Accommodating Different Needs in Blackboard

I have a disability and I’m fairly open about my needs. It’s hard not to notice the font size on my monitor or the special lighting in my office. But not every accommodate is that obvious, in fact, the easiest accommodations in Blackboard are a little tricky to find.

Test Availability Exceptions

Test Availability Exceptions

The Test Availability Exceptions area appears by default when you create a new test. Access it via “Edit the Test Options” for an existing test.

Blackboard added a new Test Availability Exceptions section to the Test Options page last year. The feature allows you to customize the testing experience for a group or a single user. You have three options to customize the testing experience:

  1. Attempts – This option controls the number of attempts a student or group has for the test. Choices are “single,” which means they can only attempt the test once, “multiple,” which provides an entry box for you to give a number of attempts between 1 and 99, or “unlimited,” which provides for unlimited attempts.
  2. Timer – Perhaps you’ve received a letter requesting that a student be given extra time to take a test. You’d like the class to have 60 minutes, but that student should have 90 minutes. After selecting the student check the box under Timer and enter 90 in the text entry blank. This will provide just the student you listed with a 90 minute timer instead of a 60 minute timer. The other option under Timer is “Auto Submit.” The Auto Submit option automatically submits the test when the timer expires, regardless of where the student is in the test and without warning them. You can turn auto submit on for the student or group by checking this box without changing the setting for the rest of the class.
  3. Availability – Perhaps a student needs to take the test sooner or later then the rest of your class. Click on the calendar icon to set the test availability dates for that student. While the rest of the class will only see the link to take the test during their availability window, the student listed in the test availability exception area will see the link sooner, later, or longer.

Creating a Group

If you have more than one student who needs an exception, you can create a group to handle the process more efficiently. Be sure to make the group invisible to students, which means the group is completely anonymous — students won’t know they’re in the group or who else is in it.

The steps are:

  1. Go to Control Panel > Users and Groups > Groups
  2. Click Create > Single Group > Manual Enroll
  3. Name the group (in my example graphic above the group is named “Superstars 1”)
  4. Click “No” for the “Group is visible to students” option
  5. Click “Add Users” and select students to add to the group
  6. Click Submit

If you ever experience problems with a Blackboard test or need help accommodating a student the Academic Technology team is happy to help. You can reach us at or calling the Technology Support Center at 757-221-4357 (HELP).