Using Brightspace to administer classroom quizzes
This article is intended for instructors interested in using the Brightspace Quiz tool for online assessments in their courses.
Administering a quiz does require some configuring to assure things go smoothly. The following sections in this article provide directions for preparing during the creation of quizzes and assuring they go smoothly.
Checklist For All Quizzes
Before Quiz Day
- No more than five questions per quiz page. The system office recommends configuring your Brightspace test such that no more than five questions are listed per page.
- Use bandwidth-friendly multimedia elements. If you include images and other multimedia elements in your quiz questions, students will automatically download these during the test and that may put a strain on the network if the files are large. Multimedia elements can be compressed for use in quiz questions.
- Activate the quiz and set the start/end dates. All quizzes are set to Inactive by default. You must activate them manually. You can also set a start date and end date to control the window during which students can start the quiz.
- Remind students to charge their laptop batteries. Remind your students to bring fully charged laptops to class on test day.
- Have a backup plan. This technology is very reliable, but stuff happens. A backhoe in Minneapolis could cut a fiber cable and all your students could lose their connection to the Internet during your test. Always have a backup plan.
On Quiz Day
While waiting for the quiz to start, remind students to...
- Restart their laptops. All students should restart their laptops in the classroom just prior to taking the test. It is not enough to just wake the laptop up from a hibernation state. It should be restarted in the room in which the student will be taking the test. It only takes a minute.
- Disconnect their other devices from Wi-Fi. Ask students to power down their other mobile devices (e.g., phones, tablets), put them in airplane mode, or disable Wi-Fi.
- Start the quiz through Brightspace. Remind students to go to your course in Brightspace, select Assessments...Quizzes, and select the quiz. They start the quiz by selecting the Start Quiz or the Launch Lockdown Browser button.
- Submit the quiz when they are finished. Remind students that they need to select the Submit Quiz button to submit their quiz. They will be asked to confirm their submission by selecting the Submit Quiz button again.
- Avoid bandwidth-intensive activities while waiting. Remind students to avoid any bandwidth-intensive activities (e.g., streaming videos, downloading applications) if they complete the quiz early and are waiting for other students to finish.
Additional Checklist Items When Using Lockdown Browser
Respondus Lockdown Browser (LDB) is a third-party tool that is integrated with our Brightspace system and that you can use to prevent students from using their laptops for nefarious purposes (e.g., email, other web browsers, chat, printing) while taking a Brightspace quiz. It essentially locks students out of their laptops for the duration of the test and is designed for use during proctored classroom testing sessions. An additional option is now available in LDB called Respondus Monitor that records students with their laptop webcam as they take the exam.
Before Quiz Day
- Enable LDB on the new or copied quiz. After you have created a new quiz, you need to configure it to require LDB. If you copied an LBD-configured quiz from a previous semester, do not assume that everything is all set. You need to check that quiz to make sure LDB is configured properly. Select Assessments…Quizzes, select the Lockdown Browser tab, select Continue to Lockdown Browser, and let your list of quizzes load into this tab page. It may take a minute to load this page. If it fails to load, try again. You should see Required next to each copied quiz that is properly configured to use LDB.
- Ensure students install/update LDB. If all of your students attempt to install and update LDB in the same classroom at the same time, this will affect network performance and will result in significant delays and wireless disconnections. You probably want your students to install/update LBD before they sit for the actual quiz. ay starting the test. You can do this in one of two ways. First, you can conduct a quick LDB-enabled practice quiz prior to the first real quiz. Set up a single-item sample quiz configured to use LDB and ask your students to take it either in class or at a distance. This will require students to install or update LDB if needed and will help identify any technical issues ahead of the real test. Configure the sample quiz for unlimited attempts and do not add an end date. Students can then use this quiz throughout the entire semester to test their LDB installation. Second, you could activate your quiz ahead of the start date. If you configure your quiz to start sometime in the future and then activate the quiz, your students can open the quiz start page where they will find a link to download LDB or launch it. Launching LDB prior to the start of a quiz will not allow the students to take the quiz. It will simply open LDB and trigger any auto-updates.
On Quiz Day
For instructors who used older versions of LDB, students no longer need to open LDB directly to start the quiz. They simply start the quiz through Brightspace. Ask students to go to Assessments...Quizzes and select the quiz. They start the quiz by selecting the Launch Lockdown Browser button.
Maintaining the integrity of your proctored testing session is critical and Brightspace offers several features and functions that can help. When deciding to use Brightspace to deliver a high-stakes classroom assessment, it's also very important to understand the risks introduced by the technology.
- Require a password to access the quiz. Once the start time elapses on an active quiz, all students in the course can start the quiz whether they are in the classroom or not. Configuring the quiz to require a password and then revealing that password in class helps ensure that only the students in the classroom are able to access the quiz. Note that this can be foiled by students quickly texting the password to other students outside the classroom using their phones or laptops. This is very difficult to prevent, but one thing you can do technically is change the password as soon as you are sure everyone in class has started the quiz.
- Change the quiz password. If you have applied a quiz password, change it once you are sure everyone has started the quiz. This keeps your test more secure.
Potential Problems and How to Handle Them
Thousands of WSU students take Brightspace quizzes in class each semester and technical problems are rare. Proper planning resolves 99% of them, but it's good to know what can happen during a live test session and how to handle it.
- Student did not install/update Lockdown Browser ahead of time. This can be updated/installed in a couple of minutes prior to starting the quiz. Tell the student to go to Assessments...Quizzes and open the quiz. At the bottom of the page is a link to download the latest version of Lockdown Browser. Once they have it installed, have them quit the browser session, restart the browser, go to Brightspace, and start the quiz.
- All students are being asked to update Lockdown Browser. This problem is rare. Typically, auto-update is not enforced when Respondus releases a new version. Students can update at their leisure and as long as they install it ahead of time, they should all be good to go on test day. However, sometimes Respondus enforces an auto-update on important releases. If that happens between when all of your students installed/updated Lockdown Browser and when you administer your real test, you could find yourself in a situation where all students need to apply the update before they can start the test. If this happens, students should follow the instructions to apply the update, shut down their browsers, reopen their browsers, log back into Brightspace, and start the quiz.
- Student loses Wifi connection during the quiz. A student usually detects this when quiz answers are no longer being saved. Have the student turn Wi-Fi on their laptop off and then back on again. It should reconnect to warrior automatically. Once it does, have them refresh their browser page and resume the quiz.
- Student's quiz page freezes and/or the quiz cannot be submitted. If the student can't scroll up or down on a quiz page or cannot submit a quiz, have them close their browser, restart it, log back into Brightspace, and resume the quiz. This assumes the student has been saving answers. If the student is using Lockdown Browser, tell the student to do a hard restart of the laptop, log back into Brightspace, and resume the quiz.
- Student's quiz page freezes and/or the quiz cannot be submitted and quiz answers have not been saved. This is a big problem because the student is going to need to restart the browser or the laptop and will lose all the unsaved answers. One solution is to have the student write down the answers and then transfer them into the quiz once it resumes.
- Student cannot re-enter the quiz after a restart. This usually means that the quiz end time or timer has elapsed. You can extend these for the entire class or just for this student using a special access condition. It may also be the case that the student does not know the new password.
- Web browser issues. If a student cannot get into a quiz and nothing seems to work, ask the student to use a different web browser. There may be some problem with the student's preferred browser that needs technical attention. Brightspace is approved for use on Chrome and Firefox, both of which are pre-installed on all WSU laptops, as is Microsoft Edge. Apple Safari is not recommended for use with Brightspace.
- All hell breaks loose. Before you throw in the towel, call TLT (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will run over to your class and help you.