Tips for Successful Online Tests
Split up long exams. Especially if your exams are presented all-at-once, the connection to the server can be lost while the student answers a long series of questions, or composes a long essay.
Present the questions one at a time rather than all at once. While this will increase the time needed to take the exam, it has the advantage of saving students' answers for each question as they go, as well as keeping their internet connection alive.
Turn off Force Completion. This allows students to pick up where they left off in case they get kicked out. This spares them from having to contact you to reset their test. This is not a second attempt; they resume the test at the point they were kicked out. Force Completion is completely different setting than Multiple Attempts.
Timer: The Timer starts when the student clicks the Begin button and stops when the test is submitted. If the user leaves the test and then comes back (assuming Force Completion is off), the timer continues to run the entire time. The timer does not shut down the test when time is up, but it will note the attempt as Needs Grading even if it is an objective exam (e.g., no essay or short answer). Click the action button for the attempt, view the attempt that needs grading, and click the Test Information link to see the time the student took. Blackboard does not record where the student was in the test when time expired.
If a student reports an error on submitting the test, you can submit the attempt for them.
To do this:
- In the grade Center, click the action button for the student's attempt.
- Select the in-progress attempt from the menu. It will be marked with a date.
- Click the Test Information link.
- Click the Submit Attempt button.
Before beginning the test
- Don't wait until the last minute!
- Be prepared. Set aside enough time, and have a quiet environment where you can work undisturbed.
Check your browser’s compatibility at The Computer Help Desk
- Log into Blackboard
- Click the BB Help tab
- Click the Test Your Browser button
- Check your version of Java
Clean up your browser
- Turn off toolbars and extensions such as Google, Delicious, Diigo, etc.
- Make sure that class.lakelandcc.edu is a trusted site in your security settings
- Turn off popup blockers, or allow popups.
- Clear your browser cache and delete temporary files
- Use a hard-wired connection if possible. Wireless connections have been known to drop offline, especially during exams.
- Keep your connection alive. Especially for a long exam or a wireless connection, have some background connection such as an internet radio station open in another browser, in order to keep the connection from dropping offline.
During the test
- Save as you go, at least every few minutes. If you’re answering questions quickly, don’t click Save repeatedly. Allow time for the system to respond. (Look for the green progress bar at the bottom of the screen.) If the test presents one question at a time, your answers will be automatically saved as you go. You do not have to save each question.
- Answer essay questions in Notepad (or Wordpad depending on your operating system) (Start > All programs > Accessories). (Mac users: Applications > TextEdit) You should write your essay responses in Notepad, save a copy to your hard drive, then copy and paste the text into Blackboard. Do not copy and paste from Microsoft Word.
- DO NOT DOUBLE-CLICK. Double-clicking either the Save Answer, Next Question, or Submit buttons may cause an error.
- If you have any sort of technical difficulty, contact your instructor and the Help Desk immediately.
Following these suggestions will reduce the likelihood of students having technical problems submitting their exams, and reduce the need for faculty to reset exams when students do have problems.