Online Testing Obstacles and Tips for Avoiding Them

Working with online delivery of tests in Bb Learn 9 may seem daunting, especially for faculty who were used to the Web CT interface. ITS-ET makes several recommendations to assist faculty in tweaking this Bb Learn 9 Assessment tool for a more effective experience for both faculty and students. This eLearning Tip addresses:

  • Top 6 Obstacles for Taking a Test & Instructor Tips for Easing the Online Testing Experience for Students
  • Student Tips for Taking a Bb Learn Test (We recommend you copy and paste this section into your syllabus or other area within your eLearning course.)
  • Resetting a Test for a Student

Top 6 Obstacles for Taking a Test (adapted from Lynda.com movie, “Assisting students with common testing obstacles”; Chapter 11, “Deploying and Grading Tests"; Course, Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors; Author, Patrick Crispen)

  1. OBSTACLE: Students may have hidden the Course Menu and therefore cannot figure out how to get to the test.
    INSTRUCTOR TIP: Create an Announcement, which in the default settings of UNI’s course template is accessible from the Dashboard. Include a Course Link to the test within the announcement. The option to include a Course Link is available within the “Create Announcment” settings.
  2. OBSTACLE: Students may not know where within your course to look for the test.
    INSTRUCTOR TIP: Remind the students they can expand folders within the Course Menu to more quickly search through the folders’ content.

    image showing expanded folder in Bb Learn
  3. OBSTACLE: Students may not know the test is available for a limited time. If they try to access the test before or after the availability time period, they will not see the link.
    INSTRUCTOR TIP: Let the student know ahead of time the deadline and the timeline they need to follow.
  4. OBSTACLE: Students’ mouse skills may cause problems in the online test environment. Double-clicking may cause Bb Learn to think the student is trying to access the test twice. The scroll wheel may change the student’s answer.
    INSTRUCTOR TIP: Caution the students to single-click buttons and links within the course rather than double-click and not to use the scroll wheel while taking the test.
  5. OBSTACLE: Students can accidentally leave the test before completing it. They may use the Refresh button while taking the test. Bb Learn interprets this as an attempt to leave the test, potentially with unsaved answers. This results in a warning that they have not submitted the test. This may very likely kick the student out of the test and depending on your test settings, they may not be able to get back in to finish. The test option, “force completion,” will prevent students from returning to finish the test.
    INSTRUCTOR TIP: Caution students not to use the back, forward or refresh buttons during the test. Also, we do not recommend that you check the “force completion” option within the test options. Teach your students to save each test question’s answer as they complete it.
  6. OBSTACLE: Students may save their test answers without submitting the test. They must click “Save and Submit”, then “OK” to submit the test for grading.
    INSTRUCTOR TIP: Again, we recommend that you do not select force completion in your test options so that students can get back in. If you do force completion, you would have to reset the test attempt (unless allowing multiple attempts) to get the student back in. And they will have to completely retake the test if reset.

Student Tips for Taking a Bb Learn Test (adapted from Lynda.com movie, “Best practices for using online assessments”; Chapter 10, “Creating Online Tests”; Course, Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors; Author, Patrick Crispen)

  • Close all other programs running on your computer while taking the test.
  • Avoid using a wireless connection, if possible while taking the test.
  • Do not use your browser’s refresh, back, or forward buttons or your mouse’s scroll wheel while taking the test.
  • Single-click buttons/links within the course – do not double-click.
  • Save each test question as you complete it.

(We recommend you copy and paste the section above into your syllabus or other area within your eLearning course.)

Resetting a Test for a Student
If a student was unable to submit a test and needs to start over, or if you want to allow a student to take a test again for another reason, you can reset the test by clearing the attempt. When you clear an attempt, the grade is cleared from the Grade Center and the student can retake the test.

  1. In the Grade Center, locate the cell containing their attempt, which will display the In Progress icon.
  2. Move the mouse pointer over the cell to see the Action Link.
  3. Click the Action Link to access the contextual menu and select View Grade Details.

    screen shot of view grade details selection
  4. On the Grade Details page, click Clear Attempt on the Edit tab.
  5. Click OK to confirm and remove the attempt.
  6. On the Grade History tab, the action is recorded with "Attempt Grade Cleared." In the Grade Center, no grade or icon appears in the student's test cell.

screen shot showing selection of clear attempt