One College, Many Programs: ExamSoft User Development Initiative (Part 2)

December 13, 2016 Carla Hernandez

As ExamSoft use expanded at our college, we decided to launch an ExamSoft User Development Initiative (ESUDI) during the summer of 2016.

The ESUDI’s goal is to build and continually promote faculty buy-in across all our college’s different programs. We offer a supportive environment as faculty introduce (and continue to use) ExamSoft in their courses. Led by our college’s Office of Assessment, we conduct group workshops, maintain a central repository of all customized ExamSoft resources, and offer opportunities to share feedback.

As faculty users increased, there was a higher need for ExamSoft training. As mentioned in Part 1 of this blog series, we initially offered one-on-one sessions and encouraged all users to review our college’s ExamSoft Faculty Manual. As time went on, we realized that two key administrators for 50+ faculty users could no longer function under this framework. An integral part of the ESUDI was soon born, and we now offer monthly group training workshops focusing on specific topics. Recordings of these presentations are subsequently made available to all users. Scheduling these opportunities for faculty of all disciplines to meet helps us provide quality training to the masses. It also provides a chance for faculty to collaborate and learn how other programs are using the platform.

Now that the number of ExamSoft resources we offer has increased, we wanted to share them in one location with our faculty. We wanted to eliminate faculty using outdated materials, and at the same time, respond to a common complaint by many users who had trouble accessing our shared drive off campus. As a result, the second piece of the ESUDI was formed. We developed a community group within Blackboard to act as the central repository for these resources.

Once the community group was launched, and after countless interactions with instructors, I understood many were visual learners. They seemed to prefer real-time demonstrations in the ExamSoft Portal more than reading through instructions outlined in a manual. As a result, I began recording tutorials using Panopto, a video platform for training used by our university.

Additionally, by utilizing Blackboard’s statistics tracking feature, we hope to see an increase in our content views so as to better tailor training materials. The Blackboard community group’s forum feature also allowed us to introduce a discussion board, where user feedback is encouraged.

To keep drawing users into the community group and simultaneously promote faculty buy-in, I email users twice a month. Best practices and quick tips customized to our college are sent to all faculty users. Most of the time, I am sharing universal best practices; however, I do make an effort to provide personalized suggestions to individual programs as new ExamSoft and SofTest features surface.

Although we were already administering surveys to gauge stakeholder satisfaction, we continue to improve faculty and student surveys sent out at the end of each semester. To ensure assessment data gets into the hands of our stakeholders, we intend to share its results via our community group through email and social media.

When it comes to a college that has many programs, there are many aspects that need to be addressed for computer-based testing via ExamSoft to succeed. ESUDI works to ensure faculty of all our various programs find ExamSoft beneficial to their courses’ unique needs. Launching this initiative has helped us keep all ExamSoft users on the same page, promote consistency through universal protocols, and foster faculty buy-in.



About the Author

Carla Hernandez

Carla Hernandez is a Data Administrator with the Office of Assessment and a Key Examsoft Administrator in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. Carla facilitates data management and exam administration analysis for the Health Sciences programs in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice. Her research interests include higher education assessment, improvements in student learning, and quantitative statistical analysis of student learning.

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