Dewis tests v Blackboard tests: which one do I choose?

The first consideration would be the type of questions your test needs to have. Blackboard has a wider variety of question types and, depending on the subject matter of the test, this may be the deciding factor.

Question Type Description Blackboard Dewis
True/False Student selects the validity of a statement Yes Yes
Multiple Choice Student selects a single correct answer from a series of answers Yes Yes
Multiple Answers Student selects one or more correct answers from a series of answers Yes Yes
Ordering Students are presented with a list of items to place in order according to criteria specified in the question Yes No
Matching Students are presented with two lists of items and pair items from one list with the other list Yes No
Fill in the blank Students enter text or numbers to complete a statement Yes No
Essay Students write a detailed response to a question or statement Yes No


Both systems have a number of randomization features, however the main difference is that Blackboard can randomize the order of questions, whereas Dewis only has randomization within the question, but with many more options than Blackboard.

The main differences are:

Randomization of… Description Blackboard Dewis
The order of questions The same set of questions appear in a random order Yes No
Questions from a pool A set number of questions are randomly drawn from a larger pool of questions Yes No
Order of Multiple Answers/Choice options The answers of MA/MQ questions appear in a random order Yes Yes
Multiple Answers/Choice options from a pool The answers to MA/MC questions are randomly drawn from a larger pool of answers No Yes
Parameters within the question The same question will generate a different set of numbers/variables for each attempt No Yes

Time and knowledge

A final factor may be the time you have available to invest in creating the test. The tests in Blackboard are easier to set up, as there are templates available for each of the question types. Dewis questions need to be programmed using a mixture of HTML and Perl and, unless you already have experience with these, would be more time-consuming to create. Another option is to create the question and ask the Dewis team to program it, but, depending on workload, this could take some time.

The Learning Innovation Unit would be able to help with any queries that may arise when creating Blackboard tests.


In summary, Blackboard has more options in terms of question types, is easier to set up and, although there is some randomization of the order of appearance of both questions and answers, the question parameters are fixed. Dewis has fewer options in terms of overall randomization but can go into great detail of randomization of different parameters within the question, which allows the students to try the same question multiple times, with different numbers.