Faculty Spotlight – Michelle Van Der Wege

(Faculty Spotlight is a series of articles focused on highlighting faculty at FHSU that are using technology in interesting ways. Faculty Spotlight is intended to be a regularly published series, so check back often to see if your peers are doing any intriguing activities with technology. If you have a faculty member you would like to recommend for Faculty Spotlight, contact Teaching Innovation and Learning Technologies at tigerlearn@fhsu.edu. Faculty Spotlight graphic by Cari Kelly.)

“I think the first question that has to be answered is why I would even want a scantron alternative. Most consider the use of scantrons archaic, but I believe there are benefits to paper testing, although it seems outdated,” says Michelle Van Der Wege. With current technology, paper testing may seem like a thing of the past, but this form of testing still holds advantages. Unfortunately, one of the biggest downfalls to paper testing was the scantron system. Luckily, there is a solution to speed up that process. In fact Michelle Van Der Wege, Assistant Professor of Nursing, has found that using Akindi, a digital scantron alternative, has relieved some of the headaches that come with using a regular scantron machine. It didn’t take long for Van Der Wege to decide she wanted to use Akindi for her classes.

Michelle Van Der Wege – Assistant Professor of Nursing

Akindi is a digital hybrid tool within Blackboard which enables you to create exams directly in Akindi with just a few clicks of the mouse and then print them off for students to take. Once your exams are ready to be graded, you can simply use the multi-function printers in your department to scan and email the results and data to your Akindi specific email. Akindi then allows you to send the scores directly to the Blackboard gradebook. Ms. Van Der Wege stated that this feature was one of the greatest benefits to using Akindi. Lastly, Akindi calculates six exam reports for professors to utilize. “This is probably my favorite thing about Akindi. I had a little trouble reading the scantron test statistics, but that’s not the case with Akindi,” says Van Der Wege. Akindi is a secure way to efficiently create and grade exams while also saving you time.

Filling in a key within Akindi

Ms. Van Der Wege currently uses Akindi to scan tests for two classes—Pharmacology I and II. In both classes there are four to five exams and one final. Van Der Wege says she uses Akindi for all of those exams. “I think the technology is very easy to use,” says Van Der Wege, “I was able to set it up and grade a quiz without any assistance!” Michelle says her students actually prefer paper testing as opposed to online testing, so having a system like Akindi allows her to continue this form of testing.

This button sends your student scores directly to Blackboard with just one click

Paper testing provides many benefits to students that computerized testing does not. “Paper testing allows students to practice test taking skills and provides additional test security,” says Van Der Wege, “Students are able to cross out information, circle key words, mark questions to go back, etc.” Unlike computerized testing, students cannot copy and paste a paper exam, so there is additional test security. The challenge with paper testing, however, is getting feedback to students quickly. Akindi provides a solution to this problem. “I was able to post grades within an hour—this is a tremendous advantage of Akindi!”

Van Der Wege has introduced several nursing faculty to Akindi and they’ve all been very impressed. “I was convinced very quickly this was something I would be using frequently,” says Van Der Wege. Not only would Ms. Van Der Wege recommend Akindi to other professors, as she says “I do recommend it all the time!” (she even taught our former Learning Media Coordinator, Nathan Riedel, a few Akindi tips).

If you would like to see how Ms. Van Der Wege uses Akindi, she will be hosting a demonstration during Fall Professional Development Day. You can register for her workshop and others at the following link: https://cloud.i-attend.com/EventRegistration.aspx?dIevE=3jaMTR5HyVioj8kqJcyTRg

If you have any questions regarding Akindi or Professional Development day, you can contact Teaching Innovation and Learning Technologies at tigerlearn@fhsu.edu.

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