A case study in CAA system migration: TRIADS to Blackboard


  • M Leach University of Derby
  • I Hallsworth University of Derby


Staff in the Institute for Learning Enhancement and Innovation at the University of Derby have been exploring a replacement to the existing electronic exam system (TRIADS). The existing system has set a high expectation and there are several requirements to meet. Most notably TRIADS supported highly bespoke and interactive question types. This report describes the investigation into use of the integrated test system in the Blackboard Learn platform as a replacement; highlighting obstacles and solutions established during the process. Methods for transferring basic questions out of TRIADS were developed, utilising a format that would allow direct upload to the new system. Conversely a system was also required that could interpret questions exported from Blackboard to allow offline paper-based alternatives.  A system was also developed to replicate the advanced question functionality provided by TRIADS, through the use of embedded Flash content that could sit on top of and communicate with the underlying Blackboard test. After successful trials the University has now fully adopted Blackboard as its electronic test delivery system, and the number of students being assessed is increasing each semester, from 768 during the initial trail periods to an estimate of several thousands during the first semester of the 2011/12 academic year. The paper also presents some general guidance and experiences on holding question content in various formats.