Q-Bit Tester Guidelines

Overview of the QLAB Project

The LACOL Quantitative Skills working group is collaborating to develop a shared library of online modules - Q-bits - that can be deployed for just-in-time review and skill-building across disciplines. The Q-bits will review quantitative topics and demonstrate the topics' applications in different disciplinary contexts. (Our initial focus will be on topics at the level of pre-calculus or below, with advanced topics being a later focus.) The primary benefits of engaging in this work as a consortium are to share the work of developing modules with colleagues at similar institutions and to have a larger sample size for testing the effectiveness of the modules.

Initially, we are developing a set of three Q-bits on basic quantitative skills topics that have been identified as high priority areas by LACOL faculty: logs, linear functions, and choosing a graph to visualize data. Our goal is to deploy these Q-bits in a variety of different contexts, including:

  • as stand-alone refreshers
  • as just-in-time instruction embedded in coursework
  • as part of peer instruction efforts
  • as components of quantitative skills/quantitative reasoning support programs

We are interested in exploring student usage of Q-bits and evaluating the effectiveness of the modules as dependent on the way they are deployed. We are looking for faculty interested in supporting student review and development of quantitative skills, who are willing to contribute to these efforts by testing Q-bit modules this Fall!

The QLAB project will use information from these preliminary tests to inform the development of Q-bits or other online resources to support student quantitative skills. The consortium plans to seek external grant funding to support this project.

What is a Q-bit?

A Q-bit is designed to provide students the opportunity to review quantitative skills and practice using them through engaging in examples from several disciplinary contexts. Q-bits will be implemented through online videos and quizzing deployed in each institution's learning management system. Each Q-bit will consist of 5 elements:


Multiple choice questions along with confidence ratings

Intro context video

Video by LACOL faculty member highlighting how the quantitative skill is relevant in their discipline

Instructional video

Curated instructional videos or other packaged presentation of quantitative content

Application problems

2-3 example problems for students to work demonstrating the relevance in various disciplinary contexts


Multiple choice questions along with confidence ratings

Sample Q-bits

Sample Q-bit: Logarithms (hosted by Carleton College)

Sample Q-bit: Linear Functions (hosted by Amherst College)

Sample Q-bit: Choosing a Graph Type to Visualize Data (hosted by Vassar College)

How to use a Q-bits in your Teaching

Faculty who are willing to test Q-bits in their fall term courses have several deployment options, including: providing a link to the relevant Q-bit (hosted in your school's LMS) on your course page, listing the Q-bit as a resource on the syllabus and doing nothing further, incorporating the Q-bit in a student assignment prompt, making the Q-bit part of a class activity for individual students, asking students to look at the Q-bit outside of class time and using it as the basis for in-class discussion or activities. After seeing the example Q-bit, if you have other ideas about how you might use a Q-bit in your teaching, please reach out and talk to a member of the Q-lab core team listed below.

Opportunities and expectations of testers

We hope to use the initial (Fall 2017) implementations of Q-bits to apply for an NSF grant and then build on that work to yield publishable information. This means we need to thoughtfully evaluate Q-bit modules and rely on Q-bit testers to follow the implementation and data collection processes described in the step-by-step guide below.

As a Q-bit tester, you will:

  • Have free access to all Q-bit materials which will be deployed in the Learning Management System (LMS) of your school.
  • Receive a total stipend of $500 for completing submission of relevant data and reflections after testing the Q-bit.
  • Have the opportunity to provide input into the further development of the QLAB project, and there is the possibility of being included in presentation and publication opportunities if the project is successful.

As a Q-bit tester, you will be expected to:

  • Use the Q-bit in one of your courses for fall term. How you choose to use the Q-bit is up to you. If you assign students to use the Q-bit, students must answer the pre-/post-questions. You may choose how you ask students to engage with the application problems.
  • Export and submit data from the Q-bit (collected through student interactions with the module in your LMS) to the LACOL repository.
  • Provide information about how you used the Q-bit in your course, and your suggestions for future improvement, through a brief survey late in the fall.
  • Invite students to fill out a brief survey about their impressions of the Q-bit -- if you are a tenured faculty member. Untenured faculty members may choose whether or not to ask their students to fill out a survey.

Step by Step Guide for Using Q-bits with Students

  1. Complete the "Q-bit Tester Intake Form" to note your plans for using Q-bits this term
  2. View the Q-bit Training Webinar
  3. For each Q-bit you are testing, add a link from your syllabus or course website to the Q-bit module hosted in your LMS.
  • URLs for each Q-bit hosted in your LMS will be available by September 1st; Student access will be granted by your IT group.
  • Draft Versions (for review only):
  1. Logarithms
  2. Choosing a graph to visualize data
  3. Linear Functions
  • Introduce the Q-bits to your students; explain how you intend for them to use the Q-bit in the context of your course.
    • As students use Q-bits, they will be required to answer the pre- and post-questions (knowledge check and confidence questions); students will not be required to view all videos or complete application problems, but you may advise them to focus on these elements as appropriate for your course.
  • Ask all students in the course to complete the STUDENT CONSENT FORM available to them in the LMS. Their consent is encouraged in order for data related to their use of Q-bits to be included in the LACOL study.
    • In order to collect as much usable data as possible, we ask that you encourage each and every student in your class (whether or not they will use Q-bits) to complete consent form linked in your LMS before you start using Q-bits.
    • Any student may use Q-bits (based on your instruction) even if they decline to give consent on the use of their data in the study.
    • Student consent responses regarding inclusion of their data for this study will be kept confidential; you are not responsible for collecting data from the consent form.
    • A sample of the consent form is here.
    • URLs for the STUDENT CONSENT FORM hosted in your LMS will be available by September 8th. Student access will be granted by your IT group.
  • From September through November, incorporate the use of Q-bits in your class activities or assignments as you deem appropriate. You may present Q-bits as optional or required elements for some or all students in your course.
  • Prior to Thanksgiving, ask all students who used Q-bits to complete a short survey / reflection in your LMS.
    • URL for STUDENT REFLECTION SURVEY hosted in your LMS will be available by November 1st
  • On or before November 17th, authorize your IT liaison to export results from Q-bit assessments (pre/post quizzes and application problem responses) and student reflection surveys for upload to LACOL/SERC.
    • Data export is a standard task in your LMS. IT liaisons (see list below) will assist with exporting Q-bit data into the appropriate comma separated value (CSV) spreadsheet format.
    • The URL for secure upload of the data to LACOL will be communicated by November 1st.
  • Complete the faculty post-test reflection by November 17th
    • URL (hosted on the SERC website) will be available by November 1st.

    Introductory Webinar

    Download the webinar slides (Acrobat (PDF) 177kB Aug29 17) or view the webinar recording:

    Click to watch the webinar screencast (MP4 Video 59MB Aug29 17).

    Important Dates

    • Introduce the use of Q-bits to your class(es) in early Fall, 2017.
    • Prior to November 17th, direct students who have used Q-bits to complete a survey in your LMS.
    • Submit Q-bit and student survey data to the LACOL repository by November 17th, 2017.
    • Complete the faculty post-test reflection by November 17th, 2017.

    Getting Help

    Along with this training guide and the webinar video (see above), there are people to help with the conceptual as well as technical aspects. Explore FAQs »

    Here's a list:

    QLAB Contacts:

    Q-bits Testing Coordinator: Monica Bruckner, mbruckne@carleton.edu

    Monica is a Project Manager and Science Education and Evaluation Associate at the Science Education Resources Center at Carleton College. Through partnership with LACOL, Monica is the primary support contact for Q-bits testers. Along with answering your questions, Monica will serve as a contact point with the larger team as needed. If you have a question and don't know who to contact, email Monica and she'll direct your email to the appropriate person.

    Q-bit Module Development Leads by Topic:

    Q-bit Element Leads:

    School IT Contacts / LMS liaisons: