Creating, Securing, and Scoring Blackboard Exams
Building questions directly in Blackboard offers formats such as:
- file-response questions for students to upload a file
- hot-spot questions for students to click on a specific area in an image as their answer
- jumbled-sentence type questions with drop-down menus of answer choices
Blackboard also offers advanced question “sets” which can be focused on a case study, scenario, image, or audio or video file. These sets can contain up to 10 related questions, and are useful in building pools of questions to be randomly selected for different students.
In addition to creating tests, Blackboard also has the option for creating pools. Instructors can use pools to create a bank of questions they can reuse in multiple tests. When building a test from a pool, instructors can select specific questions or categories to pull from. In her book Conquering the Content Robin M. Smith (2014), recommends having question alternatives for every competency being tested. “You can create question sets for each competency such that there are multiple question alternatives for each; thus you can give each person a different combination of questions for the test” (p. 85). One of the main benefits of pools and randomizing questions is that they can assist in preventing cheating as no two students have identical exams.
Setting Test Options
A variety of test option allow you to customize the testing experience for your students to meet your learning goals. Information on the various settings can be found on Blackboard’s Help Page.
Respondus Exam Authoring Tool (Faculty)
Respondus Exam Authoring Tool is used for creating and publishing exams directly to Blackboard. Exams are created offline in Microsoft Word or a rich text format. The software provides many time-saving tools such as equation editors, web links, and multimedia functions. Compatible with Windows only.
Blackboard also has a built in option to write questions offline in a text file and upload it into tests, surveys, and question pools. Compatible with Windows and Mac.
After you upload the file, you can edit and use the questions exactly like the questions
that you create inside your course.
NOTE: Respondus Exam Authoring Tool is not required for Respondus LockDown Browser use.
Exam Security Tools
In addition to Blackboard exam settings, such as randomized questions, question pools, and time limits, there are several other options for increasing exam security. See the options below to determine which option best meets your needs. Given the various testing options available, it is critical that instructors communicate the method being used and any instructions to students well in advance of the first exam. This information should be included in the course syllabus and Blackboard site, so that students are aware of what to expect during exams.
Proctored tests offer both a secure testing environment and flexibility in scheduling. There are some different options available for various levels of proctoring.
- ProctorU is available to for on-campus and online courses and there is no additional cost to students. There are two options for ProctorU service levels - Auto with Review (or Review+) and Live+
- Auto with Review (or Review+) is the recommended option for most exams.
- With this option, students do not need to schedule an appointment. At the time of the exam, the student will access the exam from the Blackboard course to connect to ProctorU. The student's audio/video and computer screen will be recorded throughout the duration of the exam. The session recording is then reviewed by a proctor from ProctorU. Any potential exam integrity incidents are documented and reported to the instructor.
- View a recording of the ProctorU Auto with Review Training Session
- Live+ is available for higher stakes exams and requires prior approval from the department
Chair and Dean for use in on-campus courses.
- With this option, students connect to a live ProctorU proctor who monitors the student's audio/video and computer screen throughout the exam. Any potential integrity incidents are documented and reported to the instructor.
- Students must schedule an appointment prior to the exam date. ProctorU advises faculty add exams to the system as far in advance as possible to allow students to schedule their appointments before slots are full.
UND Proctor Portal for In-Person Proctors/Testing Centers
- In-Person Proctors or Testing Centers may be used to allow students to designate a physical proctor or testing site. This option should be reserved for higher stakes exams and may be used to give students additional proctoring options. The UND Proctoring Portal is used by students to designate proctors and by faculty to distribute exam information to accepted proctors. Before allowing this option, please consider the increased COVID-19 transmission risks for your students and check with your College office as some colleges will be using an approval process for this option.
Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard. When students use Respondus LockDown Browser they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. When an assessment is started, students are locked into it until they submit for grading. Compatible with Mac and Windows.
Instructors can use the following links to learn more about Respondus LockDown Browser and how they can start using this software now:
- Watch a Demo of the Product
- Download LockDown Browser Instructor Quick Start Guide
- Respondus Lockdown Browser download
- Respondus Lockdown Browser resources
- Respondus LockDown Browser webinars
NOTE: Respondus LockDown Browser does not require use of Respondus Exam Authoring Tool.
Students can use the following link to learn to use this user-friendly software:
YuJa Exam Proctoring allows the student to record video/audio and their computer screen while completing an exam. The recording is securely allocated to a centralized instructor folder which will avoid distribution of the exam recording by the student.
- Instructions for Enabling YuJa Proctoring - For instructors
- Instructions for YuJa Proctoring - For students
YuJa Proctoring with Respondus LockDown Browser
Respondus LockDown Browser can be used in addition to YuJa Proctoring for an extra layer of exam security.
Respondus LockDown Browser is a secure custom web browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard; test-takers are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. Instructors may opt to add exceptions (e.g., allow printing or access to a certain web page). When an assessment is started, students are locked into it until they submit for grading. It's compatible with Mac and Windows.
- Instructions for using Respondus LockDown Browser with YuJa Proctoring - For instructors and students
Student Exam Security Information
Student Steps for Online Exam Proctoring - This web page includes information on the proctoring process for students enrolled in semester-based online courses. You may share this link with your students to help them get started with ProctorU.
Additional resources for setting up proctored exams in Blackboard can be found in the UND Faculty Resource Course in Blackboard under Blackboard > Assessing Student Learning > Blackboard Tests, Surveys & Pools.
Licensed for Arts & Sciences Use Only
GradeHub is a cloud-based Blackboard add-on which works similar to Scantron that can check and grade multiple choice questions. Additionally, GradeHub offers mass grading and report generation for its grading system.
With GradeHub, you can grade answer sheets all within Blackboard, and you can use any scanner too.
NEW: GradeHub Online Answer Sheets
GradeHub has released version 4.0. With this version, you can easily convert a multiple-choice exam, graded with answer sheets, from paper to a fully online assessment in Blackboard – literally in seconds. The GradeHub online exams have the same statistical reports and will assist in UND’s guidelines of not distributing paper copies of class materials. For more information on using the online answer sheets, see the GradeHub help articles.
Getting Started with Grade Hub:
- You will need to enable the GradeHub tool in your Blackboard course prior to using. Please watch this video for instructions.
- Once GradeHub is enabled in your course this video will guide you through the process of creating a GradeHub test and answer key watch this video
- GradeHub Instructor Training
- Instructor Tips for Using GradeHub for Blackboard
Please make note of the following:
- The key thing (no pun intended) is to scan answer sheets to GradeHub's specifications:
- Black & White (not Greyscale)
- 200 dpi
- Multipage PDF
- US letter format
- It is recommended that you do a quick visual inspection of the PDF before upload. Take a quick 10 second scroll to make sure there aren't misfeeds or huge streaks across a page. Once you get "dialed-in" to these quick steps, it is easy.
Please visit the GradeHub website for updates on fixes, improvements and new features.