for Psych3K and DevPsych3K

Updated 1/15/06
Know Thy Course Information Updated
Links to "Stay Connected" Software Added
Missed Exams Rule Added

Online testing through BlackBoard is now being used in both Psych3K and DevPsych3K.  Testing will no longer be conducted at the TCC Testing Center.

This will provide students with the opportunity to complete these courses without having to come oncampus at all.  It will also eliminate the need for proctored exams for students who live more than 100 miles from Tulsa.  Further, it will eliminate the problem with shortened exam weeks caused by the Testing Center being closed for holidays or the school being closed because of snow or ice.

As online testing is a relatively new process to be utilized in these courses, all rules, procedures, and conditions are subject to change at any time.  Check this page periodically for any updates.

Dates and deadlines for exams, quizzes, assignments and other components of the course are shown on the syllabus, the Assignments page, and other course pages.

In the future, these courses may become fully self-paced courses.  For now, however, they will be paced as originally planned.  Start dates and end dates for the semester will still apply.

Know thy Course is a test that serves two primary purposes.  The first is to allow you to acquaint yourself with the online testing procedure and to provide you with a means of checking to make sure your ISP (Internet Service Provider), the computer you are using, and the settings that are in place will meet the requirements imposed by BlackBoard.  The second is to ensure that you have examined critical pages for this course and know and understand the policies, procedures, rules and practices that I have established for this course. 

This test will be scored and the score will be added to your GradeBook page, but the score will have no bearing on your final course grade.  The score will not be added to the running total of points that BB counts as your points for the course.

The test is required.  A perfect score on the test is required.  The test can be taken as many times as required to make a perfect score. Students who do not complete the test may be administratively withdrawn from the course.  At the very least, should you fail to successfully complete the test, and then be unable to successfully complete the regular exam, no makeup exam will be considered.  It is also likely that failure to understand what is required of you will cause you to make mistakes and errors of judgment that may cause you to lose points and may result in a lower grade than you would have otherwise earned. 

Do not delay in completing the Know Thy Course test.  Report any problems immediately.  If the problem appears to be of a technical nature (whether with your system or with BB), you should consult with the TCC Distance Learning Office (595-7143).  They may be able to help you find a solution.  The problem should be reported to me (via the normal class email channels) so that I will know what is going on, but I am not very likely to be able to help you find a solution to technical problems.  I have created and posted an "Unsuccessful Exam Effort" page to make it easier for you to provide the information I need.  Follow the instructions at the bottom of that page.  If the problem is caused by restrictions imposed by your ISP, you will have to contact your ISP and try to rectify the problem.

The General Testing Procedure:
Log onto BB.
Enter the class.
Click on "Course Course Documents" and use the link on that page.
Click on the link for the current exam.  This link will not appear until the "exam week" begins and will disappear when the "exam week" ends.
Take the current exam.

You will have approximately one minute per question to complete the exam.  The time limit will not be extended under any circumstances.

What you can do:
You are allowed to use your textbook while taking the exam.
You are allowed to use any notes you created as part of your study effort while taking the exam.
You are allowed to use other Web sites while taking the exam.

What you cannot do:
You cannot retake the exam for credit.
You cannot take part of the exam, log off, and return at a later time to complete the exam.
You cannot preview the exam.

Specifically and Strictly Prohibited Actions or Behaviors:
You cannot confer in any manner with any other human being while taking the exam.
You cannot share any information with any other student in the class (or future student, or student in another section of the course) about the specific content of the exam.
You cannot attempt to override any BB controls, or otherwise attempt to "hack", subvert, or abuse the TCC or BB systems.
You cannot cheat, or attempt to cheat, in any manner.

Violation of these prohibitions, whether detected immediately or at any time in the future, will result in a failing grade for the course, ejection from the course, and/or any other disciplinary measures allowed by TCC policies.

Some considerations to keep in mind:
Do not wait until the last minute to take the exam. 

Keep an eye on the weather.  If a storm is moving in, and there is a chance of lightening strikes or power failures, do not start the test. 

BB shuts down each morning between 5:00 am and 6:00 am for routine system maintenance and backing up of records.  I do not know how exact these times are.  It is your responsibility to complete the exam before the system is shut down.

On rare occasions, BB is taken offline for special work or system updates.  These are always planned in advance and a notice is posted to the opening page of the class.  Be sure to watch for any such notices (usually posted by Randy Dominguez) and take them into consideration when planning your testing. 

In the event of power failures, disconnects, BB being taken offline, or any other such problems while you are testing, BB will likely lock you out of the test and you will be unable to reenter and complete the exam.  If that happens, your grade for the exam will be  a score of Zero.

If the problem is the "fault" of BB or TCC, a makeup exam will follow as soon as is possible.  That will usually be the last day shown for that exam week on the syllabus and the Assignments page, unless technical problems further delay the availability of the makeup exam.  If the problem occurs early enough in the "exam week", and did not allow you to access the exam, I can usually make the exam available during the regular exam week.

If the problem is not the "fault" of BB or TCC, the circumstances will determine whether a make-up exam will be made available.  If I determine that a make-up exam opportunity will not be provided, the dropped exam policy will cover the first such case.  Additional cases will result in no credit for the exam.

Two Known Potential Problems

Potential Problem #1:

Some ISPs will "time you out" for inactivity.  AOL is one such provider.  Problems have also been reported by students whose ISP is Cox.  This can happen, even though you are not really inactive, but rather are actively working within a Java or JavaScript applet.  It only appears to the ISP that you are inactive. 

There are ways to prevent this from happening if this is the case for you.  The simplest is to have a second window open in your browser, and periodically refresh that window or visit another site.  You can also use a service such as "Real Video" and have it play a streaming video or radio program in the background.  (Turn the volume all the way down so that does not distract you.)

There are also small programs that you can run that go out and "ping" sites every few minutes.  That way, your ISP "sees" activity and does not time you out.  These programs can be downloaded from CNet (which has two that are free and have good ratings: 42 Always Connected and NetMonitor) and other safe sites.

If this is a potential problem with your ISP, call your ISP immediately and get their help in working around the problem.

There is no time limit on completing the Know Thy Course test.  Try leaving the testing window open for at least two hours before clicking on the "Submit" button.  That should serve as an effective test for whether or not your ISP is likely to time you out, even during the Final Exam.. 

Potential Problem #2:

There are also ISPs (AOL and in at least some cases, Cox cable access, and other DSL access providers) that are set up in such a way that if connections are broken the browser closes.  When the connection is re-established, the browser opens anew.  If this is the case, BB will not allow you access to the exam again.

Not all ISPs are set up that way.  With my ISP, my connection is independent of my browser.  If the connection is lost for whatever reason, my browser stays open.  As long as my browser stays open, I can re-establish the connection later and continue using BB as if nothing happened.  As long as my computer does not crash, I am safe.  You may wish to consider that sort of Internet access.

Of course, if all else fails, there is the ultimate workaround for any such problems.  You could come to one of the TCC campuses and use the computers in our Computer Labs.

New Policies and Rules

Once opened, the exam must be completed.  Closing it constitutes completion of the exam.

Students need to understand that there is really no way to provide makeup exams that are truly fair to both the students given the opportunity to take a makeup exam and those who take take the regular exam.  The policies and rules set for this course are intended to minimize the inherent unfairness of makeup exams by eliminating the need for them, as far as is possible.

Students are required to demonstrate understanding of the course requirements, familiarize themselves with the online testing process, and  test their system by taking the Know Thy Course test.  If problems are encountered, the student is responsible for resolving the problems before continuing on to take the exam.  Students who have not tested their system by taking the Test Test will not be granted permission to take a makeup exam for any reason.

Makeup exams will be permitted only in cases in which technical problems at TCC cause the student to be unable to complete the exam successfully.  Examples: power outage, loss of connectivity, server malfunction at TCC.    Technical problems will open the possibility of makeup exams only if they occur at critical times during the testing period, such as the last few hours or while the student is actually taking the exam.

Whenever possible, make-up exams necessitated by problems on TCC's end will immediately follow the "exam week".  If a further delay is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the delay.  In other words, be ready to test at a moment's notice.  There will not usually be much warning that the make-up is ready.

Some students can be expected to submit the exam as the clock gets close to the time limit, in order to avoid risking going beyond the time limit.  Others can be expected to push the limits more firmly.  Sometimes that pushing results in exceeding the time limits.  Allowing that is unfair to those who take the safer approach.  If the excess time is very short, the benefit is probably very small, but it is still unfair.  The following penalties will be imposed to insure that exceeding the time limits will be more disadvantageous than advantageous, yet will allow accepting small infractions rather than disallowing the entire exam effort.
1st minute (1 sec. through 59 sec.) 2 point penalty
2nd minute (1 min., 1 sec. through 1 min., 59 sec.) additional 5 point penalty
3rd minute (2 min., 1 sec. through 2 min., 59 sec.)  additional 5 point penalty
4th minute (3 min., 1 sec. through 3 min., 59 sec.)  additional 10 point penalty
5th minute (4 min., 1 sec. through 4 min., 59 sec.)  additional 10 point penalty
6th minute or beyond Zero on the exam

I do not recognize "excused" v. "unexcused" reasons for missing exams.  If an exam is missed for any reason, you are required to email me at the class address (and backup address) at the earliest possible date and let me know whether or not you are going to take the next exam.  Students who miss a second exam without contacting me may be administratively withdrawn.  The primary purpose of this rule is to prevent students from attempting to defraud the financial aid providers by signing up for classes with no intent to actually complete the courses.  It also is intended to avoid cases in which the student might wind up with an AW (Administrative Withdrawal) or an F for the course as a result of failure to complete the course requirements.


Send an email to the class address and backup address indicating that you have read this page.  On the "Subject:" enter Online Testing.