A sneak peek at the conference agenda

Headshot JuliePosted by Julie Delazyn

Do you want to be part of the most important learning event of the year? Come to the Questionmark Users Conference in Napa Valley March 10 – 13!

Here are some great reasons to be there:

  • Protect your assessment data: Stop cheaters, hackers and attackers
  • Examine the tools and techniques essential for trustable assessment results
  • Create better assessments: measure knowledge, skills and abilities
  • Use assessments to gather business intelligence
  • Understand the technologies that support sound assessment practices
  • Explore the latest Questionmark authoring, delivery and reporting feature

Register by January 29 for this essential professional development event and save $100.

We are thrilled by the rich content that will be offered at the conference and wanted to give you a sneak-peek at what you’ll have access to in Napa.

Here’s the current line-up of breakout sessions:

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Customer Stories

  • Using Questionmark to Conduct Performance Based Certifications
  • Transitioning 70 Years of High Stakes Testing to Questionmark
  • Writing Performance-Based Test Items
  • Deploying Questionmark Perception in a Heavily Firewalled Load-Balanced Environment
  • Building a Better Report with OData
  • Using Questionmark to Develop an Innovative Personnel Selection Tool
  • Questionmark AICC Integration with SuccessFactorscollage

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Best Practices

  • Introduction to Item Development in Large-Scale Test Development
  • Making the Case for Trustable Assessment Results in your Organization
  • Questionmark Customer Portals: Deploying Questionmark to work for your Business
  • Twenty Testing Tips: Good practice in using assessments
  • Hackers, Attackers and Your Assessments: Protecting your assessment data with penetration testing
  • Last Mile of Delivery: Ensuring the security of your assessments

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Questionmark Features & Functions

  • Assessment Authoring
  • Integrating with Key Technologies to Maximize Your Assessments and Results
  • Overview of Setting Performance Standards: Making the cognitive leap from scores to interpretations
  • BYOL: Item and Topic Authoring
  • Successfully Deploying Questionmark Perception
  • Customizing the Participant Interface

There will be so much to learn during our three days together. Other activities will include evening events in California’s wine country! We look forward to seeing you there.

Register for the conference by January 29th to save $100

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.