Online Testing: Questions and Answers

Faculty FAQs

What is Respondus?

Respondus is a desktop application that enables instructors to create Blackboard exams from correctly formatted exams created in MS Word, text format or compatible test banks. Respondus also enables instructors to upload exams into Blackboard without having to retype those questions in Blackboard. Then, in Blackboard make the exam secure using the Blackboard Respondus LockDown Browser tool.

How do I make an exam secure using the Respondus LockDown Browser Building Block in Blackboard?

In your Bb course, under the "Control Panel" options select "Course Tools," choose "Respondus LockDown Browser, and click on the "Settings" button. Then, click the radio button in front of "Require Respondus LockDown Browser for this test." Click the "Save and Close" button.

What is the process for informing the Testing Centers that a secure exam is ready to be delivered?
Instructors who want to deliver secure, computer based exams in the ACC Testing Centers should use the downloadable checklist. Then, complete a Testing Center Transmittal form to notify the Testing Centers that the exam is ready to be delivered.
Who can offer a secure computer based exam in the Testing Center?

Currently, secure computer based tests are only available in the ACC Testing Centers.

Courses Approved for Testing Center Use

  • ALL Distance Learning (ONL) courses and Hybrid Distance Learning (HYD)
  • Specifically approved lecture courses
  • ALL Comp I and Comp II Departmental Tests: Comp I and CompII Instructions

Instructors with lecture courses who would like to offer a secure, computer based test in the Testing Centers must first obtain approval from their Dean.

How should I format my exam file?

Respondus has specific file formatting guidelines that need to be followed for non-secure and secure exams to be delivered in the Testing Centers. Prior to uploading a Word or Text file into Respondus, the file needs to formatted correctly. For a reference of specific exam file, download the Respondus Exam Fle Formatting Guidelines (PDF).

Can I use Respondus if I don't use Blackboard?

Respondus was designed to interface directly with course management systems such as WebCT and Blackboard. However, it is possible to use Respondus to create a print exam.

How can I make the Blackboard tests I already have into secure, computer based tests?

Instructors who have already developed tests within Blackboard can make those tests secure by converting the exam settings within Blackboard via the Respondus LockDown Browser building block in the control panel.

What information should I provide to my students about secure computer based testing?

Refer students to the process on how to take a secure computer based test. You may also want to refer them to the Testing Center website so they can familiarize themselves with Testing Center administration information.

Which Testing Centers offer secure computer based testing?
Most of the ACC Testing Centers offer secure online testing. Contact the Testing Center at your campus or center for more information.
Can I change an exam name or delete exam passwords within Blackboard?

No. If you change either the name of the exam or the system generated password within Blackboard, the exam will no longer be secure.

Can I add audio or media to an exam?

Audio can be embedded into secure computer based tests. Audio and other media files are added within Respondus and then published to Blackboard.

You can also add audio and other media to an existing Blackboard exam by downloading or retrieving it from Blackboard to Respondus, adding the media and then publishing it to Blackboard.

Should I issue an instructor generated password for a secure, computer based exam?

Generally, it is strongly suggested to NOT issue an instructor generated password unless there is a compelling reason to the contrary. An instructor generated password could potentially lead to issues during the exam's administration and delivery because the password needs to be communicated to the TECE staff and the TECE staff needs to supply/type it in during each student's exam log in process. It is usually not needed and increases the likelihood that an issue will occur during the delivery of an exam.

How do my students take computer based tests in the Testing Centers?

The administrative process for taking a secure computer based test in the Testing Center is the same as for a paper-based test. The student will need the appropriate identification. In addition, the student may need additional documentation such as a permission slip, etc. With a computer based test, your students will take their exams at one of the Testing Centers. The more information you can give students before they go to the Testing Centers, the better.

My student was locked out of an exam. How can I retrieve the results?

Click on the "Lock" icon within the Bb gradebook, select "View" to view the results. If there are results it means that a partial answer was either submitted or saved at a certain point in the exam. If it is blank or there is no student responses, it means that Blackboard timed out before they could save and anything that was typed on the screen was lost. Remind students that they need to save their work approximately every 10-15 minutes. It is also recommended to remind students to organize their typed response as much in advance as possible before logging into Bb.

I keep getting an error message when I try to upload a file to Blackboard.

There could be several reasons for the error message. The first thing to do is to check that you have the most recent version (personality) for Bb selected on the Respondus main page. If you have the correct version already selected, the next thing is to make sure that your exam file name is unique and that you have not named an assignment, discussion topic, etc with the same name (i.e. Exam 1, etc.). Also, you will want to check the Blackboard profile you created to connect Respondus with Blackboard

How can I use Respondus to create a printed test?

Create and save your exam in Respondus. Then, click on the "Preview & Publish" tab and choose the "Print Options".

Students FAQs

How do I take a secure computer based test in the Testing Center?
Familiarize yourself with the process for taking a computer based test. It is strongly recommended that you print the guidelines and familiarize yourself with the process before you go to the Testing Center.

What do I need to bring to the Testing Center?
You will need a valid form of identification. In addition, your instructor may require a permission slip for you to access the exam. Check with your instructor to verify not only what you will need for the exam but also the dates the exam will be available.
When the "Has your instructor issued a password for this exam" question displays prior to taking a secure computer based test what should I select "No" or "Yes"?

Unless your instructor has told you otherwise, select NO in this Password dialog box and then simply click Submit to enter test. If you choose Yes and your instructor has not provided you with a password, you will end up in an endless loop and will have to reboot the computer.

How do I log in to the test in the Testing Center?

Select the Respondus LockDown Browser icon on the top-left desktop. Login with your ACCeID username and password.

Where are the Testing Centers and what are their hours?
Go to Instructional Testing for information.
How do I report a problem or issue with my test?

First, notify a Testing Center staff member of the problem or issue. They may be able to troubleshoot the problem. If they cannot resolve the issue, they will contact the instructor. In addition, it is recommended that you contact your instructor also to notify him or her of the problem.

Is computer based testing available at all the Testing Centers?
No. Please cotact Instructional Testing to confirm availability.
How many computers are available?

The number of computers varies from location to location. However, there are a limited number of computers available at each of the Testing Centers. It is strongly recommended to not wait until the last minute to take your test. If you do, you run the risk of a computer not being available when you want to take your test.

Can I access my exams from home?

No. You can only access your secure exams from an ACC Testing Center. You instructor may have exams in your course which are not secure. The non-secure exams may be accessed outside the Testing Center.

Can I use the internet when taking a secure test?

No. Exams are accessed using a special secure browser interface. This secure browser interface blocks access to the desktop and to external web sites.

Do I get to view my test results right away?

This depends on what your instructor has established for the exam. Blackboard exam results are sent to the instructor's grade book. Therefore you will need to check with your instructor about your grades. Testing Center personnel do NOT have your exam results. Essay exam and short-answer questions results are not available until the instructor has manually graded the responses.

How often should I save my work when taking a test?

You need to be sure to save your work approximately every 10-15 minutes. This will prevent Bb from timing out. If you are composing an essay question, it is recommended to compose as much as you can on paper (outline, structure, etc.) before logging into Bb to begin typing.

If you do not interact with Blackboard for an extended period of time, it will time out and lock you out of your test.

Need support?

Contact the Instructional Design Specialist at your campus. Contact ACC Technical Support at 223-4357, or email Respondus Support.

For Blackboard Support Issues, contact an Instructional Design Specialist, call the ACC Technical Support at 223-4357, or email blackboard@austincc.edu.

For Student Support, contact your instructor or notify the Testing Center staff member of the problem or issue.