Missing File Extension When Downloading Test/Survey Results

Problem:  Download Results in Grade Center incorrectly saves the file in different ways depending on if Chrome or IE is used. The data is correct and is comma or tab separated appropriately as selected but the file either has no extension, when it should have .csv (comma separated) or .xls (tab separated) and/or the filename is not in the correct format.

Workaround: This is a known issue that is fixed in a future release.  In the meantime, renaming the file after download to add the proper extension will let you open it in your spreadsheet program.

Create Random Block shows a grey box over questions

Problem: When attempting to add a random block to a test, a grey box covers the interface, preventing questions from being selected.

Solution: Resizing the window to be wider removes the grey box and allows the form to be used as expected.  We are working to find a permanent solution to this issue.

Multiple choice questions with blank/empty answers won’t submit

Problem: Creating a multiple choice question in the test/survey tool, leaving at least one answer empty, then clicking on the submit button will not save or submit the form.  The submit button fails silently and the form is not submitted.

Solution: Clicking the “remove” button next to any blank/unused answers will allow the form to submit normally.  There is no targeted release for this issue at this time.

Logging in with another browser tab/window during a test breaks save answer

Problem: While taking an exam, opening a new window/tab in the same browser and creating a new session will break the “Save Answer” button.   For example, if a student begins a test, then opens a new tab and goes to myUVM and clicks on the “Blackboard” link, the save answer button will show an error.

Solution: Blackboard has a bug fix which we are currently testing and are working towards deploying.  In the meantime, the following workaround will improve the testing experience.   During an exam, if multiple tabs/windows in Bb are needed (i.e. for an “open book” exam), open a different browser (i.e. FireFox to navigate your course while the test remains open in the original browser (i.e. Chrome).  If a new session has been created in the same browser, and save answer is not working, deleting the cookies and cache then logging back in will allow for resuming the exam.

Partial Credit Box does not Display in all Answers in some Questions Types

Problem:  When setting a question to allow partial credit, some answers do not display a box to specify credit values.

There are currently no patches available for this bug.  While we wait for a fix from Blackboard, the only workaround in this case is to offer fewer answers (i.e. remove any questions without a partial credit box).

Resolved: Respondus Update Failure

Problem:  When updating Respondus on Windows 10, an error appears and the update fails to proceed: “This app has been blocked for your protection. RPUPDATE. EXE. An administator has blocked you from running this app.”

Solution: Downloading the most recent version of Respondus from the UVM Software Archive will allow future in-app updates to proceed.

Resolved: Exit, Save and Exit, Back and Next buttons not working when grading tests

This issue has been resolved. Please contact blackboard@uvm.edu if you experience further trouble.

Problem:  When entering an assessment attempt, only the “Save and Next” button is working. All other buttons, including Exit, Save & Exit, previous student and Next student are not functional. This is happening in all browsers, and in multiple courses.

Solution:  A fix has been identified, and we are working to test, evaluate, and deploy it.  In the meantime, there are some workarounds available, such as using the browser’s back/forward buttons, and clicking on the course navigation links to get back to the grade center.

Resolved: Cursor and screen jumps to the last question on test

This issue has been resolved. Please contact blackboard@uvm.edu if you experience further trouble.

Problem:  When composing and answering items on a test that is presented with questions all at once, the cursor and screen jump to the last question, on the bottom of the screen, while the user is only partially complete with the test.

Solution:  This is an identified bug in Bb.  While a patch is being evaluated, instructors can prevent this from happening to students by delivering a test one question at a time.  Students can alleviate some of the frustration by composing essay questions offline in a word or text processor and pasting into the text boxes of essay questions.

Students encounter problems saving answers on tests with large numbers of questions

Problem: On tests with large numbers of questions (i.e. more than 50), students may encounter problems saving or submitting the assessment.

Solution: Instructors delivering assessments with over 50 questions should consider delivering the questions one at a time, which can be done by editing the test options and choosing “One at a time” in the Test Presentation section.

Resolved: Error appears when attempting to add a question to an assessment.

Problem:  When attempting to add a question to an assessment, an error is presented saying “Unable to parse provided PkId string.”

Solution:  This has been resolved.  Users experiencing this issue are encouraged to contact blackboard@uvm.edu.  A workaround to this issue can be found by editing the test, then clicking on “Question Settings” to the upper right, then unchecking the “Question Metadata” box on section 3 of that page will prevent the error.

Respondus not connecting/authenticating to Bb

Problem:  An issue with Respondus not connecting to Bb has been identified.  This is preventing the upload and download of assessments to Bb courses.

Solution:  The following workaround will allow publication of assessments.  Assessments can be manually published by going to Respondus->Preview & Publish->Publish to Blackboard->Publish Wizard->”Save pool to local file for manual upload”->”Test with points”.  After saving the local file, it can be manually uploaded into a course with a web browser, by going into the course’s test, surveys and pools area, and clicking on the Import test button.

Alternatively,  the following steps will allow Respondus to sync normally with your Bb course:

That said, Respondus has provided the following steps that should allow the application to properly sync with Bb:

  1. Update Respondus to version  If you’ve installed it recently, you may be able to update it by going to Help->Check for updates. Otherwise, go to https://www.uvm.edu/software/distribution/windows/respondus/Respondus4.0.5.14.exe – then installing, and registering the software (you can access the registration data, if needed, here: https://www.uvm.edu/software/distribution/licensing/respondus/respondus.html).
  2. Open Internet Explorer and log into Bb by going to bb.uvm.edu.
  3. Leaving IE open in the background, open Respondus.
  4. If editing an existing assessment, Click on Preview & Publish -> Publish to Blackboard.  If retrieving an assessment, click retrieval and reports.
  5. Click Publish Wizard
  6. From the Blackboard Server dropdown, select “Add New Server”.
  7. Choose “Yes, check for preconfigured server setting.”
  8. Enter an appropriate name for the connection, such as “UVM Bb (New)”
  9. Click the “Next” button to run the connection test.
  10. Click on the “Login w/ UVM NetID” link.  IMPORTANT:  do not log in on this screen, be sure to click the link and log in on the following screen.
  11. Enter your login information on this (the webauth) screen.
  12. Once you are logged in, click on the “Close after Login” button on the upper right.

Resolved: Assessments causing NullPointerException errors

This has been resolved.  If you continue to see this problem, please contact blackboard@uvm.edu as soon as possible.

Problem: Deploying an assessment in a content area displays a “NullPointerException”. The test can be seen and previewed when edit mode is off, but no other content in the content area is visible. Further, attempting to access the “Tests” or “Surveys” area of the “Tests, Surveys and Pools” section of a course displays a similar error.

We are working directly with Blackboard to find a resolution to this issue as soon as possible. In the meantime, please note the following work-arounds:

  • Students can still access and submit deployed exams. Results of these exams can be graded and feedback provided via the Grade Center and My Grades, respectively.
  • Tests can still be deployed, just not in areas where another test is currently deployed.
  • Deployed tests/quizzes can be edited by going into the grade center, clicking on the grey icon next to the column name for the test, and choosing “Edit Test”. From there instructors can add/edit the questions, or edit the options by selecting from the grey button to the right of the test name in the edit test screen.
  • Content that shares a content area with a deployed assessment will be inaccessible to the instructor, however students may in some cases be able to access that content.
  • Instructors can access sub-folders that exist in the same area as a deployed test by clicking the folder icon at the top of the course menu and navigating from there.

To deploy a new tests, deploying each test in its own folder will allow tests to be delivered to students without interfering with instructor access to the rest of the content areas. For example, one might create a new content area on the left hand menu entitled “Quizzes 2”, and structure it like so:

  • Quiz 1 Folder
  • …..> Quiz 1 (inside Quiz 1 folder)
  • Quiz 2 Folder
  • …..> Quiz 2 (inside Quiz 2 folder)


Resolved: Assessments become inaccessible after end date if no start date was specified

Instructors are prevented from re-opening their tests after the end date has passed, if they didn’t originally check the start date box. Blackboard now recognizes this as a bug, and software fix (a “patch”) may be available soon.

UPDATE: A fix has been put in place at the system level to correct this problem as it occurs. If you are experiencing this problem and it has not been resolved after 24 hours, please contact blackboard support at blackboard@uvm.edu, and include the 5-digit CRN of the course containing the assessment.

Important: If you are using a date restriction on the test availability (such as the “Display Until” feature), you must have BOTH the “Display After” and the “Display Until” boxes checked. The error seems to happen when only an end date (Display Until) is checked, but the start date (Display After) is not.