5 Best Practices for Tests in BlackBoard (China Specific)
1. Turn Off Forced Completion
2. Set Questions to Display “All at Once”
3. Reduce # of Students Testing at the Same Time
4. Increase the Time Allowance
5. Don’t Panic
Proper test options can greatly improve the testing experience.
Consider these China-specific suggestions:
1-Turn OFF Force Completion (leave the box UNCHECKED)
Force Completion requires the students to complete the exam in one sitting without exiting the browser or the system. When “force completion” is turned OFF (as suggested), students who lost internet connection or were kicked out of the test, can go back to the exam where they stopped (when they lost connection) and continue taking the test. Unfortunately, the time elapsed while the students are out of the test (since they lost internet connection or the server was down) will count against their exam time because the system will continue to count down the time remaining. Therefore, you may also choose to Turn OFF Auto Submit.
1A(Optional)-Turn OFF Auto Submit
You can always set up timers for any exam and by turning OFF auto submit, students can take some extra minutes after the time is up. You will be able to see how much extra time they spent by checking the Grade Center. This will allow students who need extra time to take your test without special arrangements in Bb. One thing you can do is tell your students that the exam is time is 2 hours (for example) and you allow them to take some extra time. If they exceed the time by more than 15 or 20 minutes, you will take off some points.
You can add this in the test instructions area:
The student will see this screen when the time is up. He/she must click on Cancel to continue taking the test:
The instructor will see this annotation in the Grade Center through test information and access log on the students test attempt:
For China faculty, you may want to leave auto submit ON simply to remove the possibility of exams not being submitted when a connection failure occurs. There have been times in the past when the submit button failed to work at the end of an exam. By having auto submit ON, you could assure students that their exams were being submitted. This also removes the possibility of students closing their exam without submitting and then accessing it later outside of class.
1B-What Can Happen if I Ignore Practice 1?
If an exam is set up to have “Force Completion” and to have questions appear “One at a Time,” students should be instructed to NOT use the browser back button, navigate away from the page, or close the browser before submitting their exam. If they do any of these things, their test will automatically be submitted with only the answers they have saved.
2- Set Questions to Display ‘All at Once’: -With the current issues we are experiencing in China, problems get worse when more students are clicking at once. If you display questions All at Once, you reduce the number of clicks. You also reduce the impact of delays on timed exams.
If you must display questions one at a time, try to limit the number of students taking the exam at one time and be prepared for delays—try to allow more time. If you have concerns regarding cheating due to students sitting nearby each other when taking the exam, try to increase the size of your question pool. If you have a smaller number of questions drawn from a larger pool, the likelihood of adjacent students receiving the same questions decreases.
3- Reduce the number of students and/or questions per exam
If you can reduce the number of students taking the exam, or the number of questions in the exam, you can reduce the impact of the delays and issues.
4-Increase the time allowance
If you have taught in China any length of time, you already know the truth of this suggestion. Allowing extra time for expected and unexpected problems, decreases the likelihood and impact of catastrophes. If you have many students in an exam, or if you choose to display questions one at a time, it is very important to allow students more time to take the exam. But aside from the actual exam time, it is good to plan extra time around the exam. A 45-minute exam booked in a 45-minute slot, leaves no breathing room for a delayed start or technical error.
5-Expect the Unexpected and Don’t Panic
Errors will happen—that is simply part of our current situation. If you are prepared, many of them are easily dealt with. As long as you have Turned OFF Forced Completion, you can usually recover from most errors (red bars, timeouts, etc) with a simple refresh or press of the back button. If the overall system is slow, remind students to wait patiently and only click a button once before waiting for a response. If persistent issues arise on a particular computer, have students move to a different machine.
2 More Best Practices (General)
1- Turn ON “Test Results and Feed Back to Students” Options:
-If you would like to have your students see their test grades (including test questions, submitted answers and correct answers), after the exam is closed, the Show Test Results and Feedback To Students boxes have to be checked so that students can see their exam after they took it:
*Note that even though we also recommend “On Specific Date” as an option for the second box, we still highly recommend “After Due Date”.
On specific date you will want to choose a date and time where everyone has completed the test.
2-Make sure “Errors” are fixed in Respondus LockDown Browser (This is only if you use Respondus LockDown Browser):
Every semester and after a course copy or modification of the test options, exams that require Respondus LockDown Browser (RLDB) have to be “fixed”. The fix can be done by one click on the button “Fix It”.
1- Go to Course Tools>>>Respondus LockDown Browser.
2- You will see a list of the exams that are set to use RLDB and you can click on the button “Fix It” next to every exam’ error.
For full tutorials about Assessments, Tests and Surveys in Bb, please visit http://www.fhsu.edu/learningtechnologies/BlackboardFacultyTutorialAssessment/