Blackboard can be configured to administer and automatically grade tests. The feature is found under Course Management>Course Tools as "Tests, Surveys, and Pools." Once an instructor has created a test in this area, they can be deployed in any content area. Results from tests will automatically display in the Grade Center.
Many instructors administering online exams are concerned about cheating and have asked about the Respondus Lockdown Browser. The Respondus Lockdown browser is not available for use at Syracuse University, however, the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence offers guidance on alternatives to traditional exams for student assessments. While there are strategies you can employ to help reduce cheating you should also expect that students will access class materials while taking the test. Blackboard does not limit a student's browser to the exam window and it cannot prevent them from accessing resources on other devices. Blackboard tests are best used as open note/open book tests or as practice tests for students to review course materials.
Regardless of your question design, the following practices can help reduce cheating on tests:
- Use a timer, which limits the number of times students have access to the materials. Students with academic accommodations can be given additional time.
- Use question pools so that Blackboard can provide different exams to different students.
- Randomize question order and the order of answers on individual questions.
Using the "Force Completion" option on Blackboard tests is not recommended. With this setting, students that accidentally close their browsers, leave the test page, or lose power or their internet connections won't be able to continue and must contact the instructor to ask for a new attempt. Momentary internet interruptions are especially common over Wi-Fi and home internet connections; a student that experiences any internet connectivity interruption during the test will have trouble with this setting.
Blackboard provides documentation on all of the test settings on their help site. SU users should reference materials for the "Original Course View."
Videos for Getting Started
OLS has created a video for creating and deploying tests in Blackboard at SU.
A Blackboard webinar recording on the Test tool.
The following videos provide more granular instruction:
- Test Creation
- Question Creation
- Question Pools
- Random Question Blocks
- Deploy Tests
- Time Limits
- Uploading Test Questions from Microsoft Excel
Guidance for Students
Instructors may direct students to this Answers Page for advice on how to successfully complete a Blackboard test.