The Test feature in Blackboard allows instructors to set specific settings to deliver the assessment. Such as: single or multiple attempts; specific date and time settings; timed and/or password protected. A test might display a single question at a time or may offer the ability to stop and save, resuming it where you stopped. Other exams may be configured so questions are pulled in random order from a question pool.
Contact your instructor a head of time if you have any questions about the test format.
Before Starting the Test
If the Instructor has set up a practice test be sure to take the practice exam on the computer(s) that you plan to use for your tests. Do this early so you have time to identify and resolve any issues that may exist.
Only one (1) browser window or tab should be open (the one that will be used to take the exam). Launching a second browser window when the exam is displayed may cause you to be locked out of the test.
Maximize your browser screen before starting the test. Most browsers refresh the page when you re-size the screen. This means it will try to reload the test and may prohibit you from taking the exam.
Minimize the number of applications running, use only what you need to complete your test.
Only have one Blackboard Session open at a time. Whenever you log in, Blackboard starts a session for you and tracks your time. After about 3 hours your Blackboard session may close, but if you have logged in several times within 3 hours you may have multiple sessions open. When preparing to start a test makes sure you haven’t recently logged into Blackboard so you will start a new session. To prevent this make sure you always logout of Blackboard when finished so you always start a new Blackboard session. Important Note: Internet browsers also store session data, it’s important to access Blackboard every time from either the HVCC home page, by going to www.hvcc.edu, selecting Students, and then the Portal/Blackboard icon or by going directly to https://my.hvcc.edu. In some cases you may find that you need to clear your browser cache to clear any session data that your browser may have stored for Blackboard.
DO NOT select the test link unless you are actually prepared to take the test at that time. If you are not ready to take a test select Cancel when prompted.
If a test must be taken by a specific date or time, DO NOT wait until the last minute to start it. Should something go wrong, there may not be enough time to resolve the issue before the deadline.
Know how to contact your instructor should you experience problems during the test.
Internet Browsers: review the Check System Requirements web page for a list of compatible Internet browsers and to make sure your computer meets the minimum requirements to work well with Blackboard.
DO NOT use browsers provided by your Internet Service Provider such as AOL, Comcast, or RoadRunner. These browsers have been modified and do not work well with Blackboard.
Internet Connections: Dial-up, satellite, and wireless Internet connections (such as public and home networks, cellular air cards, Wi-Fi, etc.) are NOT recommended for taking tests in Blackboard. Consider the reliability of the connection to the Internet. If the signal is weak or there is a brief interruption in the signal during the test then the test may not be able to submit properly. A hard-wired connection is the most reliable and is recommended when taking tests.
Dial-Up Users: Make sure your ISP idle time-out settings are set to the maximum allowed time. (In Internet Explorer, this setting is usually found under: Tools, Internet Options, Connections, Settings, and then Advanced).
Toolbars: Turn off third-party browser extensions. Third-party browser extensions include (but not limited to) features such as Google or Yahoo toolbars associated with the browser.
Pop-Up Blockers: Pop-ups should be allowed. Make sure that the pop-up blocker feature is turned off on the browser. Pop-up blockers can prevent the test from displaying.
Adware: Make sure your computer is free of ‘Adware’ applications. These applications will periodically open a popup window containing an ad. You can use a free program like AdAware from Lavasoft (http://www.lavasoft.com) to evaluate your computer.
Firewalls: Both personal and corporate often block access to Blackboard. This can include Norton and/or McAfee Personal Firewalls.
Browser Buttons: To prevent data loss, loss of a page, or loss of a secured connection, DO NOT use the “Back,” “Forward,” or “Refresh” buttons from the browser toolbar. Use only buttons located on the Blackboard screen.
During the Test
Do not double click on the Begin button, or click the Begin button more than once when starting the test. If you click a second time, you may find yourself locked out and unable to access the test.
Wait for the test to completely load on the page before selecting answers. Depending on your computer and Internet connection, it may take a little while to load a test, especially if the test is long and contains essay questions.
Read Test Instructions. Blackboard provides instructors with a variety of test settings. Depending on your instructor’s test settings:
Some tests may be taken more than once (multiple attempts)
Some tests may require that they be completed in one sitting (force completion)
Some tests may allow you to complete one section, and return to finish additional sections (multiple attempts not allowed/force completion this test can be saved and resumed later)
Some tests may be timed; the time allotted will be displayed. A timer will appear showing the elapsed time you have been in the test. While Blackboard will not stop the test after the allotted time has elapsed, it will record the time spent on the test. Your instructor may penalize you if more time was taken than allotted for the test.
Some tests are all-at-once assessments, which allow you to access the entire test and move around from item to item.
Some tests are one-at-a-time assessments, showing only one question at a time; you may not be able to return to a previous question (does not allow backtracking). Only select the single arrow “>” button to move to the next question. Selecting the double arrow “>>” will take you to the last question of the exam and may cause time out issues on the exam.
When using a mouse with a scroll wheel, be careful scrolling. Always click a blank area on the test before using the scroll wheel. This will insure you do not inadvertently change answers on the Test.
Save Often. Either click the Save All Answers button located at the top and bottom of the test screen in Blackboard, or click the Save Answer after each question. This will record your answers to the grade center and help keep your connection to the Internet active.
DO NOT double-click the Save All Answers, Save Answer, and Submit buttons. Double-clicking may cause an error message and delay submission of your answers. If you select one of these buttons and nothing seems to be happening, wait 60 seconds and try again. If you get a blank page, an error message, or no confirmation that your test has been saved or submitted, follow steps in the section, “What to Do If I Encounter a Problem.”
Essay Questions: As entering or after entering your answer in the text box, select the Save Answer button for the question to keep your Internet connection active and to save your answer. Also, you may want to compose essay responses in a word processing program like WordPad or TextEdit and save the responses and then copy and paste your answer into the text box. This way you will have a back-up of your work if problems occur with your test submission.
Be cautious with the Backspace key. Make sure the cursor is within the text-entry field when trying to correct errors. Hitting the Backspace key when the cursor is elsewhere on the page may cause your browser to return to a previously viewed page or refresh the page and could prevent you from re-accessing a test.
If your test allows, check over your answers before you Save and Submit your test to check answers to make sure you did not change an answer accidentally.
Be sure to review the results page that appears once you have submitted the assessment. Some instructors have included comments for their multiple-choice type quizzes. These comments will help you to understand what you got wrong and why. The results page will also inform you if the submission was successful or not.
What to do if I Encounter a Problem
Internet Technology is not problem-free. It’s possible that at some point you may encounter a problem while taking or submitting a test, despite following the tips provided:
Lose your Internet connection in the middle of an exam; do not close your browser window. Try to re-establish your connection. If the exam is still displayed, complete it and try to submit. If you are concerned about whether your results were recorded, print a copy of the confirmation page for your records and email your instructor indicating you encountered technical difficulties.
An error message appears, write down the error message word for word, also note the time and date the error occurred, along with the Internet browser you were using, what you were doing when the error occurred, and any other relevant details.
Take a Screenshot, of the error message, test screen, etc. If your test answers are still visible, make sure you get all the answers in a screenshot or two. This can help in identifying the problem but it can also document your work on the test to the point when the problem occurred.
Contact your Instructor. As soon as you encounter a testing problem it’s best to open up communications with your instructor. Provide as much information as possible to your instructor when you contact them. In a case where test responses have been lost or you are unable to re-access a test, the decision about how to proceed is ultimately up to the instructor. Most faculty will include general information about their course policies related to online testing in the class syllabus. If you are in doubt contact your instructor for information.