This Getting Started Guide offers new XpressLab users information and guided video tutorials to help you access, navigate and successfully use the core features and tools found within the XpressLab platform. Specifically, this Getting Started Guide includes detailed instructional videos to help you:
- Create a Course
- Add Students to a Course
- Create Activities Using Built-In Activity Types
- Author Activities Using the Test Planner
- Evaluate Student Submissions
The information detailed below is intended for use by XpressLab users with a Teacher or Administrator account. Before reviewing the following instructions, it is recommended that you login to the XpressLab platform using your Teacher or Administrative credentials. Platform login is found at app.xpresslab.com. If you have forgotten your login credentials, select the Reset Password Tool found on the Login screen, or enter app.xpresslab.com/ForgetPassword into your web browser address bar.
If you require specific help instructions or encounter an resolvable error within the platform, you may open a Support Ticket using the XpressLab Help Centre, or email the XpressLab Help Team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting Started Step #1: Creating a Course
Activities and tests are created within the context of a Course. Existing courses are found on the My Course List page. The My Course List page is also used to create new course.
There are three (3) ways to create a course within XpressLab:
- Creating a new Course: This method involves creating a brand new course from the ground up. To create a new course, use the My Course List to select the New Course + button. This launches the Course Information page, where you can configure the details of your new course
- Duplicating a Course: This method involves duplicating one of your existing courses by selecting the Duplicate button within the My Course List. Duplicating a Course copies all of the previous course activities and tests without copying the student list of enrolled students within the previous course; and
- Importing a Course from the Library: This method involves importing a course from the XpressLab public Library of learning resources or your own personal Library. Importing a course also copies all of the existing course activities and tests
The following video provides step-by-step instructions on how to create and duplicate courses within XpressLab.
Getting Started Step #2: Adding Students to a Course
Teachers can add or enroll students to a course and create student accounts using the Students tab found on the Course Dashboard page.
There are three (3) ways to add or enroll students in a course:
- Manually adding individual students to a course
- Bulk adding multiple student accounts via Excel or CSV file import; and
- Re-adding archived or past student accounts to a new course
The following video provides step-by-step instructions on how to add or enroll students to a course in XpressLab.
Getting Started Step #3: Creating Activities
XpressLab includes seven (7) built-in Activity Types. Each Activity Type has its own unique configurable settings, which relate to purpose of the activity you are creating. For example, some activities, such as the Practice Exercise, are not submitted for marks. Therefore, you will not be able to specify an overall value for the activity. Selecting an Activity Type also determines which Question Types are available within the Test Planner.
When creating activities in XpressLab, you may select one of the following built-in Activity Types:
- Dropbox Assignment: This activity type requires students to create a text composition or to complete a worksheet that is then submitted to the Dropbox for marking. Teachers can download student submissions, make comments in the submitted file and post it back to XpressLab for student review. The student's original assignment file is left unchanged.
- Oral Discussion: This activity type provides all of the students in your course with an opportunity to use extended speech, by posting voice-recorded messages in response to a topic or theme that you present. Students are also able to post responses to forum posts made by other students.
- Practice Exercise: This activity type uses self-assessment style questions to reinforce listening, speaking and reading skills. A Practice Exercise can include a mix of XpressLab’s built-in question types, which includes: Audio Response, Multiple Choice (Oral and Text), True/False, Text Passage Correction, Written Response, Fill-in-the-blank, and Matching questions. Student answers are not submitted for marking in this activity type. At any time, practice activities can be converted into a Standard Test, which can then be submitted for marking
- Standard Test: This activity type is submitted for marks. A overall Time Limit can be applied to a Standard Test in order to make it a Timed Test. In addition, Time Limits can be added to test Sections and/or Testlets to add additional time limits within the test itself. A Standard Test can include a mix of XpressLab’s built-in question types, which includes: Audio Response, Multiple Choice (Oral and Text), Text Passage Correction, Written Response, Fill-in-the-blank, and Matching questions.
- Student Journal: This activity type offers a private discussion area used by teachers to present reflective-style assignments to students as well as providing a space for student mentoring. Each student is given his or her own journal, which may only be accessed by the teacher. Journal assignments typically require students to express their thoughts concerning lessons, events, readings and other course related themes that relate a course's content. In language courses, Student Journal activities are often used to support the development of extended speech.
- Student Presentation: This activity type allows students to create a virtual class presentation. Students can create PowerPoint style slides with voice recorded audio, text, pictures and video. When marked and at the teacher's discretion, student presentations can be published for the entire class to see and comment on in an integrated discussion forum.
- Teacher Presentation: This activity type is best used as a way to present lessons or assignments, or to supplement class lectures and course material. Presentation authors can include voice recordings, text, pictures and video within their presentation as well as including links to external web sites and text documents or worksheets to support the presentation material. Mastery-style or reflection questions can also be included within a presentation to encourage student engagement and support the retention of concepts presented. This activity type includes the Oral Questions with Sample Answers, and Multiple Choice (Text and Oral) question types.
Once a Course is created, an activity or test may be added to a course using the tools found in the Course Dashboard.
The 5-Step Create an Activity workflow provides teachers and test-authors with more extensive settings and selection options to help customize XpressLab activities. Creating a new activity allows teachers and test-authors to configure and apply:
- Test Settings
- Test Taker and Permission Settings
- Evaluation Settings; and
- An Introduction and End Message
The following video provides step-by-step instructions on how to create an activity in XpressLab.
Getting Started Step #4: Authoring Activities in the Test Planner
The XpressLab Test Planner allows teachers and test authors to create and structure language tests using test Sections and Testlets. The Test Planner also provides more control over a test-taker’s flow through a test using configurable Section and Testlet Settings.
The Test Planner also includes Design Mode, which allows each question to be authoring in a single slide, environment. Design Mode is used to add additional click and drag audio recordings, video clips, images, and more, directly within activity questions.
The following video provides step-by-step instructions on how to use the Test Planner to author activities in XpressLab
Getting Started Step #5: Marking Student Submissions
Subjective style questions, such as Multiple Choice, Fill in the Blank, Matching Questions, and Text Passage Response Questions, are auto marked within the XpressLab system. These questions will be automatically evaluated by comparing the student’s answer with the correct answer selected during the activity authoring process.
Objective style questions, such as Audio Response and Written Response questions, require human review. These question types and the corresponding student response, are made available within the Marking interface.
There are two methods of accessing student submissions within the Activity Dashboard:
- To access the Submissions page, where all activity submissions are listed, click on the Submissions button, located at the top of the Activity Dashboard, directly above the Student Activity graph, and to the left of the Test Planner button.
- To access a specific student’s submission within the Marking interface, click on the Submission Notification icon or the Student’s Name within the Recent Activity list, located on the left side of the Activity Dashboard.
The following video provides step-by-step instructions on how to access and mark student Submissions.