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Tips for Taking Tests in Blackboard

Before Taking a Test

  • Install a preferred web browser. Learning Ventures highly recommends the use of Google Chrome (Download Chrome) when taking online tests in Blackboard. We highly recommend AGAINST using Internet Explorer as your web browser when working in Blackboard. If your instructor requires that you use Respondus Lockdown Browser, please make sure to read the section Note Regarding Respondus Lockdown Browser below.
  • It is also advisable that students clear their cache prior to testing. (Click here for instructions)
  • Please use a wired Ethernet connection when taking tests, if possible.  Avoid public WiFi connections that may not be available for extended times.
  • Blackboard maintenance is performed each morning from 4:00 am to 5:00 am. During this time, Blackboard will be unavailable. Please plan your Blackboard activities accordingly and avoid starting exams close to this time period.

Notes about test settings:

There are various settings in Blackboard that may be applied to the test you are taking.  You will see a list of the settings that are applied to a specific test once you click on the link to the test.  Below are in-depth descriptions of what those settings mean for you:

  • Force Completion: When force completion is enabled, you will not be able to exit and return to your test. If you encounter problems or you get kicked off, your instructor will need to clear your test attempt-in this case you will need to retake the entire test. If force completion is not enabled, you can exit and reenter the test if you encounter technical problems.
  • Timer: The Blackboard timer will run continuously from the time you start the test, and will run until the time you click Submit. The timer will run even if you exit the test or log out of Blackboard.  Therefore, if you leave the test for five minutes, those five minutes would be removed from the timer.  It is not possible to “pause” a blackboard test, so you should plan to take the test in one sitting.
  • Auto Submit: After time expires, the test will automatically submit regardless of whether you are on the test page or not.
  • Prohibit Backtracking: You will not be able to review or make changes once you move to the next question. Be sure you have chosen your answer prior to advancing. Do not double click on the next question button, as this may cause you to skip questions.

During the test:

  • Do NOT try to navigate away from the test area of Blackboard or close the test window.
  • Do NOT click any button on the Browser navigation menu (such as back, next, refresh etc.).
  • Do NOT click the “Save answer” button for each question; you only need to click the “Save and Submit” button when you finish the test.  Your responses will save automatically.
  • Do NOT “double click” on anything in the exam.
  • Click outside of the answer selection radio buttons before scrolling with the mouse wheel or arrow buttons. Otherwise, this will change the selected answer.
  • It will take 5-30 seconds for the system to update the “Save answer” button into “Saved” after selecting an answer. Do NOT panic.

If problems occur…

  • Don’t touch your keyboard or click on anything, wait for a few minutes to see if the problem resolves by itself.
  • If your test freezes, or you seem to no longer be able to advance or select answers, you will need to clear your cache and browsing history.
  • Call Learning Ventures Help Desk at 419-530-8835 or 1-866-886-5336 and let us know the problem you encountered. Be prepared to let us know both the operating system (Windows or Mac OS) and the browser (Firefox, IE, Safari, Chrome) you were using at the time the problem occurred. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be for us to help troubleshoot the problem.
  • Contact your instructor about the problem you encountered.
  • Capture a screenshot (if possible) and send it to utdl@utoledo.edu if you encounter a problem after our support hours. Make sure you include the course number and section number, name of the test, the platform you use (Mac or Windows), and the time you experienced the problem in the message.

Taking an Online Test

  1. Close all programs (browsers, Word etc.).
  2. Launch Firefox or Chrome and log onto your Blackboard course site.
  3. Access the test page.
  4. Click the test you want to take. Single click on the link only. Double clicking the link will open the link twice, which may cause the system to act like you have already taken the test.
  5. Read the instructions carefully.
  6. Click the Begin button.
  7. Select a correct answer (single click) or enter your answer for short answer and essay questions. You do NOT need to click “Save answer” for each question.
  8. Use the scroll bars on the right side of the window to scroll, and click outside where the answer choices are prior to scrolling to the next question. Scrolling using the mouse wheel or the arrow keys may change your answer selections.
  9. Use the navigation buttons within the test window to navigate between questions.  Do not click the Black, Forward, or Refresh/Reload buttons in your browser toolbar.
  10. Please verify that you have answered all questions prior to submitting your test.
  11. Click the Save and Submit button at the bottom of the page when finished.

Note Regarding Respondus Lockdown Browser

Some instructors may require students to take tests using Respondus Lockdown Browser, which is a special browser intended only for taking tests.  In order to take tests that require Respondus Lockdown Browser, students must first download the program and install it on their computers.  Then students will need to launch Lockdown Browser in order to take exams that require it.  Exams that require Lockdown Browser cannot be launched in a regular browser. The Lockdown browser can be downloaded from our downloads and plugins page.  Respondus Lockdown Browser is based off Internet Explorer, so some settings may need to be changed in Internet Explorer in order to ensure optimal performance when taking tests.

Instructions for taking exams in Lockdown Browser:

  1. Click on the LockDown Browser icon on your computer’s desktop or locate within your computer’s program list.
  2. The Choose a Server window will pop open, prompting you to choose an eLearning system. Select Blackboard from the drop?down menu and then click OK.
  3. If prompted to close a blocked program (Instant Messenger, Skype, etc.), choose Yes or Kill These Applications.
  4. The Blackboard login screen will appear. Login to your course.
  5. Enter your course, click on the name of the test and click the Begin button.
  6. A new window will pop open asking whether the instructor has required a password for the test. If the instructor has provided a password, select Yes and enter the password and then click Continue to begin the exam.
  7. If the instructor did not provide a password, select No and click Continue. Respondus LockDown Browser will automatically fill in a special password on the next screen. This password should not be modified.
  8. Submit your answers and then click the Submit button when finished to complete your test.

Tips for using Lockdown Browser:

  • Use the Lockdown Browser for all exams that require the browser
  • Download the Lockdown Browser directly from UT.  Do not search the internet to find a download link for the browser, as each institution’s version of the browser is unique to that institution, and you will be taken to that institution’s login page, and not to the login page for UT.
  • On Windows, be sure to have the latest updates or Internet Explorer installed, even if you do not use Internet Explorer
  • Please set Internet Explorer (for Windows users) to the Medium security setting under Safety>Internet Options
  • Add “lockdown.exe” (Windows) or “LockDown Browser.app” (Macintosh) as a “trusted application” and https://blackboard.utdl.edu address as a “trusted site” in any security software.
  • Turn off any “private browsing” features in Internet Explorer.

Issue with Course Copy following Blackboard Update

During our upgrade planning for Blackboard, we identified an issue with the latest service pack that causes the course copy function to fail.  Blackboard released a workaround for this issue which proved to be successful during our testing.  However, after the production upgrade was complete, we started to receive feedback from instructors regarding miscellaneous new issues they were experiencing.  After further investigation, we determined that the workaround provided to us was causing the random issues.  It was decided that we should disable the workaround and provide alternatives to course copy to our faculty.  Blackboard has stated that an official patch will be available for this issue within the next few days.

As an alternative for using the Course Copy function, instructors can create an archive package of their course, and then import the archive package into the course site for Fall. Please see the links below for detailed instructions:

Creating an archive package of a previous semester’s course

Downloading the archive package to your computer

Importing the archive package to your Fall Semester course

Additionally, instructors have reported that the course calendar module has disappeared from the course home page.  Instructors can manage the course calendar under Control Panel>Course Tools>Course Calendar, and the calendar can also be viewed from the notifications panel in the upper right corner of the screen.  To access the notifications panel, click on your name that appears in the upper right corner.

Learning Ventures apologizes for the inconvenience this may have caused, and we are currently working with Blackboard to resolve this issue.  If you have any questions about archiving or importing your course, or would like assistance from our staff with this process, please contact us at utlv@utoledo.edu or at 419-530-8835.


Word Wrap Issue in Blackboard Tests

Users have reported that the question text in Blackboard tests does not wrap over to the next line when the test is taken in Internet Explorer.  However, this issue only affects Internet Explorer.  In addition, as the Respondus Lockdown Browser is based off Internet Explorer, this issue will also occur in tests that require the lockdown browser.  It is suggested that instructors remove the requirement to use the lockdown browser for any test in which it is enabled, and encourage students to take tests using a web browser other than Internet Explorer, such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.  If instructors and students do not have another browser installed on their machine, it is recommended to go to http://www.utoledo.edu/dl/main/downloads.html to download an alternative browser to use.

If you have any questions about this issue, please contact us at utlv@utoledo.edu or at 419-530-8835.  This issue has been reported to Blackboard and we are awaiting a fix for the issue.

Update: As of 5/21/2013, this issue has been resolved.

Copying and Pasting Text in Blackboard

Instructors and students are receiving the following message when attempting to copy or paste text within the Blackboard text editor:  “Your web browser currently does nto support this behavior. Use the following keyboard shortcuts instead. Cut: Control + X (Command + X) Copy: Control + C (Command + C) Paste: Control + V (Command + V).  This message appears if users copy and paste text into the text editor by using the buttons in the text editor toolbar or by using the right click menu to copy and paste text.  A workaround for this issue would be to use the keyboard shortcuts that are described in the error message above. (Mac users can use the commands within the parentheses).

If any user has any questions about this, please contact us at 419-530-8835 or at utlv@utoledo.edu

Enabling Public View/Guest Access for Course Files

If instructors have deleted the “public area” link in their course, or wish to make other links available, instructors can follow the instructions below to make a content area in Blackboard available to course guests and the general public.

Enabling Guest Access on a Content Area

These instructions will demonstrate how to make a content area in Blackboard available to course guests and the general public.

To enable guest access, log into your blackboard course, and locate the content area in the course menu you wish to make available to the public. Click the chevron next to the link and choose Permit Guests. All content posted on the link is now publicly available.

Step 1 Image

Enabling Guest Access for the Course, Part 1

If you do not have the option to permit guests as shown in the step above, you will need to allow guest access to the course. To allow guest access, go to the control panel, and click on Customization. Select Guest and Observer Access.

Step 2 Image

Enabling Guest Access for the Course, Part 2

  1. Locate the item labeled Allow Guests and select Yes.
  2. When you are finished, press Submit.

Step 3 Image

You will now be able to specify which content areas you wish to make available to guests.



Respondus License Update

Our licenses for Respondus and Studymate are purchased on a yearly basis.  Our previous license expired on July 31, 2012.  When users sign into Respondus, they will receive a message informing that their Respondus license has expired.  To continue using Respondus, users will need to update their license code.  The license code can be accessed by logging into Blackboard, and clicking on Faculty Resource Center in the course list. Once in the Faculty Resource Center, click on Software in the left course menu, and click on the folder labeled Respondus.  The new license code is contained in the document labeled Respondus 4 2012 – 2013 License Documentation.  Copy and paste the license key into the provided space on the license dialog box when you first open Respondus.

Our current license is paid through July 31, 2013. Please do not distribute this license key.

Please contact us at utlv@utoledo.edu if you need any assistance with accessing the documentation for Respondus, installing Respondus on your computer, or using Respondus to generate tests or surveys.


Cookie settings for SafeAssign/Direct Submit

To use SafeAssign, your browser must be configured to accept third-party cookies.

If you receive a popup error after attaching the file or if you are notified of a red “Instance Not Found” error, you will need to configure your web browser to enable third-party cookies. If you have any further difficulties after doing so, please let Learning Ventures know. Thanks

Please follow the browser-specific instructions below to enable third-party cookies:

Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE)

To enable cookies in IE 8:

  1. Click Start > Control Panel. (Note: with Windows XP Classic View, click the Windows Start button > Settings > Control Panel).
  2. Double-click the Internet Options icon.
  3. Click the Privacy tab.
  4. Click the Advanced button.
  5. Select the option ‘Override automatic cookie handling’ under the Cookies section in the Advanced Privacy Settings window.
  6. Select the ‘Accept’ or ‘Prompt’ option under ‘First-party Cookies.’
  7. Select the ‘Accept’ or ‘Prompt’ option under ‘Third-party Cookies.’ (Note: if you select the ‘Prompt’ option, you’ll be prompted to click OK every time a website attempts to send you a cookie.)
  8. In the Internet Options window, click OK to exit.

Mozilla Firefox

To enable cookies in Mozilla Firefox (9, Windows):

  1. Click Tools > Options.
  2. Click Privacy in the top panel.
  3. Set ‘Firefox will:’ to ‘Use custom settings for history’
  4. Select the option ‘Accept cookies from sites’ and ‘Accept third-party cookies’.
  5. Click OK.

To enable cookies in Mozilla Firefox (Macintosh):

  1. Go to the Firefox drop-down menu.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. Click Privacy.
  4. Under Cookies, select the option ‘Accept cookies from sites’ and ‘Accept third-party cookies’.

Safari (5.1 for Macintosh

  1. Go to the Safari drop-down menu.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. Click Privacy in the top panel.
  4. Under ‘Block Cookies’ select the option ‘Never.’

Grade Average Calculations

Several instructors have just brought to our attention the fact that when they calculate students’ grade averages using both a “Total Column” and and “Average Column” (when both are set to display a percentage), the results are numerically different.

As an example, let’s say that you have two quizzes worth a maximum of 10 points each and two tests worth 100 points each. Let’s also assume that a particular student’s scores on these 4 items were 9, 8, 80, 70.

There are two ways to calculate a grade “average” in Blackboard depending on your intention:

(1) If you use a “Total Column” and set the Primary Display to Percentage–this will take the sum of the the total points earned and divide it by the sum of the total points possible.

The result for our example above would be (9 + 8 + 80 + 70)/(10 + 10 + 100 + 100) =  167/220 = 0.7591 = 75.91%

(2) If you use an “Average Column” with the Primary Display set to Percentage–this will take the total number of percentage points for each column, add them up and then divide by the total number of columns.

The result, once again using our original data, would be (90% + 80% + 80% +70%)/4 =  320%/4 = 80%

(In other words, this options treats each assessment as being of equal importance or weight regardless of how many total points the original assessment was worth.)

Whether you choose to use a “Total Column” or an “Average Column” to calculate your students’ “average” grades is strictly up to you as long as you are aware that your results will depend upon which type of column you choose to use.

Another potential source of confusion in using calculated columns (including Total or Average) involves deciding whether or not to check the radio button next to “Calculate as Running Total” during column setup. If the running total option is selected, any assignment or test for which a grade has not been entered will not be used in the calculation. You can, however, avoid this problem by either not checking this option or enter a “0” for any missed assignments or tests to force the system to include this grade in the calculation.

Hopefully, this will clarify how Blackboard calculates a grade “average” depending upon which type of column you choose. If you have any question or need any assistance with this, please contact UTLV@utoledo.edu or call 419-530-8835 for assistance.

Incorrect Course Instructors Listed in Blackboard

When Blackboard courses are created, the instructor listed in the course site is the instructor that is listed as the instructor of record in Banner.  When the instructor of record is changed in Banner after the Blackboard course is created, the new instructor is then given access to the course site, but there is no process to remove the old instructor (and their student account) from the course.  If you are the only instructor listed as the instructor of record, and there is another instructor listed, you can make the other instructor unavailable by following the steps listed below:

To make a user unavailable, go to the control panel and click on Users and Groups. Select Users. Locate the user you want to make unavailable, and click the chevron next to their username. Select Change Availability in Course. Set the availability to No and Click Submit. Please see the video tutorial at the link below for more details.


These steps can also be used to make the other instructor’s student account (the .s account) unavailable in the course site as well.

Learning Ventures and Academic Support are investigating alternate solutions for the future.  If you see a user listed in your course site, and you are not sure of their role, please feel free to contact Learning Ventures for assistance at utlv@utoledo.edu

Internet Explorer 7 users are unable to view grade attempts in Blackboard

Learning Ventures has received a number of reports of instructors using Internet Explorer 7 who are unable to access students’ test and assignment attempts in the Grade Center. When instructors access the test attempts from the Grade center, the screen refreshes, and Error on Page is displayed in the status bar. This is in part because Blackboard no longer supports Internet Explorer 7 for Service Pack 7, which UT recently installed. Therefore, instructors who are using Internet Explorer 7 may want to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8 or another web browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Instructors can use Blackboard’s Browser Check Utility to check if Blackboard is compatible with their computer setup. If instructors have any questions, please contact Learning Vetures at utlv@utoledo.edu.

Below is a list of supported user technologies for Service Pack 7:

Microsoft® Windows® Operating System

Internet Explorer® 9

Internet Explorer 8

Firefox (Final Release Channel)

Firefox 3.6

Chrome (Stable Channel)

Windows® XP (32-bit)

Unsupported Compatible Compatible Compatible Compatible

Windows Vista® (32-bit)

Certified Compatible Certified Compatible Compatible

Windows Vista (64-bit)

Compatible Compatible Compatible Compatible Compatible

Windows 7 (32-bit)

Certified Compatible Certified Compatible Certified

Windows 7 (64-bit)

Compatible Compatible Compatible Compatible Compatible

Apple® Mac OS® Operating System

Safari® 5.0

Safari 4.0

Firefox (Final Release Channel)

Firefox 3.6

Chrome (Stable Channel)

Mac OSX 10.5 “Leopard®”

Compatible Compatible Compatible Compatible Compatible

Mac OSX 10.6 “Snow Leopard®”

Certified Compatible Certified Compatible Certified
  • Blackboard strives to make all its products as accessible as possible. JAWS for Windows 11 and 12 were used during accessibility testing.
  • Blackboard Learn requires the latest version of Sun JRE 6. The JRE can be downloaded from http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp.
  • The following technologies are not supported:
    • Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7
    • Firefox 1.x, 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5
    • Safari 2.0, 3.x (or any version on Windows)
    • Mac OSX 10.4 “Tiger”
    • Java 5
  • Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9 are tested in Standards Mode. Some known issues can be resolved by using Compatibility Mode (emulates IE7 behavior).
  • Both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have moved to a rapid release cycle. At the time of testing, Chrome 13.0 and Firefox 6.0 were the latest available versions. Since then, new stable versions may have been released and widely adopted. Blackboard is supporting all newer stable versions of Chrome and Firefox.