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Thread: Question for the WebAIM group
Number of posts in this thread: 9 (In chronological order)
I hope someone in the WebAIM discussion group can help me with an
accessibility problem I have run into. I know this great group offers
practical advice to lots of folks on different topics. I am counting on
the input of at least one of you to help me solve the problem. Here is the
In my distance ed program we used Web CT for ONE of our online classes this
summer. I know that they are NOT accessible yet, and I may migrate out of
WebCT to someone else but I think the problem I experienced would be fairly
universal. I am trying to figure out a work around to this dilemma
regardless of the course software I would use.
In this class we use weekly quizzes as one of the many assignments to get
students to master the content. We spent a lot of time coming up with good
questions that could be used for multiple years. I am concerned that as it
stands, students can print off these quizzes and possibly share them (i.e.,
share them during the semester -- I'll do this one and you do that one and
we'll combine resources --, or from one year to the next). I am looking
for a way to create the quizzes and disable the printing function in their
browser window. I have heard that it is possible to put the quizzes into a
Java applet or a flash video or something similar, but without advanced
programming these could not be made accessible. I understand that if it's
in HTML it can be printed. Any thoughts from the group?
Thanks for sharing your experience with the quiz function. This
summer we also used the timing function, but we used it for the whole quize
(e.g., 10 minutes) versus per question. We also restricted their visit to
one time. It sounds to me that this would be better than what we did, but
not a perfect solution since they could answer a multiple choice question
in about 15 seconds and then hit the "print" button in their browser window.
This may put a damper on the whole thing, but in a certain sense, whatever
is on the screen can always be printed, if only as a graphic. Even if the
text is inside of Java or Flash, a sneaky student could still hit the "print
screen" button, paste the graphic into a graphics program, then print it.
That's probably not the answer you were hoping to hear, but I think that we
have to recognize that a determined cheater will always find a way.
I think we do understand our limits here. I hate to say this, but
I am not sure the students in my program (up till now) are as technically
skilled to figure out how to do this in a devious fashion. They still
require some hand-holding to send and receive basic attachments. With this
said, your point is a good one. Sometimes we can't fix the things we want
to fix. Maybe this is one of those times. Thanks for your input.
I think you nailed it, Paul. Cheaters will always figure out a way to cheat.
So far (knock on wood) most of our students have behaved quite honorably in
similar on-line quiz situations.
Also, there are accessibility issues with placing time limits on student
quizzes. I don't remember the exact wording of the requirements, but
disabled students are legally allowed more time than other students. (I
can't remember if it's controlled by a multiplier, say 5 times as long, or
if it's simply disallowed to place a time limit on those students...)
Note: in the Blackboard software, overdue timed quizzes are simply flagged
in the gradebook -- teachers then release the overdue flag for disabled
students. (This is a common accessibility question, and I know there are
some Blackboard users on this list.)
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For some types of tests, at least those involving numbers, it's possible to
generate random variations. For example, if you've got a ball rolling down
an inclined plane, you can randomly generate the angle and length of the
plane. Students can still "cheat" by sharing the method, but at least they
can't just copy the final answer. (and depending on classroom strategy,
sharing the method might not be considered "cheating").
This requires hooks for programmatic generation of web pages. Probably the
simplest is to use asp or php servers, in which you can write an ordinary
HTML web page with little pieces of code replacing selected parts, e.g. in
the above example, the angle and height.
For tests that aren't simply numerical... this might not apply.
I'm with Paul . . I wouldn't count on the ignormance of students about how
to manipulate the system. . otherwise they may be dumb, but in manipulation
they usually surprise us.
Our University has standardized on CourseInfo, but we have one
professor who is bucking the standard and using WebCT. I believe
his overwhelming issue with CourseInfo is on-line testing. Using
WebCT, he generates tests in random order. For example, he may
create a pool of 100 questions, only 50 of which any one student
would get and those in random order (ie. so even if 2 students got
mostly the same questions, they would not be in the same order).
I believe it makes it nearly impossible to cheat with any efficiency.
Email me privately, Cyndi, if you want to do this, but cannot figure
out how to, and I will forward your question to one of my co-workers
who works with the professor to actually put his tests on-line.