QMWISe, Portals and Single Sign On

I had a great time at the European Users Conference in Amsterdam.  Thanks to Stoas for their key role in making this wonderful event happen! Stoas are a learning consultancy based in Holland that provides Questionmark Perception-based solutions to education and business there.

As Questionmark’s integration products owner, I was especially interested to see  plenty of sessions that looked at integration issues, from customizing the templates used during assessment delivery right through to integrations with customer portals. I wish I’d had the opportunity during the conference to attend some of the best-practice sessions that were timetabled alongside my own. Fortunately, the conference has a dedicated space on our Community Spaces system and many of the presentations are appearing there so that I can catch up — thank you!

One session I did get an opportunity to go to was a session presented by Stoas themselves on their use of QMWISe (with a bit on templates). QMWISe is the name of our web service application programming interfaces (APIs). With QMWISe, system integrators can link assessment management into their other systems. It also allows programmers to create custom user interfaces to suit their own processes.  QMWISe is a key component of our open assessment platform.

I liked the way the presenters talked about how they distinguish between single sign-on and what they described as “single log-on”. Traditionally, single sign-on means a single challenge followed by access to multiple systems. For example, you might be prompted for your user name and password when you log in to your company portal and, from there, access many of your organization’s systems without having to identify yourself again.

With a common, weaker form of single sign-on, the same identity is used across multiple systems even though the user is challenged separately as they access each one. Stoas used the term single log-on when referring to the stronger requirement and demonstrated a system that used QMWISe to obtain a single log-on from a customized learning portal into Questionmark Perception. The presenters went on to show us an interesting dashboard view that used a blend of QMWISe and custom database queries where no suitable API exists (yet!).

The difference between sign-on methods can be quite subtle. I expanded on some of the common models of providing participant access in my own best-practice session. For workers or students with personal computers, a familiar pattern is a “remember me” checkbox. This causes the Web site to store the access credentials in the user’s Web browser as cookies, reducing the need for a single log on. (Windows Authentication on PCs works in a similar way.)

In the future, single-sign-on complexity seems likely to be handled directly by the system administrators who install and configure Web servers. Plug-in modules for web servers are now available that allow an organization to choose from a variety of different authentication systems (also known as “identity providers”) to protect the web applications they host.  For on-demand services, standard protocols are emerging that allow customers to link to their chosen identity providers without having to host the Web application at all.

Now I am looking forward to the U.S. 2011 Users Conference, where I hope to hear some more excellent presentations.

Bryan Chapman to Keynote Questionmark 2011 Users Conference

Joan Phaup

Posted by Joan Phaup

Bryan Chapman

With the Questionmark European Users Conference just completed in Amsterdam this week, we are gearing up for the 2011 Users Conference in Los Angeles March 15 – 18.

We’re very pleased that Bryan Chapman will present the keynote address there. As Chief Learning Strategist at Chapman Alliance, Bryan is involved in providing research-centric consulting solutions that help organizations define, operate and optimize their strategic learning initiatives. His talk on Assessment’s Strategic Role in Enterprise Learning: Innovation and Trends will include examples of innovative assessment strategies that have improved learning and performance within many different organizations.

In addition to tech training, best practice presentations, demonstrations of new technologies, meetings with Questionmark product managers and drop-in meetings with the Questionmark techs, the conference includes case studies and peer discussions presented by Questionmark users. The call for proposals is now open, so we hope that Perception users who are thinking about attending will consider their own participation in the conference program.

This video will give you a general overview of what happens during the conference.

Anticipating Questionmark user presentations at European conference

Posted by John Kleeman

Questionmark’s European user conference starts this Sunday in Amsterdam. I’m really looking forward to the event and wanted to share my enthusiasm with you.

Questionmark users are usually passionate about assessment and are often the visionaries and leaders of assessment within their organization. Questionmark staff are also passionate about assessment and work from many different places. So our  conferences – European and American – are a special opportunity for us all to get together in person, meet old friends, make new ones, and speak about assessment : how we can do it effectively on computers (and now mobile devices), and how to use and improve Questionmark software.

Usually my schedule at our conferences puts me in Product Central, engaging with focus groups on how the product should be better, but this year our product management team will be taking the lead there and I’m hoping to spend more time listening to our user experience presentations. This year in Europe we’ll hear the following case studies:

  • One of the world’s largest banks explaining how they are allowing people to invigilate (proctor) themselves but retain trust in the process for compliance purposes
  • Johnson Controls describing how they have implemented a certification programme with Questionmark
  • KU Leuven, one of the oldest universities in the world and with a great depth of technical knowledge, speaking on high-volume delivery and extending Questionmark
  • Experience from the Open University of the Netherlands about implementing Questionmark Perception in their freedom of time, place and pace philosophy
  • A session on advanced item types from an innovator at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Experience from a new user, Rotterdam University, which started in 2009 but have already delivered 10,000 assessments
  • An update from ECABO about using Questionmark with psychometric validation for high stakes exams in the Netherlands

I hope to attend most of these sessions. And I’m looking forward greatly to seeing Questionmark colleagues, Questionmark partners and Questionmark customers, where for a few days we’ll exchange information, ideas and return to work re-charged to continue improving the world of assessment.

For those of our customers who are not coming, you can follow us on twitter (#qm10) and live blogging. We’ll also post handouts after the event. I hope you will join us in 2011 in Los Angeles or Europe.

Podcast: Assessments for new service technicians

Per Schou-Neilsen

Posted by Mel Lynch

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Per Schou-Neilsen from Johnson Controls Denmark. Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology company with 130,000 employees in more than 150 countries.  Per, who is Manager for Learning and Development, Industrial Refrigeration, Europe & Africa, will present a case study at the Questionmark 2010 European Users Conference to be held in Amsterdam October 3 – 5.

During his presentation he will share his recent experiences with Questionmark Perception and its use in a development and certification program for new or newly hired service technicians.

We are very much looking forward to hearing Per’s case study presentation in Amsterdam. You can listen to this podcast for a hint of what Per will be discussing and why he is looking forward to the conference.

Spaces for the 2010 European Users Conference are limited – Register now so you don’t miss out!

Off to Amsterdam October 3 – 5 for the next European Users Conference

Mel Lynch headshot

Posted by Mel Lynch

Questionmark users are once again anticipating two days of learning and networking at the Questionmark 2010 European Users Conference.

We are very excited about this year’s gathering, to be held in Amsterdam on October 3 – 5. Judging from what we’re seeing in registrations to date, it’s looking to be the biggest European Users Conference ever.  The fact that we are meeting  in Amsterdam may have something to do with it, as it is definitely a destination worth a visit!

The conference offers a great opportunity to meet with fellow learning and assessment professionals to discuss best practices and to get better at using online surveys, quizzes, tests and exams.  The agenda is really starting to take shape with a lot of the programme being confirmed and some great sessions lined up.

Of course, the Questionmark tradition of taking attendees on a fun-filled evening event has not been forgotten, with the canals of Amsterdam playing host to this year’s Monday night social event.

If you are thinking about joining us in Amsterdam but are still not quite sure what it’s all about, then take a moment to view this Video Invitation from Questionmark’s CEO Eric Shepherd – in a little over a minute (1 minute, 22 seconds to be exact!), you’ll get an overview of what the conference has in store for you. But remember – be sure not to procrastinate too much as spaces are limited and we don’t want you to miss out. 

Register now or visit the conference website for further information.