Running a summative assessment piece in the online environment comes with its own risks, especially if your students have the option to complete the test off-campus on their own computer and internet connection that may not be as reliable as the equipment on campus.
There are a number of things you can do to maximise the opportunity for students to successfully complete an online test:
Tell your students what to expect. You can include a both a Description of the test and some online Instructions that will be displayed when student start the test.
Consider using the Assignment tool in LearnJCU for tests that are primarily long essays
Ask students to check that the computer they are working on meets the system requirements by running the Blackboard Browser Capability Checker. Students should use a reliable broadband internet connection. Avoid using wireless connections.
Check that the IT Help Desk will be available to help students during the test. Remember to account for time zone differences for distance learners.
Create a dummy test worth zero points with the same settings as the real test. Allow for unlimited attempts so students can try over and over as many times as needed. Have students take the dummy test on the same computer and browser as they will use taking the real test.
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.
Do not use the randomise question feature if you have more than 50 questions as it can impact system performance.
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, they will not be able to resume work.