Online Testing Tips

The tips and guidelines below provide users with best practices and suggestions to have when using Blackboard and Respondus. By following them, users encounter fewer problems.

Tips for Faculty

  • If there is a planned testing schedule made for your department (with dates, times, and locations), please forward it to the UTHSC Blackboard Team. This is very helpful when it comes to using Respondus LockDown Browser. We will try to have someone on standby, should an emergency happen. For high-stakes tests, we especially want to be ready.
  • Let students know all of the directions for the test (timed, number of attempts, requires LockDown Browser, requires password). Give clear, specific directions and instructions. This can be done in the Description filed under Test Information when you edit the Test Options.
  • Take a trial run of the test. Take the test where the students will, if you have reserved lab space. If the test requires Respondus LockDown Browser, take the test using it to see if you have any problems.
  • Encourage the students to use the UTHSC Blackboard Team’s preferred browser for testing: Firefox.
  • Require the students to use a hardwired connection when testing. No one should test using a wireless connection. Be especially mindful of this when having a large number of students test in the same room (e.g., GEB A302).
  • Because of the limited availability of the larger lecture halls’ wireless access points, ask that students either disable the Wi-Fi or turn off their portable/handheld devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.).
  • Please make sure students are connected to UTHSC Student wireless network when using their laptops. Students should use Mobile only as a last resort.
  • Encourage students to bring short Ethernet cords and plug into the ports at their seats if their laptops have spotty Wi-Fi. Be aware that an Ethernet cord gives the most reliable connection.
  • DO NOT USE RESPONDUS LOCKDOWN BROWSER WITH ANY DISTANCE EDUCATION OR OFF-CAMPUS STUDENTS. Doing so limits the browser’s effectiveness. Because students may still have access to other devices (cell phones, tablets, laptops, etc.), the testing environment is not as secure.
  • Respondus LockDown Browser should be used in a controlled, secure testing environment (e.g., a reserved computer lab where all the students take the exam at the same time.) See number 9 above.
  • While it is possible to print tests in Blackboard, the preferred method is to use Respondus 4.0 Campus-Wide.
  • If you need assistance with or have questions about Blackboard or Respondus, set up a session with Blackboard administrator Marc Farmer (901.448.1927 or well in advance.

Tips for Students

Contact your instructor ahead of time if you have any questions about the exam format and review the following tips to reduce the chance of problems:

Before Starting an Online Quiz/Exam

  • Make sure you have a hardwire connection. Using wireless when testing leads to problems.
  • Make sure you use Firefox and a Blackboard certified operating system. Check here: OS/Browser matrix.
  • Disable pop-up blockers before the exam.
  • Click the exam link only once and only when you are ready to take the exam.
  • Wait for the entire quiz to load before answering questions.
  • Avoid clicking "Cancel" or "Back" during an exam.

While Taking the Exam

  • Read the heading of the exam page. Make sure you are in the right exam.
  • Check if the exam is timed. The heading of the exam page will indicate the time limit.
  • Use the provided arrow keys and /or the window side scroll bar to navigate the exam.
  • Click the Next button only once if the exam is set to show one question at a time.
  • Review your answers before submitting them. Any unanswered questions will prompt a reminder.
  • Click the Submit button only once when finished.
  • Avoid closing the browser if connection is lost during the exam. Try reestablishing the connection. If the exam is still displayed, complete it and try to submit it. Make your instructor aware of what happened.



Telephone 901-448-1927