Virtual Envirothon Q and A

The Maryland Envirothon is excited to offer you the opportunity to participate in this year’s VIRTUAL ENVIROTHON.  We have 49 teams from across the state ready to dive into this new way of competing. We hope this document will help you answer several of your questions about this event.  Please continue to check the Maryland Envirothon website https://mdenvirothon.org/ and Facebook page as new information will be added as it becomes available.

Training Session Question

What are the dates of the training sessions?

Who will receive the training sessions and testing sessions invitation links? Coaches or students? 

  • Students can sign up for the training sessions on the Maryland Envirothon website up to 10 minutes before the training.
  • Links to the training sessions will also be emailed out to the teachers and students.
  • All training sessions will be recorded and posted on the Maryland Envirothon website as well as on the Maryland Envirothon YouTube page no later than April 12th. 
  • It is recommended that students watch the pre-recorded training videos on the Envirothon Website in addition to (and prior to if able) to the live virtual training sessions.

Which website/platform will be used for the question and answer sessions for the virtual training sessions planned for March/April? 

  • Trainers will be using the University of Maryland’s Zoom account.  They will have many strong security measures in place so that no student name, picture, or face will not be displayed and can address the issue of hacking in a quick and timely manner. 
  • Live transcriptions and closed captions will be available. 
  • Some things they will ask participants to do to enhance their controls are:
    • Keep their cameras off throughout the training session. 
    • Students will be asked to change their name to something neutral (i.e. favorite animal, team name, soil type)
    • Students will be able to ask questions through the chat.
    • Students can also submit questions beforehand through the registration form.

At our school we have other students who are interested in the Envirothon but were not able to create a team. Are they able to sign up to view the training sessions?

  • Yes, other students can sign up to attend the training but we ask that they limit their questions to give priority to those competing. 
  • Should we need to limit the participants, students who are signed up for the State Envirothon will have priority.
  • Students will also be able to view the recordings of the training sessions that will be loaded on the Maryland Envirothon Site and YouTube

Can students login to the virtual training prior to the scheduled time? 

  • Students may complete the Zoom registration form at any time which will send them an email confirmation with the directions to sign on at the time of the scheduled training. Logging into the training prior to the actual start time will simply put them into a waiting room. 
  • Registration for each training is open up until, and at least 10 minutes after the start time for each training session. Visiting the registration link at the time of the event will still allow them to gain access once submitting the form. 
  • The registration form is one of the security measures in place. Student contact information submitted to the form will not be used for any other purpose than sending the confirmation. 

Will there be closed captions available during the live training sessions or on the recordings?

  • Yes! During the training sessions we will use live auto-transcriptions through Zoom. The recording will also be available with captions. 

Competition Testing FAQ’s

The competition will take place through the University of Maryland College Park’s ELMs platform which is a virtual course delivery program created by Canvas. This is a secure platform that will require students to create an Associate Account with UMD to be able to access the contest materials. 

Students will need to follow the Associate’s Account Set Up Instructions by April 7th. Any questions about this process should be directed to April Brohawn at abrohawn@umd.edu

My student(s) already created an Associate Account for the Maryland FFA CDE Contest, do they need to create another one?

  • No, students will be able to use the same account as long as it was created with the email address submitted to the Envirothon. 

Can a student use their school email address to create the Associate Account?

  • Students should use the email address submitted to the Envirothon upon registration to create their Associate Account. Each student needs to use their own account, there can not be multiple students using the same email address. 
  • We have no preference if the email is a personal vs. school email address– however the email used MUST be able to receive emails from external sources to be able to complete the registration process for the Associate Account. 

Are there any technical requirements for my team to take the virtual test or access the virtual platform?

  • Beyond setting up the Associates Account and providing the email address, there are no specific technical requirements the student needs to access the virtual platform. 
  • We do recommend using the Google Chrome browser when possible to access ELMs. 

The team captain is to submit one test per team. Are the team members working simultaneously through a team’s/zoom type of platform? 

  • Students can work as a team through the appropriate platform for your system or a platform that is conducive for them (i.e. Zoom, Google Meets, Facetime, phone call). If your group needs assistance finding or creating a platform, please contact April Brohawn at abrohawn@umd.edu
    • All team members can access the tests to view the questions simultaneously through their own accounts. 
    • Teams should access each test at the same time– members should not be logging into the exams at different times throughout the day. We can view when each member accesses the exams. 
    • Teams CAN NOT utilize resources (with the exception of a calculator, writing utensils/paper, or anything else outlined in the test directions) not provided by the Envirothon– no googling, no field guides, etc. All content-related resources will be provided. 
  • Only the team captain will be submitting the test.

Do teaccers need to proctor the test?

  • A proctor is not needed when the students are working together.  If, however, it is a requirement for your school system, a proctor can be in the room but NOT assist the students.  The Coach may proctor or you can ask another teacher to be with the students for the 2 hours. 
  • If there will be a proctor in the room, please send Craig Hartsock an e-mail at chartsock@atlanticbbn.net to let him know.

Will teams be able to login to the testing platform ahead of time to make sure they can access the information/navigate the platform? 

  • Teams will be able to login to the platform a week before to become comfortable with the University of Maryland’s learning platform.
  • Tests will be released on the morning of the test day. Directions for logging into the system are included on the Associates Account Set Up document. 

What will the tests look like and what is the time frame for each test?

  • The students will have 120 minutes to complete each test. Once started, they must complete all sections within that 2-hour slot. They are not able to login and logout throughout the day.  So, if they start at 4 pm, they need to stay on until they are done, or 6 pm whichever comes first.
  • Tests will open at 9 am and close at 9 pm.  All tests not submitted by 9 pm will receive a zero.
  • Tests will be broken into parts with a specific time limit for each part.  Once a section is started you must complete it in the time frame allotted for that section. For example, Wildlife might look like this:
  • Field guide Identification – 40 minutes
  • Basic Wildlife Concepts and Laws – 30 minutes
  • Wildlife Management Concepts – 30 minutes
  • Wildlife Legislation – 20 minutes
  • Each section will have some general directions.  The reading of these directions is NOT included in the allotted time for the test.  Timing starts when they hit the “start” button of the test. On the directions page of each section of the test, the time allotted for that section and the number of questions will be visible.
  • Students will be able to see all the questions for that section at one time and have the allotted time to complete that section.  
  • Students will be able to see a timer to help manage their time for that section.
  • Students have ONLY ONE attempt at the test – once submitted, they will not be able to go back to that section of the test. 
  • Again, only the Team Captain should submit the exam responses. If another team member accidentally submits, that result will be disregarded. 

Can students alter answers or readdress questions up until they submit the test, or when the time limit is reached?

  • Students can use the entire time allotted for each section to readdress or alter responses within that section. All sections must be completed and submitted within 2 hours.
  • Once a section of the test has been submitted, they will not be able to return to that section of the test. 

What resources will students be allowed to use during the tests? 

  • Students will be provided with content-based resources they require during the exams including keys, charts, digital guides, etc. These resources will be embedded in the exam and available digitally. Traditional resources such as print guides and tools will NOT be used this year. 
  • Each test section will provide the links to the appropriate resources that will then open in another tab on their browser. 
  • Students may have writing utensils, paper, and a calculator if they so desire, but no other resources will be needed. 
  • If any additional resources are needed, they will be listed on the Maryland Envirothon website, announced at the trainings, and in the directions of the test and/or test section. 
  • Students should not leave the ELMs platform during the exam or access any resources not provided to them on the exam– no googling! 

Are the tests site-specific or from a specific location in the state?

  • All tests cover information that is statewide knowledge.  Should there be a site-specific location, it will be identified on the test.

General Questions

Will there be tech support if there are issues during the testing platform?

  • Yes! Should issues arise the day of the exam, you can contact one of the following people:
    • April Brohawn – 301-314-7222 or abrohawn@umd.edu
    • Others to be added closer to the competition date

Other information

There will be a Kickoff event on April 25th from 7 – 8:30 pm.  

There will be an Awards Ceremony on May 6th at 7 – 8 pm.

T-shirts will be delivered to the local Envirothon Coordinator for distribution to the students.

Awards will be delivered to the local District to disseminate or a Maryland State Envirothon Committee person will arrange a time to meet with the students to present them to the team.