With the move to virtual learning, I have been moving much of my direct instruction into Buzz, allowing me to "flip" my classroom and use Zoom time to asnwer questions. I have found that assessments works almost perfectly for this, with a few exceptions that I think could be easily "fixed." The reason I am using assessments for instruction has to do with four specific features of assessments.
1. The next button - This allows me to create a guided experience for students. Just like in a traditional book or operating manual, the next button creates a natural flow for students and makes it easier to maintain the pace of the lesson
2. Passages - By using passages, I can create pages of information for students, embed videos, and show examples with pictures. I can then link these passages to relevant questions. This helps to partially recreate the understanding checks that would be part of an in-class lesson.
3. Essay Responses - Essay responses are a powerful tool for me class, as many of the responses I am hoping to get from students are freeform and do not lend themselves to the short answer (where I need to put in a "correct" response) format. Finally, the essay responses field allows students to upload screenshots of their work, very useful when teaching introduction to programming.
4 - Assessments allow the teacher to preview the assignments without logging in as a student. Many of these lessons are 20-30 steps long and it is important to check the assignment to make sure it functions properly. The similar Practice Problems requires you to log into your course as a student, and since Buzz then sees that as an attempt, the connection between the Master and Teacher copy of the assignment breaks.
I hope this helps you understand why I like to use the assessment format to "teach" lessons. I would also be more than willing to share an example assignment if you need further clarification.
So, what would I like to see changed?
First would be the ability to allow students the opportunity to fix one problem at a time, instead of requiring them to redo the entire assessments. I know that is the intention of the Practice Questions format, but it lacks the next button, passages, and essay questions. I am aware you can force the question types in with text view, but the implementation is ugly. Giving teachers a toggle to allow for individual question retry seems to be a much easier change than fully revamping Practice Questions to add these features.
Second, please add the ability to place hyperlinks into the assessment. Many of my lessons, and indeed many of my tests, require students to open additional windows. Giving them a link prevents the possibility of mistyped addresses. I imagine these links would need to be forced to open in new windows, so teachers did not accidentally knock students out of the assessment.
I know many of these changes would not fit what some teachers want in an assessment and that is why I am asking for them to be made options for teachers. Alternatively, adding "next question," passage, and essay responses to Practice Questions would also work, but seems to be harder to implement.
Thank you for considering these feature changes.