Late last week we added a new tool to the Blackboard 9.1 server called “Add Test Student.” This tool allows instructors to easily create a student account on the server “YOURUSERNAME_s” that you can enroll into any of your courses. So the first question that comes to mind is:
‘Why would I want to do this?’
Instructors frequently ask to have a student testing account created so that they can log into and experience their course from a student’s perspective. This tools allows you, the instructor, to create a student testing account on your own that you can use for the purpose of logging into your course sites from the student perspective. This will allow you to preview your course in a true student view. This is slightly different from turing Edit mode off. When Edit mode is off, all content areas are in student view, but course tools (e.g. the Discussion Board) still recognize your account as the instructor so tools are not in student view. Creating a student test account with the Add Test Student tool helps you to get around this odd quirk. Also with a student test account you can submit assignments and quizzes to your site allowing the instructor to truly see the tools from the student perspective. and this bring us to question two:
‘Is this only for me, the instructor? Can my TA use this tool as well?’
Technically, yes this tool is only for instructors. TAs do not have access to this tool and cannot use it to create their own student testing accounts. However, since these testing accounts are local to the Blackboard server and they are not tied to your WPI computing accounts you can, if you would like, share the student test account username and password with your TA or another trusted individual AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT set your student testing account password to your WPI password!! Sharing of your WPI account information would be a violation of WPI’s Acceptable Use Policy which can result in the suspension of computing accounts!
OK, so this brings me to the last question:
‘I have a Blackboard 9.1 site, how do I use this tool?’
To set up the test student, navigate to your course site and click on Course Tools in the Course Management area:
From the Course Tools menu, click on Add Test Student:
The Create Test Student screen will appear. Please select a password for the account.
NOTE: Be sure the Enroll check box is selected and click Submit at the bottom of the page.
Once this is done, you can log out of Blackboard and log back in with your testing account! The username for your student testing account will always be YOURUSERNAME_S, so for example my student testing account would be jes_s.