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Guidelines for using Blackboard Tests for Summative Exams on-campus

This page provides guidance for staff using Blackboard Tests for summative exams in a computer lab. Following these steps will ensure that potential problems can be mitigated.

Before the summative exam

There are four important preparatory steps to complete ahead of the exam. Getting the preparation right can help
to mitigate potential problems during the exam.


  • Log a support ticket with ICT to make ICT aware when and where the summative exam is happening.
  • Ask ICT to check the IT equipment in the lab one day prior to the exam. This is to ensure that all IT equipment
  • is in working order and that equipment is not missing.

STEP TWO: Contact Room Bookings

  • Make sure the IT lab is booked for 30 mins longer than the scheduled assessment time. This is to allow
    additional time for students to complete the assessment in the event of a technical interruption.
  • Ensure that the room has 10% more computers available on stand-by than the cohort number so that there
    are spare compute

STEP THREE: Configure the Blackboard Test Settings

  • Set the time on the Due Date on the Blackboard Test to be 30 minutes after the actual Due Date time. This
    to allow a 30 minute window to absorb any potential interruptions.
  • Force Complete should not be ticked and Allow Multiple Attempts should be set to two. These settings will
    allow all students one opportunity to pick up where they left off in the event of a technical issue.
  • Auto-Submit must be set to On in order for all student submissions to go to Grade Centre.
  • Apply a Password to the Blackboard Test.
    • If there are multiple sessions, each session will need a separate password. Keep a log of these
      passwords on an Excel document and share with staff who will be invigilating the assessment.
    • If there are multiple sessions, change the password immediately following the end of each exam
    • You may also want to print the passwords on A3 paper in size 72 and place in a prominent part of the room.
    • Depending on the room, several copies of the A3 paper with the password may be needed. If doing this, be aware that publishing prominently could allow observers outside the room to see the password. Therefore, the paper(s) with the password should be placed in locations not easily seen from outside the room

STEP FOUR: Communicate the code of conduct to students

Make students aware of the Code of Conduct for Candidates in Examinations. The code of conduct can be
found in the University General Regulations. The latest version of the regulations can be found on the Secretariat website.

During the exam

The two main types of potential technical failures that may occur during are.

  • Hardware issues such as a computer not turning on, a computer not connecting to the network, a mouse or keyboard missing.
    • Corrective action: Move the student to a spare computer. When booking the IT Lab, ensure that the number of computers in the room exceed the number of students by 10%. This way, if there is an issue, the student can continue where they left off.
  • Network or Blackboard going down
    • Corrective action: As per the above guidance, if two Attempts have been set and Force Completion is off, students will have one opportunity to continue from where they left off once the network/Blackboard returns.
    • N.B If staff choose to use Force Completion and Allow Single Attempt this makes the process of applying mitigating actions difficult and the test may need to be run again.

After the exam

  • If there are multiple sessions, change the password immediately following the end of each exam session.
  • Make a note of when the exam formally finished.
  • Check the submission times in Grade Centre to ensure that no attempts were made post-exam finishing and before the additional 30 minutes were up, in the event that a student re-accessed the exam within that narrow window and used an additional attempt.

Support and Regulations

  • For additional support and guidance, please contact your College Digital Education Developer.
  • Please also see the section in the University General Regulations on Code of Conduct for Candidates in Examinations. The latest version of the regulations can be found here: