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Testing Guide

We update the information on this page as needed. The Testing Guide provides information for testing options during COVID-19. Please also visit the ACC COVID-19 Update page for additional general information.

For any questions about the content on this page, please contact dlstaff@austincc.edu.

Announcements

Some students have reported that when taking a test through the Respondus LockDown Browser (on a desktop/laptop computer), they receive a message about their answers not being saved. If students see this message, that usually indicates that students are not using the most up-to-date version of the Respondus LockDown Browser.

Students should open Respondus LockDown Browser and update to the latest version before taking an assessment. Instructions on how to update LockDown Browser can be found here.

If students need technical support on updating Respondus LockDown Browser, they can contact Student Technology Services.

July 2021: Read the July 15th, 2021 memo from Dr. Cook about online testing and proctoring.

Overview: ACC Testing Comparison Chart

Please review the Guide to Online Tests and Proctoring for ACC Faculty for more details on the testing options listed.

Blackboard Testing Blackboard Testing w/Respondus LockDown Browser Blackboard Testing w/Respondus Monitor Blackboard Testing w/Distance Education Proctoring Faculty-Led Proctoring Blackboard Testing w/ProctorU Alternative Assessments
iPad Compatible Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
Chromebook Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Requires Advanced Scheduling No No No Yes Yes Yes No
Cost Free Free Free Free Free Paid by ACC Free

Guide to Online Tests and Proctoring for ACC Faculty

Austin Community College (ACC) currently recommends the following options for remote online testing:

1. Blackboard testing with no checks (open book tests).

2. Blackboard testing with Respondus LockDown Browser.

3. Blackboard testing with proctoring. Proctoring solutions will be outlined in the order of preference of the College and better student experience below.

4. Alternative assessments.

1) Online Tests can be given in Blackboard without any “checks.”

In effect, they become open-book tests (no proctoring). Faculty may set the test timer to limit the ability of students to look up every answer, and/or deliver questions randomly to students. Online tests in Blackboard are compatible with Windows and Mac desktop computers, laptops, iPads, and Chromebooks. Please email dlstaff@austincc.edu to request assistance on how to randomize test questions.

2) Online Tests can be given in Blackboard with Respondus LockDown Browser. 

Faculty can determine the time and day constraints by which students can take the test and Respondus prevents them from visiting other websites, accessing other browsers/tabs, copying, pasting, taking screen captures, using instant messaging programs, or accessing other applications (unless configured to allow access to specified external sites). No proctoring is required and this may be used as a stand-alone testing tool. Respondus LockDown Browser is compatible with iPads, as well as Windows or Mac desktop computers and laptops, and Chromebooks.

Faculty Instructions for Respondus LockDown Browser:

a. First, enable Respondus LockDown Browser: Enabling Respondus LockDown Browser

b. Next, choose how you want your students to use Respondus:

a. Go to: Test Availability Instructions for Online Exams

b. Select “I want my students to test using Respondus LockDown Browser at home” for detailed instructions.

c. Share information with your students about using Respondus. Go to the Respondus LockDown Browser Download for Students & Information to Add to Your Syllabus page for sample instructions that you can add to your syllabus. The information also includes a link to a quick start guide for students.

d. If you encounter any issues, please email dlstaff@austincc.edu to request assistance.

3a) Online Tests in Blackboard with Respondus Monitor Automated Proctoring.  

Online tests can be given in Blackboard, and faculty can require proctoring. The preferred proctoring option is Respondus Monitor. Respondus Monitor is used with Respondus LockDown Browser to add another level of security to the testing environment. Respondus Monitor records videos of the student using their webcam and microphone. It serves as a deterrent to students using secondary computers, phones, calculators, textbooks, or receiving assistance from other students.

Exams can be taken with Respondus Monitor without advanced scheduling and additional registration, thereby making it a friendly solution for students. It is automated and there is no human interaction at the time of the exam. Only the instructor can review video recordings and the results of the proctoring sessions.

Faculty may submit a request to dlstaff@austincc.edu for ACC Testing Center staff to review the recorded videos on their behalf.

Respondus Monitor is compatible with iPads, as well as Windows or Mac desktop computers, and laptops, and Chromebooks. Please note that, as of August 23, 2021, the Respondus Chromebook app has several features that are not yet fully implemented.

Review these Chromebook-specific features’ caveats below:

        • Quiz passwords (specified via the “optional password” field in the LockDown Browser Dashboard) are not currently supported for exams that use only LockDown Browser. For exams requiring Respondus Monitor, the optional password field is supported.
        • LockDown Browser’s Calculator and Spreadsheet features are not currently supported.
        • The extended keyboard functions (for adding symbols and special characters) are not currently available.
        • LockDown Browser’s “Help Center” is currently unavailable.
        • “Allow access to specific external web domains” option is not currently supported.

If you have a student with a device that is not compatible with Respondus Monitor, then you will need to either select one of the alternate proctoring methods listed on “Test Availability Instructions for Online Exams” or proctor the test yourself. Editing the test is not necessary. It is recommended that you set up access privileges so that only the selected student can access this alternate test version through the test options or adaptive release settings. A full guide on how to clone your test for such a student is available here. If you need further assistance, please contact the Distance Education department (dlstaff@austincc.edu).

Faculty Instructions for Respondus Monitor:

a. First, enable Respondus LockDown Browser: Enabling Respondus LockDown Browser

b. Next, choose how you want your students to use Respondus:

a. Go to: Test Availability Instructions for Online Exams

b. Select “I want my students to test using Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor at home” for detailed instructions.

c. Share information with your students about using Respondus. Go to the Respondus LockDown Browser Download for Students & Information to Add to Your Syllabus page for sample instructions that you can add to your syllabus. The information also includes a link to a quick start guide for students:

d. If you encounter any issues, please email dlstaff@austincc.edu to request assistance.

Student Requirements for Respondus Monitor:

1. Respondus Monitor records students during exams, so students must have a working webcam and microphone.

2. Students can download and install Respondus LockDown Browser from this link or the link provided by the faculty, and follow the onscreen instructions to install the browser.

Students will be required to close all programs and then click the Respondus LockDown Browser shortcut on the desktop to bring up the Blackboard login page. They will navigate to the Blackboard test and select it. Note that once the test has been started, students cannot exit until the “Submit” button is selected.

3. For assistance, students may contact the help desk at 512-223-8026 or email de@austincc.edu.

3b) Faculty Requirements for Distance Education Proctoring (Google Meet):

Effective with the Fall 2021 semester, ACC Testing Centers will no longer offer instructional test proctoring. The department of Distance & Alternative Education will now be providing this service. Distance Education personnel will monitor the student live through Google Meet while the student takes the exam. Distance Education (DE) Proctoring should be the SECOND choice of proctoring and is available only for ONL courses. This option is not available 24/7 and requires advance scheduling for faculty and students.

a. Set up your test in Blackboard and assign a password in the Blackboard test options.

b. Set the Restriction Location in the test settings to “No Restrictions.” Do not activate the Respondus LockDown Browser requirement because it is not compatible with Distance Education Proctoring.

c. In order for DE Proctoring personnel to provide equitable service to students, please set a time limit of no more than two (2) hours per test.

d. Complete the Academic Test Transmittal Form. Once your transmittal form(s) have been received and approved, we will send you (within 48 hrs max) a confirmation email containing the link to the ACC Session Scheduling Form. Please allow up to 48hrs for processing transmittal forms (M-F only).

e. In accordance with ACC Testing Center Guidelines, faculty may request to proctor a maximum of six tests per course section for approved distance education courses – not normally available for regular face-to-face courses.

f. If you only plan to use Distance Education Proctoring for one student (or a limited number of students) you should clone your tests and use the Adaptive Release functionality so only those students can use that test version. Refer to this Teaching & Learning Knowledgebase article for instructions. Distance Education instructional designers are available to help you with creating your exams to be compatible with DE Proctoring. For assistance with DE Proctoring, please contact deproctoring@austincc.edu.

g. Please stress the importance of keeping the appointment once it’s been requested. We regularly get no-shows or cancellations a few minutes before the appointment time. Any time an appointment is canceled without adequate notice, we are not able to schedule another student for it. We have a limited number of appointments we can offer daily and this is one less appointment that could have been given to other students.

            • Exams MUST be in Blackboard PRIOR to submitting the Academic Test Transmittal
              • This ensures appointments are fairly distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
              • This prevents the possibility of exams being unavailable at the time of the appointment (which has happened a few times).
            • Encourage your students to test BEFORE the deadline.
              • There are a significant number of students who are scheduling their exams on the last day.
              • While we have many proctors, we also have many instructors who are using it. There is a possibility that the number of appointment requests for a particular date may outnumber the number of appointments available.
              • This is especially true during finals.
            • Require your students to SUBMIT appointment requests 4-5 days BEFORE the deadline.
              • Due to the volume of exams we are proctoring, we require two days’ notice. This gives us time to rearrange schedules so a proctor is available at the time the student wants to test.
            • Be flexible with your deadline.
              • Many students submit appointment requests on the day the exam is due, not realizing we are unable to do same-day testing (although this information is given to the student in advance). This means they will not be able to obtain an appointment in time to meet the deadline.
            • Give specific instructions regarding allowed materials
              • Ex. You must state the student needs to shred/tear up scratch paper or notes, otherwise, they are allowed to keep them
              • Ex. Calculator allowed = any calculator since it was not specified
              • Ex. Notes allowed = any types of notes, any amount of notes or notebooks (not textbook) allowed, since no other specifics are mentioned

h. If you or your students require assistance from DE Proctoring staff, contact us at deproctoring@austincc.edu.

Student Requirements for Distance Education Proctoring (Google Meet):
Your professor will provide you with the link to the ACC Session Scheduling Form. Once you have that information, you will be able to request an appointment.

Please note the following:

            • You must use your ACC email address to access the form.
            • A 2-day notice is needed to organize the test session
            • You will receive an invitation to a Google Event with “Invitation: DE Proctoring Appointment” in the subject line.
            • The Google event will automatically be added to your ACC Google calendar. Be sure to RSVP “Yes” to verify your intent to test and use the link there to join the Meet at the time of your appointment.

If you have questions regarding the exam itself, please contact your instructor.

3c) Online Tests in Blackboard with 3rd Party Proctoring – ProctorU. 

ProctorU is a third-party proctoring service that utilizes live proctors to monitor students online remotely. Students use the ProctorU website to schedule a day and time for their testing sessions. During the session, the proctor connects with the student via webcam, confirms the student’s identity, and monitors the student’s behavior throughout the exam. ProctorU is the College’s third preferred option for proctoring because of the cost the student must bear. Additionally, if the student must make any changes to a pre-scheduled exam, they may incur additional charges.

Faculty Requirements for 3rd Party Proctoring – ProctorU: 

(This option is the least preferred option because it normally costs the students money. ACC is picking up the ProctorU charges during the pandemic, but once ended, the costs will once again fall upon the students.)

a. Visit Test Availability Instructions for Online Exams and select “I want my students to test using ProctorU” for instructions to adjust your exam settings in Blackboard and for how to create your ProctorU account.

b. Then, create the test listings in the ACC ProctorU Portal system.

Student Requirements for 3rd Party Proctoring – ProctorU:

1. Students must log in through the ACC ProctorU Portal launch page and use their ACC email address to create their ProctorU account and schedule proctoring sessions.

2. Students must schedule their tests at least three (3) days in advance of their intended proctoring session. 

Important Note: ProctorU is experiencing unprecedented high usage during this emergency period. Faculty need to have their exams uploaded to the system a minimum of 3 weeks before the testing window opens. All exams need to have flexible exam windows as scheduling slots will become limited in the lead-up to Finals.

ProctorU is recommended for higher stakes exams. Please consider using alternative testing methods for lower-stakes tests and quizzes.

3d) Faculty-Led Proctoring.

Faculty who teach online can choose to proctor their own exams using Google Meet, Blackboard Collaborate, or any of the web conferencing tools supported by the College, or if they teach on-campus classes, proctor their exams in class. The benefit of faculty-led proctoring is that faculty exercise total control over the test and proctoring process.

4) Alternative Assessments.

Sometimes the best way to ensure test integrity is through proctoring because of the design of the assessment. But more often than not, there are assessments that are more engaging and interesting, and just as effective to allow your students the opportunity to show what they know.

Alternative assessments, often called authentic, comprehensive, or performance assessments, are usually designed by the faculty to gauge students’ understanding of the material. Examples of alternative assessment ideas that will tap into students’ different learning styles and get you the information you need to make sure they’re learning include: open-ended questions, written compositions, oral presentations, projects, experiments, portfolios of student work, blogs, and journals. When deciding on the best approach to assessment, please be mindful of equity concerns. Timed tests, for example, may place an undue burden on those with poor internet connections. Where possible and appropriate, faculty are encouraged to consider alternative assessments. Please visit the Equity in Assessment website for more information.

The Office of Faculty Development and the Distance and Alternative Education Department provide training opportunities and support on alternative assessments. Instructional designers provide pedagogical and best-practice advice to faculty in the online, hybrid, and on-campus learning environments. They can help answer questions about assessments such as:

        • What type of assessment will be best for my course?
        • How can I make the online assessment process work for me and my students (i.e. Submission, Grading, Feedback)?
        • How will this impact my students and how do I support them online?
        • How could this change my existing assessment management processes – grade allocation, moderation, extensions, re-grading – and how could I manage it?

The Teaching & Learning Excellence Division (TLED) and the Office of Distance & Alternative Education (ODAE) provide comprehensive support in course design, technology tools for teaching, and other high-impact practices that contribute to our Guided Pathways model at Austin Community College (ACC). Our teams are available for various types of consultations to provide just-in-time assistance and support to faculty for their teaching. Visit the Teaching Consultations & Support page to schedule a consultation.

The Future of Proctored Assessment at ACC

Prior to the COVID-19 teaching and learning emergency, the responsibility of paying for proctoring was on students. This, as many faculty and staff have noted, created an equity issue for students. ACC picked up the cost of proctoring during the emergency so as not to put an undue burden on students and deepen the already existing inequity created by “student pay” proctoring.

In light of the enormous cost involved in proctoring, and to ensure equity, ACC intends to transition AWAY from third-party proctoring (ProctorU) to the ACC Online Live Proctoring service managed by ACC Testing Center and Distance Education staff.

Contact

For any questions about the content on this page, please contact dlstaff@austincc.edu.