So, you want to give an exam in Blackboard


For Blackboard exam success:

  • Tell your students what to expect. We’ve included an example below from Ann Mosher, MPH, FNP-BC, and a Senior Nurse Practitioner at Duke
  • Consider using Blackboard’s Assignment tool for exams that are primarily long essays
  • Ask students to check that the computer they are working on meets the system requirements.  Students should use a reliable broadband internet connection, preferably wired.
  • Check that the OIT Service Desk will be available to help students during the exam. Remember to account for time zone differences for distance learners.
  • Create a dummy exam worth zero points with the same settings as the real exam. Allow for unlimited attempts so students can try over and over as many times as needed. Have students take the dummy exam on the same computer and browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari) as they will use taking the real exam.
  • Encourage students to save their work frequently.
  • Have a backup plan for students who run into unexpected technical difficulties. For example, you could have paper copies, or an electronic version in PDF, or Microsoft Word format available if necessary.
  • The randomize question feature is prone to technical difficulty.  Do not use it if you have more than 50 questions.
  • Avoid using the “Force Completion” option.  “Force Completion” means that students must complete the test the first time it is launched. If “Force Completion” is on and technical difficulties force the student out of the test, he will not be able to resume work.
  • If you use the timer, tell students that if they use Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8), the timer covers the submit button.  Students can either use Firefox or Safari, or using IE 7 compatibility mode (video instructions – in this video, Force Completion is on).

Here are sample instructions to students from Ann Mosher, MPH, FNP-BC, and a Senior Nurse Practitioner at Duke:

You must follow the instructions below!

Before you take the exam, clear out your browser cache & delete temp files. Here’s a link with instructions:

Then shutdown and restart your computer.

Find out which internet browser you’re using.  If you’re using Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), you must set it to run in IE 7 compatibility mode BEFORE starting the exam. Here is a link to a short video showing you how to set IE8

There are other alternatives to IE8, such as Firefox and Safari.

Your connection to the internet must be reliable and preferably High Speed / Broadband.

Turn off pop-up blockers for the ‘’ domain or during the test.

You must take the new practice exam before taking the exam.  Use the same computer for both practice and real exams to ensure no problems occur.

The exam:

There are 60 questions, almost all multiple-choice.

The questions are randomly arranged to help you honor the Honor Code.

The exam is open-book but you’ll need to know the material because of the time limit.

Once you log on to the exam, you will have 90 minutes to complete it. If you go over that time, the clock doesn’t stop, and points will be deducted.   No excuses will be accepted.

You’ll have access to all the questions so that you can move back and forth among questions if necessary.

SAVE your answer to each question. This helps to keep your internet connection active, and saves answers in case of a computer crash.

Click “Submit” at the bottom of the test when you’ve completed it. A warning may appear that questions may be incomplete – check to see if you have answered them. If you see your answers, you do not need to go back and save individual questions/answers.  When you click submit, your answers will be saved.

If you have problems during the exam, you must contact the OIT service team at 919-684-2200 or fill out the help request form in the top right of the ‘My Blackboard Tab’.”

1 thought on “So, you want to give an exam in Blackboard

  1. Neal Caidin

    With our latest update to Blackboard, IE 8 no longer covers the submit button when taking a timed exam.

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