wendy’s role?”

It is natural to think about what people do and the roles they play when you discuss what they should be allowed to do in a software system. And you may be accustomed to using Questionmark Enterprise Manager’s profiles to set things up, by storing a set of permissions in a profile, creating an administrator account and linking the profile to it.

This works well until you come across a colleague who will be actually doing more than one thing (don’t we all?).

“Yes, Ella will be replacing Wendy, but she will also be taking some of Bill’s workload.” You have assigned Wendy’s profile to Ella; she can now run several reports. You want to assign Bill’s profile to her as well. You can’t assign Bill’s entire profile to Ella, but you can compare the two profiles to see where they overlap. It turns out that in addition to what Ella has inherited from Wendy’s profile, Bill can run all reports, so you add the permissions for the remaining reports directly to Ella’s user account.

Two months later, your team restructures some of its operations. “We won’t be running Grade Book reports anymore and we want that permission removed from the users.” You think hard. Who was it that had this permissions? Can’t I just edit the profiles? That won’t update existing users. And what about those users who had the permissions applied directly to them? I can’t judge that merely by the profile that is attached to them.  I’d better edit all those users one by one to be sure.

You stare at the list of almost 50 administrators in your system, decide to get a coffee, sit down and take a breath. This is going to take a while.

In my next article, I will explain how to avoid this pitfall by setting up permissions more efficiently.

Interested in learning more about Role-Based Security in Questionmark OnDemand? I will be presenting a session on effectively managing users at the 2016 Questionmark Conference in Miami, April 12-15. Register by March 3 for a final chance to take advantage of our early-bird discounts…click here to register and learn more about this important learning event. Hope to see you in Miami!

 

Online Proctoring – An Invasion of Privacy?

Steve Lay Headshot

Posted by Steve Lay

Many organisations looking to expand their online offerings now use a new method to securely deliver high-stakes exams online: Online proctoring. A live proctor uses your computer’s webcam to observe you taking the test, to ensure its integrity. To make sure you work alone, the proctor asks you to scan your webcam around the room you are in. The proctors also asks you to show photo ID to verify your identity and will use screen-sharing technology to view your computer screen. In addition, secure browser software can sometimes be used to restrict other computer applications (such as opening a web browser) to restrict a test-taker from accessing digital resources.

Being watched in this way during an online exam often poses questions about privacy…

Interested in learning more about Online Proctoring? I will be presenting a session on ensuring exam integrity with online proctoring at Questionmark Conference 2016: Shaping the Future of Assessment in Miami, April 12-15. There’s only 1 day left to take advantage our earl-bird savings…click here to register and learn more about this important learning event.

Is online proctoring an invasion of privacy? Do proctors still have access to your computer after the exam is complete? What sort of things can they access while you’re taking the exam? Can they access your files and identifiable information?

A video link with an online proctor invades no more privacy than taking an exam at a traditional face-to-face test centre. In many cases, allowing a proctor to see everything on your computer screen is just like a proctor at a test centre who can look over your shoulder, see your computer screen and prevent any restricted behavior.  But some online proctoring systems go even further, providing proctors with full control over a candidate’s computer.

Having a proctoring service take control of a candidate’s computer can often be quite helpful.  For instance a proctor who is trained in diagnosing and correcting setup issues can help speed up a process and can quickly resolve problems with the video or audio on the computer. A proctor can also guide the candidate through the exam software, in some cases entering special purpose access credentials that have not previously been made available to the candidate.

Although screen sharing and remote control solutions can be used with Questionmark Online Proctoring, there are alternatives for situations in which such far-reaching access to the candidate’s laptop is inappropriate. Using Questionmark Secure in conjunction with Questionmark OnDemand supports a special mode for online proctoring that gives the proctor limited proxy controls instead of complete control over the machine. For example the proctor can manage the running of the assessment without having control over the participant’s machine. The sense of ‘control’ that many proctoring solutions require here is  similar to popular screen sharing systems that allow you to “Give Control” or “Request Control”. Questionmark Online Proctoring does not require this, because the proctor is connected directly to Questionmark’s service and can manage the exam without going ‘through’ the participant’s computer.

In addition to the privacy advantages of these proxy controls for the candidate, this arrangement also enables the test content to be kept hidden from the proctor. This could provide advantages to the test provider over and above what can be achieved even in a test centre.  The proxy controls allow the proctor to pause the test, add extra time and even terminate the test completely. Meanwhile, Questionmark Secure takes care of monitoring the local computer for signs of misuse and flagging or preventing attempts to cheat.  Questionmark Secure can be audited and installed by a trusted system administrator for a company-owned laptop without having to provide the same permissions to the end user.  Questionmark Secure does not install keylogging software, or any other persistently active service.  It is only active during the exam process itself.

Interested in learning more about Online Proctoring? I will be presenting a session on ensuring exam integrity with online proctoring at Questionmark Conference 2016: Shaping the Future of Assessment in Miami, April 12-15.

There’s only one day left to take advantage our earl-bird savings…click here to register and learn more about this important learning event. See you in Miami!

How many questions should you have in a web survey?

John Kleeman Headshot

Posted by John Kleeman

Web surveys offer a quick, effective means of gathering data and attitudes that can help you make decisions and improvements. But how many questions should you ask? What is the best length for a web survey? Here are some tips:

Want to learn more about survey techniques? I will be presenting a session on harnessing the power of your surveys at the 2016 Questionmark Conference in Miami April 12-15.

Research evidence

The best survey length depends on the survey purpose and audience, but here are some useful research findings:

  • The market research industry has studied ideal survey length in detail. In such surveys participants are often panel members or people with time who can be motivated or incentivized to answer longish surveys. A debated but often quoted rule of thumb in market research is that 20 minutes is about as long as a typical person can concentrate on a survey and so surveys should be no longer than 20 minutes.
  • In typical web surveys, dropout rates increase with a larger number of questions. For example one controlled study found  a drop-out rate of 29 percent on a 42-question web survey compared to a smaller dropout rate 23 percent on a 20-question one.
  • In long web surveys, participants often reduce time spent answering later questions, which can mean less accurate answers. This is an example of satisficing – participants not thinking too hard about how to answer but just giving an answer. Survey Monkey did an analysis of 100,000 real-world web surveys and found that for surveys of 3 – 10 questions, participants spent an average of 30 seconds answering each question, whereas for surveys of 26 – 30 questions, participants spent an average of 19 seconds.  So a longer survey may get lower-quality answers.
  • Task difficulty also matters. Shorter isn’t always better. Research (for example here) identifies that difficulty matters as well as length. Participants may abandon a survey when faced with too hard questions, when they would be willing to fill in a longer, less challenging survey.
  • Mobile users often have a reduced attention span, and it can take longer to answer questions on a smartphone than on a PC. One experienced commentator suggests that surveys take 20 – 30 percent longer on a mobile device.

So how long should your survey be?

There is no single right answer to this question, here are some tips:

Editing a jump block - choosing to skip to end of assessment if previous question was not applicable1. A key factor is the engagement of your participants. You can risk a longer survey if your participants are motivated. For example participants who have just undergone a three day course will be more motivated to fill in a longer survey about it than someone who’s just done a short e-learning session.

2. Consider using  branching to skip any unneeded questions.

3. Ask concise questions without lengthy explanations, this will reduce the apparent length of the survey.

4. Pretest your survey to try to remove difficult or confusing questions – a longer, clearer survey is better than a shorter, confusing one.

5. If your survey covers very different topics, consider breaking it down into two or more shorter surveys.

6. Make sure results for each question are actionable. There is no point asking questions where you aren’t going to take action depending on what you discover. Participants may disengage if their answers don’t seem likely to be useful .

7. Look at each question and check you really need it. As your survey length increases, your response rate will drop and the quality of the answers may reduce.  Work out for each question, whether you need the data badly enough to live with the drop in quality. Ask as few questions as you need – some successful surveys (e.g. Net Promoter Score ) just ask one question. Very often an effective and actionable survey can be ten questions or less.

Want to learn more about survey techniques? I will be presenting a session on harnessing the power of your surveys at the 2016 Questionmark Conference in Miami April 12-15. There’s only 1 week left to take advantage of our early-bird discount. Sign up before January 21 and save $200! I look forward to seeing you there!

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Hurry! Early-Bird Registration Ends Soon!

Postcard BannerThere is just one week left to save on your registration for the 2016 Questionmark Conference… And seats are going fast!

Take advantage of the early-bird discount and save $200, if you sign up by Thursday, January 21!

Aside from some fantastic social events that are designed to assist you in networking with other assessment professionals, we have a jam packed agenda covering topics such as:palm tree emoji 2

Bring your colleagues! Group discounts are available. Save up to $200 for additional registrants.

So meet us in sunny Miami April 12-15 and leap into the future of assessment and authoring!

Book your room at the Marriott Biscayne Bay at a discounted rate, while they are still available. Rates expire March 21, 2016.

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