Respondus Reviews

Was pretty good by the standards of 20 years ago

about Respondus · · Helpful Not helpful

For this review I'm going to assume that the basic UI design and workflow of Respondus hasn't really changed in 15-20 years. By the standards of that time, it would have been an excellent piece of software. However, by the standards of today, it's pretty awful. If it isn't updated, it will be replaced by the first well-written modern contender, in much the same way that Blackboard is being rapidly replaced by Canvas and other members of the new breed of cloud LMS. Or perhaps simply obsolesced entirely; I wouldn't be surprised if the new LMS authors simply build all this functionality directly into their offerings.

Examples:

  • No cloud implementation, you must run as desktop software (and PC only)

  • Everything involves at least clicking on a few different buttons. You can't drag and drop anything, not even to rearrange questions. You can't double-click to edit.

  • Forced workflow has some flaws. Primarily, you have to complete the import before you get to properly inspect the import results. Found an error in your source document? Too bad. You can either update both the source and Respondus, you fix the source and start over in Respondus, or you can say "forget the source" and lock your data in Respondus forever. (Part of the problem here is that the "import preview" shows almost nothing.)

  • For bonus points, the GUI looks like it was designed 15 years ago. But I don't care so much about that as the fact that the user experience is current to the standards of 15 years ago.

The one feature of Respondus that is great is the integration with the different LMS platforms. Even there it's not perfect: for example, it doesn't support specifying wildcards for Blackboard essay questions so every time I create a quiz I have to go back to Blackboard and edit the quiz manually to fix that.

In summary, it works, and it's the piece of software I use that I hate the most and would most like an alternative to. Ok, actually, it's second only to Blackboard as most hated. I use it when I create or edit quizzes in Word and then need to put them on Blackboard.

[Edited by paulparker, August 17]

[Edited by paulparker, August 17]

[Edited by paulparker, August 17]

I forgot to mention that it outputs completely broken Word files (when you use it to download from Blackboard). I've spent hours fixing these.

Also, it doesn't support the new (2007!!) Office file formats unless you have a recent version of Office installed on the same machine. This is a problem for me because the only reason I have a Windows VM on my Mac is to run Respondus, and installing Office on that VM wastes lots of my SSD and slows down the VM.

Reply