The practices below can help ensure a smooth online testing experience.
If you experience difficulty while taking an online exam, contact your instructor immediately via email and inform them of your situation. Be sure to include the time, course ID, and test title in your email. Internet disruptions, power failures, and browser crashes can occur during a test. To protect yourself from the impacts of these potential problems, follow these steps:
Before the Test
Plan your time to take the test, do not wait until the last minute! If you run into technical trouble while taking or submitting the test, you need to have time to get the problem resolved. As most tests are only available during a specific time period, you want to be sure the link to the test is still available if you need to get back in.
How good is your Network Connection? Consider a wired internet connection. If you have access to a hardwired internet connection, we suggest you take your test using it. Wireless can be unreliable, particularly in public areas, and you may not recognize whether or not you’re connected until you try to Submit. Tips to Increase Connection Strength
Start with a Cleaned-up Computer. Restart your computer. Restarting your computer can free memory resources from applications that may be running in the background. Close all other applications that are not needed for the test (iTunes/Spotify, email, chat). Also, make sure you do not have more than one browser window opened to Blackboard; this can cause problems when submitting your exam.
Are you having Technical Issues? Take a screenshot and contact your instructor. This screenshot can be useful to your instructor and helpful for troubleshooting. If your instructor has set the test up for multiple attempts, at may be possible to try again. Try by quitting/close your browser and reopen it, log in again to resume the exam. If necessary, restart your computer. IT Help Desk can help you troubleshoot technical issues; however, they cannot reset or reopen your test. It is solely your instructor's decision as to how to resolve your situation.
Be Careful with Your Mouse. Use single clicks and internal navigation. One of the quickest ways to mistakenly leave the test page during a test is to hit your browser’s Back button or double-click on a link. Blackboard Tests are meant to be navigated using the interface so you should only use the internal navigation links and avoid leaving the test page for any reason, including other pages within Blackboard.
Watch your Time. Whether the test has a specific timer or is only available during a specific time period, it is important to track your time. Blackboard has a three-hour time out, and your Internet Service Provider may have something even shorter. This means that if your browser is idling on the test page for more than this amount of time and you try to Submit the test, it is possible that you were logged out of Blackboard and your answers were not saved during that time. Also, if your instructor enabled the Forced Completion setting, they will have to clear your test attempt, and you’ll have to start the test over.
Essay Questions. If allowed by your instructor, compose long answers or essays outside of Blackboard. Don’t lose your hard work! Compose this type of answer in a text editor such as Word, NotePad, or TextEdit and SAVE it. Then paste or upload it to your Blackboard test. NOTE: This method does not work if your test is using Respondus LockDown Browser, unless specifically allowed by your instructor.
Save Answers as you go. If your test questions are displayed all at once (rather than one-at-a-time) make sure you save EVERY answer before moving on to the next question. Even though Blackboard will periodically auto-save your answers, do use the Save buttons frequently. This keeps your interaction with Blackboard active, so the time-out issue from above goes away, and also gives you some reassurance that Blackboard received your answers.
Be aware of Auto-Submit! When you click on a Test link in Blackboard, you are directed to an information page that gives you the test’s instructions before you begin. Several important elements are listed on this page; whether there’s a Timer for the test, if Force Completion is on, are Multiple Attempts allowed, and if the test will be auto submitted once the timer reaches its limit. If Auto-Submit is turned on, all saved answers are submitted when the timer hits its limit. If it is not turned on, you can go over the time limit, and this is reported to the instructor.
Don’t Forget to Submit! You may be excited/exhausted or just in a hurry to get to your next class. After you click on Save All Answers at the bottom of your screen, remember to hit Save and Submit when you are finished. If you do not Save and Submit, your instructor will see you are still in progress. Do not close the browser window or navigate to another site until you see the confirmation page.
What does Needs Grading Mean? There are a couple of reasons you may see “needs grading” in My Grades for your test. If any questions require your instructor to assign a grade individually, such as with short answers or essays, you will initially see an exclamation mark (Needs Grading) instead of your grade. Additionally, if you exceed a specified time limit, the Needs Grading status will also appear in place of a score.
Why is Test Feedback Available for some Tests and not others? Each instructor makes choices about whether to show feedback and what type of information is available. You may see that the test was submitted, score per question, all possible answer choices, your submitted answers, the correct answers, and/or any textual feedback written into the test.
Random Questions and Random Answers, confusing? Instructors have the option to randomize the questions that appear for each student in the test. So, your friend’s question #1 is probably not the same as yours. When going over the test in class with the instructor, pay attention to the question content and not the question number. To make things more confusing, your instructor can also randomize the question answers. So, answer A may answer C when your friend sees that question. This is all intended to help prevent cheating.