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Fave Five Online Testing Tips for Instructors


Giving tests through Blackboard? Use these tips to ensure the best experience for both you and your students!

  1. Don’t use Force Completion and a Timer! This combination of settings can cause several issues for students that only the Instructor can resolve. The Help Desk recommends instead of using Force Completion and a Timer,  set the test to allow only one attempt along with a Timer and Auto Submit.
  2. Make sure your students have completely logged out of Blackboard first (using the log-out icon in the top right corner) before logging back into Blackboard to begin an exam. This helps prevent time-out errors which can result in frantic emails and phone calls.
  3. Mozilla’s Firefox & Google Chrome will provide a much better Blackboard experience than Internet Explorer.
  4. Learn how to use Test Availability Exceptions! This will help in providing accommodations to diverse learners’ needs.
  5. Communicate! Make sure to let your students know exactly where the test can be found in your Blackboard Course and when it’ll be available for them to take. Adding a Due Date when deploying the test will ensure that it shows up on the students Blackboard Calendar.

For more testing tips for Instructors, check out this article in Experts. For Student oriented testing tips, refer to this page.

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Blackboard Collaborate Training

Blackboard Collaborate is a web conferencing feature built right into our learning management system. It makes online meetings with your students a breeze, and allows for robust and engaging interaction. If you’d like to learn how to use Blackboard Collaborate in your course, Computer Services offers training both online and in-person. To sign up for in-person training, look for the Blackboard and Collaborate: Enhancing Communication course in My Learning Connection. To sign up to take a video course over the use of Collaborate, head over to this site and look under “Online Live and Video Courses”. If you have questions about Collaborate or our training offerings, please don’t hesitate to contact the Computer Services Help Desk.

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January 8th & 9th ALL DAY Ask the Experts Blackboard Open Sessions!

In order to help get the amazing MSU Faculty ready for Spring 2015, Computer Services will offer two full days of our Ask the Experts Blackboard Open Sessions on January 8th and 9th, 2015.

From 8am to 5pm on both days, come to the Meyer Library 205 Technology Training Center and get Blackboard assistance from one of our awesome Help Desk employees.

These sessions don’t require any registration and are open to all who need help getting ready for the coming Semester. See you next year!

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Learn new tools and prepare for 2015!

Computer Services is offering several opportunities to help you get a great start to the Spring 2015 semester. Sessions are listed on the University Calendar, the Blackboard Blog, with registration through My Learning Connection unless otherwise noted. Some great updates are coming to Blackboard here at Missouri State University, and these trainings are the ideal way to learn how to make the most of them.

  • January 6th and 7th – In person classes over Blackboard Collaborate will be held. Information and registration is through the My Learning Connection system.
  • January 6th and 7th – Faculty and staff who have completed the Blackboard Black Belt series have been sent invitations to Black Belt Master Classes. These two-hour workshops provide Black Belts the opportunity to see and work with Collaborate and the new Content Collection tools to build their courses. There is no registration for these courses. Black Belts should check their email for their Black Belt Master class invite and more information.
  • Jan. 8th and 9th – Two full days of our “Ask the Experts” Blackboard Open Sessions! Receive answers to your questions and one-on-one assistance from one of our friendly Help Desk Blackboard support specialists between 8 am and 5 pm in the Meyer Library 205 Technology Training Center. These come-and-go sessions do not require any registration and are open to all who need help getting ready for the coming semester.


  • January 13th – The regular 6-course Black Belt Series will begin. Individual Blackboard Black Belt series courses are offered in two modes: In Person and Online Live via Collaborate. There’s also half-day Boot Camps for if you are looking for a fast-paced class. And be looking for more Online Video training courses to be offered later in 2015!
  • Starting January 16th, the “Ask the Experts” Blackboard Open session will resume to every Friday between 1:30 and 4:30 pm in the Meyer Library Technology Training Center; no registration is ever needed for “Ask the Experts”.
  • 24/7 – Our Online Video Blackboard “Jumpstart” course is currently available 24/7 as self-paced introduction to the Blackboard user interface, general navigation, and core tools used in the teaching and learning process. To request access to Blackboard “Jumpstart”, complete the request form on the Computer Services Help Desk website under Blackboard Support to be added to this online Video Course.
  • 24/7 – How-to, troubleshooting, and reference articles on Blackboard Collaborate and all other Blackboard tools are found in our online Experts documentation repository. We’re looking forward to rolling out our new Experts Learning Management System Knowledge Base coming soon! The new Experts Knowledge Base will feature enhanced search and suggested help articles to make finding Blackboard and related resources even easier.

For more information about Computer Services learning management system training or other resources, visit this site. If you’re in need of Blackboard assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact the Computer Services Help Desk.


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October Black Belts!

BbBlackbelt_logoCongratulations to the most recent recipients of the Blackboard Black Belt! These intrepid members of the Missouri State Faculty and Staff have attended all 13 hours of Blackboard training offered by Computer Services and have learned the ins and outs of our learning management system. Without further ado, the Blackboard Black belts of October 2014!

  • Ethan Amidon, Criminology & Criminal Justice 
  • Ari Carter, Computer Services
  • Lacy Geiger, Missouri State Outreach
  • Rachel Jamieson, Theatre & Dance
  • Sue McCrory, Computers For Learning
  • Michael Suttmoeller, Criminology & Criminal Justice

To learn more about the Blackboard Black Belt Program at Missouri State University and find out how to get yours, visit the Help Desk website.

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SafeAssign Planned Service Outage

The SafeAssign central services will undergo maintenance that requires a service outage on Thursday October 30, 2014 from 2:00 AM US Eastern (GMT-4) until 6:00 AM US Eastern (GMT-4). SafeAssign functionality will not be available and an error will be displayed to the user.  Papers will not be processed and reports will be delayed until after the maintenance has completed.

Please contact Blackboard Learn Client Support if you have any questions.

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Blackboard Jumpstart Online Course

Want to learn about the basics of Blackboard but can’t make it to an in-person class? Not a problem! Computer Services offers an online Blackboard Jumpstart course that you can take anywhere at any time. This asynchronous course is comprised of a series of videos to help you find your way around Blackboard followed by a few short quizzes to reinforce what you are learning. If you’re interested, all you need to do is fill out a brief form on the Blackboard Training Opportunities page. From there, click the link on the top of the page to show the form. Taking this course will earn you a Blackboard White Belt, just as attending an in-person course would. Happy learning!​

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Pearson MyLab and Mastering Server Maintenance Scheduled 9/26 – 10/1

Some server maintenance will impact Pearson users 9/26 – 10/1.

From Pearson:

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) has informed Pearson that it needs to restart a number of its servers between September 26 and October 1, 2014.

Pearson, along with many​ other companies, uses AWS to offer several of its products and services over the internet. This means that some features in Pearson products which use AWS to run and support their systems could be unavailable during these restarts. Each server restart takes around 20-25 minutes.

Why is this happening?

AWS has indicated that these restarts are in response to a security issue. Restarting each system allows AWS to ensure its services remain secure. Since we were advised of the plan to restart the AWS servers, we have been working around the clock to review the possible impact and take all possible steps to mitigate or minimize disruption for our customers. We will post messaging on our 24/7 Technical Support site (http://247pearsoned.custhelp.com/) if any disruptions do take place and teams will work to restore performance as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your patience as we work through this process with AWS. Please reach out to your Strategic Customer Operations Consultant with any questions.

Thank you,

Pearson MyLab and Mastering Team”

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