Final Early-Bird Discount Ends Next Week!

Register for Questionmark Conference 2017 by Wednesday, February 22, for a chance to take advantage of of our final early-bird discount.

Register now and save!

Here are some highlights from the agenda:
  • Assessments as Career Development Tools at Caterpillar Inc.
  • BYOL: Next Generation Assessment Authoring Using Demographics and Jump Blocks
  • Secure Authentication: Single sign-on for Questionmark
  • Staying Ahead of Evolving Security Threats
  • Setting a Fair, Defensible Cut (Passing) Scores

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to:

  • Maximize your Assessment Value
  • Harness the Power of your Results
  • Innovate with us on Future Assessment Technologies

Register now for early-bird savings
Book your room at the Inn and Spa at Loretto before Thursday, Feb. 16 to take advantage of our special rates

We look forward to seeing you in Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 21-24 for our most important learning event of the year!

See you in Miami for the 2016 Users Conference

We’re very excited to announce plans for the 2016 Questionmark Users Conference.miami-vertical-collage2

Questionmark users will get together to learn best practices and discover new uses for online assessments from …Drumroll please… April 12 to the 15 at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay in the heart of sunny Miami with breathtaking views of downtown and the bay.

Mark your calendar now for this important learning event.sun

Here’s what you can expect during this gathering:

  • Real-world case studies by Questionmark users
  • Introductions to new solutions and features
  • Sessions explaining Questionmark features & functions
  • Presentations about testing and assessment best practices
  • Opportunities to influence future solutions
  • One-on-one meetings with Questionmark technicians
  • Plenty of time to network with your peers

sunHere’s some of the feedback we’ve received from people who joined us at this year’s conference:dinner

collage“Excellent conference every year.”

“Really good sessions. I learned a lot of things that will help me improve our operation.”

“I got all the answers to all my questions and met the right people within my first day here. This conference is an experience I would do again in a heartbeat.”fces

“I learned so much! … The conference is three days of fun, learning, and meeting people who are going through the same things that you are.”

See you in Miami!

 

Early-birds: Save now on South African conference registration

Chloe MendoncaPosted by Chloe Mendonca

The first ever South African Questionmark Users Conference will start about seven weeks from now, so early-bird sign-ups will end July 14th.

If you want to save R350 on your conference registration, now is the time to register!

We are looking forward to welcoming customers as well as individuals interested in learning more about Questionmark to this event in Midrand, South Africa, on August 21-22.

We’re still building the conference programme and will provide much of the content ourselves, but customers enrich the programme by sharing case studies on successes and lessons learned. We are actively seeking ideas for these sessions, so Questionmark users are invited to check out the conference call for proposals and respond by 14th July.

Here are just a few reasons to attend this conference, hosted by Bytes:

  • Learn more about Questionmark’s Assessment Management System
  • Participate in assessment best practice sessions
  • See the latest Questionmark solutions and features
  • Improve your effectiveness in using Questionmark technologies
  • Hear about the product roadmap and influence future developments
  • Network with other testing and assessment professionals and learn from their experiences
  • Meet with Questionmark and Bytes staff

To learn more about the conference, visit the website.

We hope you will register soon, and we look forward to seeing you in South Africa.

SA Conf

Managing a complex testing environment with a QMWise-based dashboard

 Chloe Mendonca Posted by Chloe Mendonca

Earlier this week I spoke with Gerard Folkerts of Wageningen University who will be delivering a presentation at the upcoming Questionmark 2013 European Users Conference in Barcelona  November 10 – 12.Wageningen UR logo

In their case study presentation, Gerard and his co-presenter, Gerrit Heida, will share their experience using the QMWISe API to create a dashboard for their  Questionmark Perception installation.

Could you tell me about Wageningen University and how you use Questionmark assessments?

Wageningen University is the only university in the Netherlands to focus specifically on the themes of ‘healthy food and the living environment’ — and for the eighth year in a row we’ve been awarded the title of “Best University in the Netherlands”.

We use Questionmark for summative and formative assessments. We do about 10 to 20 summative assessments each period with up to 500 participants simultaneously. Besides the summative assessments there are also formative assessments available to students. Besides the web based assessments we also have a setup for running tests in a secure environment which require the use of Microsoft Office, SAS or SPSS etc.

Could you tell me a little more about this secure setup?

eu confThe secure test environment turns a regular PC room into a test center. Each computer inside the room is closed from communication with the outside world. With our i- house developed tools we are able to deliver the necessary documents for the assessment to each participant. Such an assessment could be writing a report based on data analysis within SPSS. At the end of the assessment all the work of the participants is stored in a central location.

How do you effectively manage numerous participants taking simultaneous tests?

First of all we have set up a number of procedures to ensure a stabile testing environment. For this we have separated the environments needed for question development and formative and summative testing. Multiple administrators are working in the same environment and could schedule assessments to start simultaneously. With Questionmark Web Integration Services environment (QMWISe,) we created a dashboard to get a real-time view of the amount of assessments scheduled and the number of participants that are enrolled into the assessments.

How has this helped to control your environment?

Using the standard QMWise API makes it possible to build a dashboard which will show this data, and with the information already there, it is easy to do a basic health check on the assessments. For technical support it is essential to predict how much load can be expected on your QMP farm, so the dashboard has helped us to get our QMP environment in control

How do you hope that your session will benefit others?

I hope that my session will give some insight in the possibilities of QMWise. Once you understand how it works it is not that hard to add custom modules to the Questionmark Perception environment. I think the API is undervalued.

What are you looking forward to most about the Users Conference?

Meeting with other Questionmark users and learning about the roadmap of Questionmark Perception.  And of course a visit to Barcelona…

Check out the conference program and click here to register. We hope to see you there!

Euro Conf Banner

Looking forward to the UK Academic Briefing

There’s just one week to go until the UK Academic Briefing at the University of Central Lancashire. I’ve just finished arranging my travel, and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone there.

As many of you will already know, I worked for many years in the UK academic community working on computer based learning projects.

One project I was often asked about when I was working at the University of Cambridge was my work on the educational applications of the Digital Desk, as reported in ALT-J way back 1997. The Digital Desk used an overhead camera to automatically recognize paper documents placed on it, enabling interaction with them. The system used a sort of printed bar-code and required a seriously expensive camera to function. In that paper I cautiously warned that “it will be some time before computer-augmented environments make their way onto the average laboratory desktop.”

But 15 years later and this technology is embedded in most mobile phones and devices. The bar-code technology has improved and is now the recognizable QR codes you’ll see printed in magazines and on posters. I’m pleased to see that the future has now arrived: using QR codes to launch Questionmark assessments is just one of the topics we’ll be covering at the briefing.

I’ll be there to answer any questions you have for the Product Management team in addition to taking you through what’s new in the latest Blackboard Connector and giving you an update on what we’re currently working on.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the back channel so feel free to post your questions and feedback to #qmcon.

If you haven’t already registered for this free learning event that will take place on November 25 at the University of Central Lancashire, click here for details and online registration.

Looking back (and forward) to #qmcon

It’s three weeks since the Questionmark European Users Conference and I’m still following up on some of the conversations that started there. The presenters really help shape the theme of the conference: each session provides the starting point for the discussion that happens in the breaks, in the bars and on into our community spaces and discussion forums after the event.

An increasing part of this conversation is something often referred to as the back-channel. For me, the back-channel is a way that participants in an event can contribute to a wider conversation around the event’s themes using their mobile devices.  To help you grapple with the details of this concept, you might like to read this interesting blog post preparing participants for DevLearn 2011:  “What exactly is a back-channel?” I particularly like the comment from a speaker encouraging audience members to use their mobile devices to engage.

So how would you tune into the Questionmark European Users Conference back-channel? If you were using Twitter (and that is the easiest way) you would  just search for all tweets that include the special hash-tag #qmcon (‘hash’ is one of the many names for the # symbol on your keyboard).  Most Twitter monitoring tools make it easy to monitor your search continuously so that you can see new comments appearing in near real time.  To contribute to the conversation about this event, you would simply include the term #qmcon in your tweet.

Don’t be shy!  Of course, when you tweet publicly it might be recorded and preserved for all time (especially if you make particularly witty and incisive contributions) but back-channel comments are short and conversational and usually ephemeral like any other comment or question you ask in a discussion session. Why not give it go?  Next time you’re at a conference find out the back-channel hashtag and have a look.  If you’ve got a burning comment or question you don’t need to wait until the end of the session anymore: tweet it and see what comes back.

I always like to monitor the back-channel at every conference I attend, and when I’m presenting I always check back afterwards to see if there are comments and questions I need to follow up on or ways I can improve my session next time.  For example, here was a useful tip from someone in the audience of one of my sessions:

“#qmcon Acronym city in Integration session. developers have a language all of their own, no pun intended.”

Clearly I need to humanise that slide deck a bit for next time.

In my opinion, following hashtags is the way to use Twitter.  And it isn’t just something people do at conferences either.  Producers of live TV programmes monitor hashtags and provide feedback to the presenters in real time. You can also follow major trends and world events; try searching for something of interest and see what tags people are using to follow the conversation.

Still enjoying the Halloween spirit?  Just follow #pumpkin for a constant stream of pumpkin-related tweets and pictures.