A student in my class just encountered a problem on a timed test. The timer ran out on her last question, and the quiz went back to the previous question. She lost her answer on the last question and had to retype it. Fortunately, she was able to continue to work in the test and save her last answer. Here is her description:
When I reached the last discussion questions, the timer ended. I had my discussion typed out, but when the timer ended, it went back to the previous question and erased my last discussion
She reported that she was using Firefox, though she hasn't told me what version or OS she uses.
Is this a known issue or is it possible that a new version of Firefox has this issue with BB 9.1? I have used this test previously and haven't encountered the problem before. The student reported that she hasn't had a problem like this before either. Possibly it is a fluke, but I'd like to know for sure.
Kendall - what service pack of Bb9.1 are you using? If just the timer is used, I've not seen anything happen with the timer when it expires, the test just keeps ticking. I would be inclined to chalk it up to fluke unless you see it again.
Our support person reports that we're using Service Pack 1. He also suggested that this might be what happened to the student:
When a person is taking a timed test, the test doesn't stop them when they are finished. The test simply marks which questions were answered after the time expired. She may not have saved the answer to the previous question, so when the timer expired, it took her back to last question that was not saved so that it could mark from that point.
I've never heard of BB marking which questions were answered after the time expired, and I can't see any indication of this when I'm grading a test, though it would be very helpful if I could access that information.
To be honest, the test timer isn't terribly useful in Blackboard, but it does show me if a student has gone over the time limit. In WebCT, I was able to see a breakdown of when a student opened every question and when they saved their answers. This was very helpful, especially in monitoring for cheating (WebCT also allowed me to track a student's every move -- giving a record of every time they accessed course materials -- by comparing the two logs, I could tell when students opened course files during a test, something they are not allowed to do.)
At any rate, an indication of what answers were saved after time had elapsed would help the instructor judge how much credit to give on a test.
Kendall - you are correct. Blackboard doesn't record questions that go over the time limit like WebCT did so I don't think that was it. I'm wondering if maybe they accidentally hit the back button which could have taken them to the previous question.
The student reports that the essay question answer box she was working on went blank when the timer expired. She doesn't think she clicked on anything (though I asked if she might have accidentally done so). Then she did click to go back to the previous question in order to see if it was still there. So I wonder what Blackboard does when the time expires (she said she's had to click on the timer notification before to continue a test) and if it's possible BB caused her browser to lose her answer. She is using Windows XP and Firefox 6.0.2.
Going back to the previous question seems to have been user-initiated. Losing the answer she was working on may have been the result of the timer. I encourage students to save their answers more than once as they write on long essay questions (I teach literature and require a couple of long answers on each test).
It could be...also could be them using Firefox 6 with sp1. The new browsers aren't supported until i believe sp6. If she is using Firefox with sp1, best version is 3.6.
Thank you for this information. I will take up the issue with our technical support and see if I can find out why we're still using SP1 if it doesn't support newer browsers. We really can't ask students not to update their software! And it's hard to use an old browser and a new browser at the same time.
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