While our managed host environment is technically capable of processing up to 1500 concurrent users, technical issues can sometime arise with specific computer systems. The following guidelines will help to increase the likelihood of a successful synchronous testing experience by minimizing the variables that can negatively affect the test environment.

Advanced Planning for Online Testing

Online testing through Blackboard may be administered synchronously or asynchronously. With asynchronous testing, students take the exam at a time and place of their choosing, usually within a pre-established time frame. With synchronous testing, all students complete the exam at the same time in the classroom setting. If you are considering synchronous online testing for your courses, it is important that you:

  • Schedule a consultation with IT to discuss the testing environment and schedule dry runs of the testing procedure.
  • Construct the test and make sure the test link will be available to students on the scheduled date and time of the exam. (Note: When constructing the exam, Blackboard recommends displaying questions one at a time rather than all at once, and avoiding Forced Completion if possible.)
  • Make arrangements to have additional laptops, network cables, and/or backup printed test materials available on the test date(s).
  • Refer your students to our page on Best Practices for Taking Tests in Blackboard in Computing Resources.

Preparation for the Test Date

  • Make sure you have enough additional laptops (and network cables), or hard copies of the exam and answer forms to provide an offline alternative for approximately 5% of the class. You may also wish to have additional network cables on hand in case students forget to bring their own.
  • Make sure students have received a copy of and, if the test site is wired, remind them to bring their network cable on the day of the exam.
  • Notify technical support of your plans so that we can make sure there are no network traffic or maintenance issues that may interfere with the exam.

Day of the Test

  • If the test environment is wireless only, have students open their browser and 1) make sure they can access the Internet (by having them go to Google, or the WesternU home page), then 2) make sure they can access our domain (by having them go to our Intranet at http://intra.westernu.edu). Provide alternative test materials for any students that cannot complete these tasks.
  • Encourage students to save their answers frequently during the exam, so if they lose their access to Blackboard they can log in again and continue.
  • If a student loses access to the exam and cannot get back to it after 3 attempts, offer to provide a backup laptop or alternative test materials.

PowerPoint slides which can be used to brief students on the day of the exam are available upon request.


If you have any questions, or wish to schedule a consultation to discuss these options, please contact Technical Support at (909) 469-5432 or techsupport@westernu.edu.