ADVENTURES in Online Testing (Volume 5, Issue 2)
by: Christopher Dalessandri, President and CEO, OWL Testing Software
You may think of OWL simply as testing software. And really, why shouldn’t you? After all ‘testing’ is right there in our name. But I want to share with you some of the other creative uses for OWL that just may change the way you view our Test Management System.
As a test creator, OWL gives you a plethora of features; but ultimately, what OWL does, boils down to two simple things. They are presenting content and requesting a response. The content presented may be any combination of text, image, audio and video. A response can take any of the many forms that OWL puts at your fingertips -- choose one, fill-in-the-blank, oral response, etc. The response can also be an open-ended question whose response may, or may not, be captured, depending upon the objective of the given activity. Whichever combination of presentation and response that meets your specific objectives, OWL handles both of these functions exceptionally well.
Once you narrow the process down to these simple terms, presentation and response, the potential applications are only limited by the imagination. This article looks at two broad categories of OWL use that you may have not considered.
Surveys...Surveys can be used for man reasons and to answer a variety of questions. OWL makes creating surveys easy. The survey content is usually in the form of a simple question or text; however, graphics or video can be incorporated. This allows you to present a stimulus and ask the recipient: What do you think of this? or Which one do you like better? In terms of response, the multiple choice item easily accommodates a Likert-scale or yes/no response. With the OWL Multiple Choice Analysis report you can quickly view your survey results data in one convenient place. Listed here are a few examples of the types of surveys our users have created with OWL.
- End-of-class satisfaction - How did you like the class
- Demographic data - What is the primary language spoken in your home?
- Self-placement - Is this the right course for you?
- Eligibility - Are you a good fit to work at this company?
- Screening - Do you have the skill set to do this job?
Courseware... Generally speaking, courseware combines information (stimulus) with reinforcing questions (response). These tutorials can be used to provide information in a new context and allow students to practice recall. Practicing recall is particularly important because, as several studies have shown, practice in retrieving lower level information helps students achieve higher level skills.
Because OWL lets you quickly integrate text, images, audio and video, it is an ideal platform to create coursework or tutorials. The stimulus can come from such sources as YouTube how-to videos, pictures of real-life examples, scanned samples, diagrams, charts -- really there is almost no limit. The reinforcing questions can be captured (or not) in a wide variety of formats as appropriate for the material and the learner. Using OWL's dynamic feedback the person completing the coursework can receive recommendations on what to do next.
For example, at the end of the course OWL can recommend another tutorial or display a certification. As an added bonus, once the questions are built for a tutorial they can be reused for testing the same material.
This is because the OWL Item Bank makes reusing questions effortless. A few examples of courses that have been created in OWL include:
- Student Tutorials
- Professional Development
- Personal Enrichment
With all this versatility, perhaps it's time to reconsider our name. Unfortunately, OWL Testing Surveying Coursework Software will never fit under our logo, so for now we will have to stick with OWL Testing Software. I do hope that these examples challenge the way you think about the OWL Test Management System. And that they will prompt you to consider new ways that OWL can help you accomplish your goals.
Do you have a creative way to use OWL? We would love to hear about it. Just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.