Instructors: how to get started with online testing at UB

Students attend a lecture in a large UB lecture hall on North Campus. Some have laptops and others have paper notebooks.

Published January 16, 2020

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to testing. As a UB instructor, you have several options for testing, including new electronic, online options that are more secure and reliable than ever before. The hardest part is knowing which tool is right for your needs.

Why electronic testing?

More UB instructors are choosing online testing, both in and out of the classroom, because of its reliability and integration with popular grading tools. 

For example, if you already use UBlearns or Top Hat for grading, both feature testing platforms that automatically integrate with their corresponding gradebooks.

Although academic integrity is always a concern with testing, online testing technology continues to evolve, and one recent study found that online testing has a negligible impact on academic integrity compared to traditional testing.

Digital devices are also nearly ubiquitous among students at UB—the vast majority of UB students have either a laptop or a smartphone, according to the 2019 UBIT Student Experience Survey, and University Libraries offers laptop and tablet rentals for students who need them.

What if I prefer paper testing?

Although centralized support for “scantron” style paper tests was retired at UB in 2019, paper testing is still an option for most UB instructors. 

Talk to your departmental chair to see which testing solutions are preferred in your unit, then ask how your departmental IT staff can help support you regardless how you administer tests.

If you’re ready to look at online testing options and find the right choice for you, read on for more information about choosing the right tool and getting the best possible support. 

Talk to your department

Talk to your IT support staff or your decanal unit leadership about which options are supported and recommended for your unit. Your department or school may have a preferred testing solution in place, and you might benefit from using a solution your peers and IT staff are familiar with.

Look at UB's recommendations

If you’re still looking for guidance, the UB website has a list of popular and centrally supported online testing options. These include centrally supported options like UBlearns, as well as additional options, from free and open source alternative to solutions preferred and recommended by other instructors at UB.

Get guidance from UB Scoring Services

Still unsure where to start with online testing? Or maybe you’ve found a solution that looks good but you aren’t sure whether it will be sufficient for what you do at UB.

Although central scoring services at UB are being retired, you can still contact UB Scoring Services for guidance with online testing. They can recommend options based on what other instructors in your field are using, or help you assess a potential option to see whether it will fit your needs.

Get speedy support and input from UBIT

With more instructors using digital technology to administer and grade tests, the need for fast and thorough support is greater than ever before.

To get help with technology in a UB classroom, call the UBIT Help Center at 716-645-3542 and press ‘1’ for a direct line to our classroom response center. They are available to provide responsive assistance with classroom tech problems as they happen.

For help with UB teaching technology outside of class time, visit buffalo.edu/ubit/help to contact a member of our Help Center team. They can demonstrate aspects of classroom teaching technology, and provide insights into which software solutions may work best for you given your unique circumstances.