Visit TLED’s Teaching Consultations & Support page for comprehensive support in course design, technology tools for teaching, and other high-impact practices. Join our Facebook group where ACC faculty and staff are sharing insights, best practices, and advice. Collegewide updates are available on the Austin Community College Info Hub.

Search TLED
Search ACC
A student studies on her computer

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

February 21, 2022: Respondus Instructor Live Proctoring – Available starting February 21, 2022, a new extension of the Respondus LockDown Browser allows faculty to administer a Respondus-required exam in coordination with Zoom.

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

Important: ACC phased out ProctorU at the end of Fall 2021. Learn More

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 Alternative Assessments
iPad Compatible Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Chromebook Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Requires Advanced Scheduling No No No Yes Yes No
Cost Free Free Free Free Free Free

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

man working on computer

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.

 

Student Access to Respondus Lockdown Browser

If students don’t have their own devices, they can access Respondus Lockdown Browser at the following Campus locations:

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

laptop and coffee cup

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:

            1. First, enable Respondus LockDown Browser: Enabling Respondus LockDown Browser
            2. Next, choose how you want your students to use Respondus:
            3. Go to: Test Availability Instructions for Online Exams
            4. Select “I want my students to test using Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor at home” for detailed instructions.
            5. 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:
            6. If you encounter any issues, please email dlstaff@austincc.edu to request assistance.

Student Requirements for Respondus Monitor:

ACC Mascot Working on Laptop

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 512-223-4636 or submit a Student Technology Services Email Request Form.

Student Access to Respondus Lockdown Browser

If students don’t have their own devices, they can access Respondus Lockdown Browser at the following Campus locations:

3b) Faculty-Led Proctoring (NEW for Spring 2022)

ACC faculty lecturing

Faculty who teach online can choose to proctor their own exams using Google Meet, Blackboard Collaborate, Class for Zoom, Respondus Instructor Live Proctoring, or any of the web conferencing tools supported by the College. If the faculty member is teaching an on-campus, face-to-face instruction course, proctoring will need to be conducted by the instructor during that class time. The benefit of faculty-led proctoring is that faculty exercise total control over the test and proctoring process.

 

Faculty are recommended to review the capabilities of each live conferencing tool on the Web Conferencing Comparison Chart.

Google Meet: ACC students, faculty, and staff have full access to the Google Meet tool. Google Meet is best used for one-on-one proctoring as it is capable of displaying one student’s screen and their webcam.

Blackboard Collaborate: Integrated into Blackboard, instructors can conduct live conferencing with students directly within the online course page. Note: Collaborate recordings are automatically deleted after 120 days.

Class for Zoom: Available starting January 27, 2022, faculty now have access to a new third-party tool built upon the Zoom platform. Class for Zoom contains a proctoring mode that allows live proctoring of multiple students’ computer screens and webcams at the same time. Class for Zoom is a separate application install and is not part of Zoom and is launched through Blackboard. Faculty should poll their students to determine if any of them are dual credit as Chromebook issued by school districts may be locked down and not allow any third-party software installations.

Respondus Instructor Live Proctoring: Available starting February 21, 2022, a new extension of the Respondus LockDown Browser allows faculty to administer a Respondus-required exam in coordination with Zoom. When enabled in the Respondus settings menu in Blackboard, faculty can use Zoom (recommended), Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams to monitor students’ webcams while they test using Respondus LockDown Browser. The instructor can also share an access code with the students so that they may all start the test simultaneously. Detailed information about Instructor Live Proctoring is available on the Teaching & Learning Knowledgebase.

3c) Distance Education Proctoring (Class for Zoom) for Online Courses

Hands on a laptop

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 Class for Zoom while the student takes the exam. Distance Education (DE) Proctoring should be the THIRD choice of proctoring and is available only for ONL courses and HYD courses. This option is not available 24/7 and requires advance scheduling for faculty and students.

      1. Set up your test in Blackboard and assign a password in the Blackboard test options.
      2. 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.
      3. In order for DE Proctoring personnel to provide equitable service to students, please set a time limit of no more than 1.5 hours per test.
      4. 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).
      5. 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.
      6. 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.
      7. 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

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

Student Requirements for Distance Education Proctoring (Class for Zoom):

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
          • Upon submitting an appointment request, you will immediately get an appointment confirmation email containing important instructions that you MUST do BEFORE the appointment.
          • You will receive an email 10 minutes to 24 hours before the appointment starts. The email comes from Class and has “You’ve been invited to join a class!” in the subject line. At the appointment time, you simply click on the email’s blue “Join Your Class” meeting link and automatically connect to the meeting.

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

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

HLC Social Staircase

Prior to the COVID-19 teaching and learning emergency, the responsibility of paying for third-party 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, starting in Spring 2022 ACC has transitioned AWAY from third-party proctoring (ProctorU) to the Distance Education Proctoring service managed by Distance & Alternative Education staff.

Contact

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