Blackboard™ is a course management system used campus-wide at NIU. The system allows faculty to post materials, deliver tests and surveys, hold online discussion and many other course-related functions. All currently-enrolled students and teaching faculty have access to the Blackboard system. We are running Blackboard version 9.1 Service Pack 14, having upgraded the system May 25, 2014. Login to the NIU Blackboard site at: http://webcourses.niu.edu
Due to a recent influx of reported issues encountered while taking Blackboard Tests, we’d like to remind Faculty of the consequences of using Force Completion on Blackboard Tests.
Force Completion, found under Test Options > Test Availability, is typically used to prevent students from navigating away from a Test in order to minimize cheating. When a student navigates away from a Test, and the Force Completion option is turned on, the Test is automatically submitted for them by the system. However, should the student encounter any technical difficulties, such as losing internet connection, they will not be able to complete the test.
Because of this behavior, you may want to limit the use of the Force Completion option to supervised exams, where, if issues occur, an instructor can be available to reset the test.
As an alternative, we recommend using a timer to limit how long students have to complete the test. If a student encounters a technical issue, or closes their browser, the timer will continue to run on the server even though they have left the test. When the Auto-Submit feature is also used, the test will automatically be submitted when the timer expires. This approach will minimize cheating while also allowing those who encounter technical difficulties to log back in and continue the test within the time limit established by the instructor.
Due to an impending lack of browser support, the legacy Blackboard Collaboration Tools "Lecture Hall" and "Office Hours", typically accessed by navigating to course Tools > Collaboration, are scheduled to be discontinued at the end of the 2015 Summer session.
Instructors who wish to continue holding online meetings or office hours should consider using Blackboard Collaborate --a more robust, fully-featured online meeting platform that has already been adopted by hundreds of users at NIU.
With Blackboard Collaborate, instructors can schedule online meetings ahead of time, or they may use persistent "rooms" which are ideal for drop-in situations, such as office hours.
To access Blackboard Collaborate in your course simply navigate to Tools and select Blackboard Collaborate.
To learn more about using Blackboard Collaborate in your Blackboard course, visit the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center's website, or register for one of their upcoming workshops.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the DoIT Helpdesk at 815-753-8100 or email@example.com.