South African Users Conference Programme Takes Shape

Chloe MendoncaPosted by Chloe Mendonca

In just five weeks, Questionmark users and other learning professionals will gather in Midrand for the first South African Questionmark Users Conference.

Delegates will enjoy a full programme, from case studies to features and functions sessions on the effective use of Questionmark technologies.

There will also be time for networking during lunches and our Thursday evening event.

Here are some of the sessions you can look forward to:

  • Case Study: Coming alive with Questionmark Live: A mind shift for lecturers – University of Pretoria
  • Case Study: Lessons and Discoveries over a decade with Questionmark – Nedbank
  • Case Study: Stretching the Boundaries: Using Questionmark in a High-Volume Assessment Environment – University of Pretoria
  • Features and Functions: New browser based tools for collaborative authoring – Overview and Demonstrations
  • Features and Functions: Analysing and Sharing Results with Stakeholders: Overview of Key New Questionmark Reporting and Analytics features
  • Features and Functions: Extending the Questionmark Platform: Updates and overviews of APIs, Standards Support, and integrations with third party applications
  • Customer Panel Discussion: New Horizons for eAssessment

You can register for the conference online or visit our website for more information.

We look forward to seeing you in August!


Questionmark European Users Conference Now Underway

Joan Phaup

Posted by Joan Phaup

There’s plenty of excitement in Manchester, England, where the first general session of the EUconfphotoQuestionmark European Users Conference  brought delegates up to date with recent product releases and Questionmark’s Open Assessment Platform. Breakouts sessions this afternoon will be followed by dinner at Old Trafford, home of England’s famed Manchester United Football Club.


Tomorrow’s general session will explore the themes of E-assessment and Interoperability, Standards and Accessibility and another full program of breakout sessions including case studies, technical training, best practices and Product Central discussions where delegates share their insights with Questionmark product managers.

You can catch highlights from the general sessions via our Live Blog and/or follow the conference on Twitter.

General Session at European Users Conference: E-assessment and Interoperability, Standards and Accessibility


Posted By Sarah Elkins

The European Users Conference is less than one month away, and I’m pleased to announce that Tom King, Questionmark’s Interoperability Evangelist, and David Sloan from the University of Dundee will be leading the Tuesday morning General Session, focusing on E-Assessment and Interoperability, Standards and Accessibility.

Tom King is actively involved with many e-learning technology specification groups, and a regular contributor to this blog. Tom will provide an overview of the current status of major standards and the specification organisations behind them, and highlight some of the emerging needs and promising developments.  David Sloan will give an overview of accessibility-related legislation, standards and best practice, and show how Questionmark can help support the creation of accessible assessments.

The conference is set to be an exciting two days for Perception Users with Best Practice sessions on the latest trends in assessment management, eight Case Study presentations, and some great Technical Training sessions. Make sure you check out the full conference agenda and if you haven’t already done so, register for the conference!

Podcast: An Innovative Approach to Delivering Questionmark Assessments


Posted By Sarah Elkins

The University of Bradford has recently developed an innovative e-assessment facility, using cutting-edge thin client technology to provide a 100-seat room dedicated primarily to summative assessment. The room provides enhanced security features for online assessment and has been used for the first time in 2009 with considerable success. The room’s flexible design maximises its usage by allowing for formative testing, diagnostic testing and general teaching.

John Dermo is the e-Assessment Advisor at the University of Bradford.  In this podcast he explains the technology behind this unique setup and talks about the benefits and challenges in using this room. John Dermo will also be presenting a session at the 2009 European Users Conference, where he will go into more detail about the project.

Crowdsourcing in action: a successful experiment at E-Assessment Live

john_smallPosted by John Kleeman

I’m reporting from the E-Assessment Live event at Loughborough University on a practical experience of crowdsourcing assessment content organized by our events team. We had a session with around 20 workstations in a room and gave everyone access via a browser to Questionmark Live, our new software-as-a-service authoring system that allows anyone with a browser to create questions easily and email them out for use in Questionmark Perception.

Most of the people in the room  were not familiar with Questionmark. We asked them all to create a question and email them to me from the system. They all logged into Questionmark Live and wrote a question on their home town which I brought into Questionmark Perception very easily, and within 20 minutes from the first question being authored we had an assessment. See below for a screenshot.


I think the availability of applications like Questionmark Live, which allow easy creation of questions by lots of people at the same time and amalgamation into an assessment, is going to make a big difference in the assessment world. Obvious ideas include getting students to create questions for each other and having SMEs brainstorm and then review questions as a group in an item writing workshop. Essentially harness the power of the crowd by letting each person contribute simultaneously rather than write items sequentially or hierarchically.

I am sure there will be ways of using crowdsourcing for questions that no one has thought of yet and this will hugely improve our productivity. Questionmark Live is free to Questionmark software support plan customers and open for anyone to evaluate. Seeing is believing, so I encourage you to try it out on our website.

Summative e-assessment quality

john_smallPosted by John Kleeman

I’d like to highlight an important but not yet widely disseminated  report which sets out some best practice and recommendations on quality for summative e-assessment. It’s a must-read for anyone who is implementing summative assessments in an academic environment, and worth reading for those outside colleges and universities as well.


The report by the REAQ project team is commissioned by JISC in the UK and produced by the Learning Societies Lab at the University of Southampton, a center of expertise in e-learning and e-assessment. It had an expert panel of some experienced professionals reviewing and feeding into the work, including Greg Pope and me from Questionmark along with others.

The report asks interviewees who use e-assessment in practice what they think high quality means and compares this with the theory as to what high quality should be. One of the striking comments is that the experts suggested that the most important factors for getting quality in e-assessment were psychometrically based, starting with validity and reliability.  However, the practitioners thought that the most important factors were practical issues of delivery (security, reliability and accessibility) and also how innovative they are able to be. Part of this has to do with differences in perspective but part of it is also that psychometrics is not as well understood as it should be. One of the report recommendations is that JISC should set up workshops or other dissemination for psychometrics principles.

The report also includes much advice on process and advice on good practice, both from practitioner perspective and expert perspective. Recommended reading.