Digi Know: How to make your Blackboard tests run efficiently

Formatting of text in Blackboard can be one of the reasons why at times tests can crash creating bad experiences for students and staff. But in many cases the reason for this occurring is due to the vast number of cases of copy and pasting directly from Microsoft Word. When copying text from Microsoft Word it also copies all the formatting information including font name, size, colour and other information that Word uses to display your text in the document.

Word Document image

When you paste this text into the question box, Blackboard converts this hidden information from Word into its own code. In the majority of cases Blackboard handles this well and unless the text is looked at carefully nobody notices until the student sees it.

Edit mode of blackboard question image

There are however a couple of instances that will not convert properly, some of these may cause certain browsers to crash.

HTML editor view image

The problem is that nobody notices the formatting of this because in editing mode Blackboard does not show any of this formatting and therefore it gets missed. However, if you look at your question in the test canvas (i.e. the page where you can see all of your questions) you will be able to see any copied over formatting and any errors that have occurred.

Another way to check is to try out the test yourself in Student View. This is done simply by clicking the Student View icon. This uses the same styles and views that the student sees including any formatting.

Location of student view button image

To eliminate the possibility of formatting errors, it is suggested that questions are entered directly in the text box and any formatting requirements applied. If you have to use Microsoft Word (for example, you have already written the questions) then copy and paste via a text editor such as Notepad. It may seem to be an unnecessary extra burden but will be worth the effort later.

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