Mt. Stuart

CWU Online - Blackboard

Online Learning at CWU: Student Tutorials

Student Checklist for Taking Tests in Blackboard Course Sites

The following are recommendations for students taking tests (quizzes, midterms, and finals) in their Bb course site(s).

  1. Preparing to Successfully Take a Test On-line
  2. Test Taking Tips
  3. Submitting the exam
  4. Check or confirm your submission
  5. What happens if confirmation doesn't work
  6. Final thoughts on Blackboard tests

Preparing to Successfully Take an Online Test

Take the Browser Test - The browser test will point out the appropriate setup for your browser. Please read the whole page.

Set ample time aside - Think of an on-line assessment as the same as an in-class assessment where the time is devoted only to completing the test. The fewer distractions that you have the more you will be able to concentrate and the more efficient you will be.


America Online (AOL) America Online is not completely compatible or stable with CWU's Blackboard system. If you are using AOL to access the Internet, once the connection is made, minimize the AOL window and use a different browser (Firefox 3 is recommended for PC users and Safari, or FireFox are recommended for Apple computers).

However, you will find that AOL does not consider using a separate browser "online activity" and may terminate your connection without warning because of a time out. If this occurs your quiz answers will be lost, and you should consider alternative access to the Internet to properly complete your quiz/test. You should occasionally do something on the AOL while taking a test to prevent it from timing out.


Minimize interruptions - Turn off any browser Pop-Up Blockers, Instant Messaging, e-mail notification or other programs that may distract you from the test.


Dial Up - If you use a "dial-up modem" to connect to the Internet, turn off "call waiting." If you receive a phone call and call waiting is on, Blackboard will assume that you have abandoned the quiz and erase any answers you have entered.


Time Considerations - The assessment features in Blackboard are set to time out after three (3) hours of inactivity. Typing or clicking answers aren't recorded as an activity in the interface. Saving the assessment will record an activity and therefore reset the clock, so you should save early and often.


Know your browser and setup - Your browser and your Internet Service Provider (ISP) are your lifelines to Blackboard at CWU. Internet Explorer and Netscape are the recommended browsers for PC users. Safari, Netscape and FireFox are recommended browsers for Apple computers.

When considering a time to take an important on-line test, take into account any slow time, or erratic connectivity issues that are inherent in your ISP. If your ISP is particularly slow at a certain time of the day or night, plan to take the test at some other time.


Use a CWU lab if needed - If you are in an on-campus course, sometimes the most efficient way to take a Blackboard test is to use a CWU computer lab. University computer labs offer Internet access. You may want to plan to take some time to visit one of the labs to take your important online quiz or test.


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Test Taking Tips

The following recommendations are intended to help you to take an exam and minimize the possibility of technical issues that could hinder your success. These are basic test taking tips and suggestions which will allow you to take on-line tests with confidence.

Read the instructions for the test carefully:
While most of us are used to test taking, on-line test instructions are very important as they provide information to insure that the process is trouble free. Terms such as force completion, allow multiple attempts and back tracking are important terms to understand.

Force Completion - means that once you begin taking the test that you are required to work until you finish it. As soon as you leave the test, your attempt is recorded in the grade book as complete.

Allow Multiple Attempts - means that you are permitted to enter and leave the test as much, or as often as you need, When you are finished with the test, you will need to submit it.

All At Once - If the test is in All at Once mode (meaning all of the questions appear on one long web page) the Save button is located at the very bottom of the page. Scroll to Save periodically throughout the test to protect yourself in case of technical difficulties and from losing all of your work.

One at a Time - If the test presentation is One at a Time, be sure to click the forward arrow in the assessment to move on to the next question. This automatically saves each question as you move through the test.


When you click on the Take Quiz
link and answer "OK" to the "Are you sure you want to take this quiz now?" dialog, the expectation is that you will complete the quiz at that sitting.


Be certain that you are ready
to take the quiz/test before clicking on the link to the quiz/test. Have everything that you need and be mentally prepared to start and complete the test once you begin the process.


Most quizzes/tests can only be accessed once
and once you click on the link, you will have accessed the quiz/test. If you leave the quiz without completing it, you will not be able to come back and finish it.


Write essays for an exam in Word
some formatting loss may occur but you will have a backup.


Your attempt at an online quiz may be interrupted - possible situations include:
- Stopping a quiz/test for some reason
- Resizing the browser window or using the browser back button
- Using instant messaging, e-mail notification, call-waiting during the assessment
- Failure of Internet connection/system
- The server's time-out feature
- After three (3) hours of inactivity the test will time out
Save often to safeguard yourself from these problems.


Internet Service Provider (ISP) Loss
If your connection to the Internet is terminated you should keep the assessment browser window open and attempt to re-connect to the Internet immediately. If the browser is kept open and the connection is re-established, you may possibly be able to successfully submit the quiz.


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Submitting the exam - Making sure the process is complete

  1. Be sure to click the "Submit" button at the end of the quiz/test (scroll to the bottom of the page) or you will not get credit for your answers
  2. You should see a confirmation and or feedback for the test.

Final step in process: Check or confirm your submission

If you received confirmation or feedback upon completing the exam, your test has been recorded sucessfully and there should be no problem.


If there seems to be a problem, go back to content area and find the exam.


If the test is a force completion type, you can check for confirmation. If the link is still there, clicking on it should either tell you that you have already taken the exam or it will provide you feedback about your exam results. If you are asked to take the exam again cancel out. Starting the test over again will delete the work you have completed to that point.


If the instructor of the course allows for you to view your grades, you can open the View My Grades or Student Gradebook, and you should see one of the following:

Your score for the exam
An ! which means the test still needs to be graded but is in
A "LOCK" which means trouble.

What happens if confirmation doesn't work - What to do now!

First, e-mail your instructor, ask him or her to check to see if your exam came through and that it is complete. Trying to do something by clicking around the site on your own could make matters worse.


Call or e-mail the Blackboard Administrator, Jane Chinn at 963-1224 to insure that the problem is recorded and is being looked into. Be ready to provide the your name, course number, instructor and a brief description of the problem.

Final thoughts on Blackbaord tests - Making the most of the tool

Save Often. This is the single best piece of advice for success in taking an exam on line.


Always read the instructor's directions carefully.


Try to block off enough time so that you can do the test in one sitting.


Good luck


If you have any questions or comments, please call (509) 963-1224, or email: chinn@cwu.edu.

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Contact Information


Multimedia Technology and Instructional Support
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926
(509)963-1224
email: chinn@cwu.edu
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