The benefits of regular formative Blackboard quizzes

Panagiotis Sarantopoulos portrait photoIn previous years, students needed to attend one 1-hour seminar per week solving exercises complementing the lecture content. Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) from across the School served as seminar leaders. The variation in the teaching approach and style among the seminar leaders did not result in an optimal result in terms of teaching experience, while also adding a substantial workload to the course co-ordinator by having to co-ordinate 10-15 GTAs.

How did you address the challenge?

Immediately after each (offline) lecture an online blackboard quiz (in some weeks more than one) was made available for students to practice the topics covered during the lecture. Formative blackboard quizzes, a discussion board forum, and weekly drop in sessions were used in place of seminars to provide formative feedback.

Due to the quantitative nature of this course, the weekly quizzes predominately involved calculated numeric questions in which students were presented with a problem/ question that requires a numeric answer. Following the submission of their answer students received immediate feedback in the form of the correct answer and detailed instructions of how to derive the correct answer (i.e., algebraic calculations). Students could interact with the instructor, check their understanding, and seek advice when they recognize that their understanding was incomplete via a dedicated forum as part of the course Blackboard discussion board. This forum was monitored and moderated by the course leader and a GTA.

A weekly on-campus drop-in session (attended by both the course leader and a GTA) was scheduled to ensure students could physically meet us and seek support in case they needed more help. The drop-in took place on a School’s computer cluster as students needed to use spreadsheet software for some of the questions.

Evaluation / Student Feedback

graph showing high rate of Agree and Mostly Agree
Students were asked to what extent they agreed with the statement:  “The Blackboard course space supported my learning”

Results are shown in the chart. (N = 101/385 (26.23%); M= 4.63; SD= 0.66)


Some of the comments from students:

“[…] exercises were helpful and the blackboard discussions were the best way to ‘fix our problems’ of understanding the topic.”
“I like the fact that he gave us a lot of quizzes to practice”
“quizzes are very helpful for the exam”
“the homework is very effective for me to get higher marks”
“the Blackboard weekly practice online tests were clear and provided thorough explanation of every topic”
“I really valued the Maths surgery and online practise tests”
“I especially think that practice quizzes are very useful”
“The quizzes give excellent and timely feedback”
“The quizzes really helped understand the topic better”

Top Tips

Setting up a blackboard quiz can be intimidating at first but it pays off.
Make sure you get familiar with the blackboard nuances before embarking on the exercise.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

School: Alliance Manchester Business School

Discipline: Business and Management

Academic: Panos Sarantopoulos

Course: BMAN10960 Quantitative Methods for Business and

Cohort Size: 385 students

Themes: Enhancing learning with technology

Ref: 063