Blackboard Trick: Hiding the Floating Bar on Tests

Blackboard Trick: Hiding the Floating Bar on Tests

Blackboard Trick: Hiding the Floating Bar on Tests

Description: Blackboard tests have a floating bar that displays over student tests (henceforth referred to as the bar). The bar is useful in that it shows the timer and the completion status of questions students, but can also block content. This trick will hide the bar from students, but will allow students to unhide and re-hide the bar when needed.

Use Case: As this is a work around, it should only be used in cases where the bar is actively causing problems in completing a test, as opposed to just being a nuisance. This includes cases where a test is using large images or videos that are being covered by the bar, and when tests are being offered one question at a time.

Short Explanation:

By making the instructions for a test artificially long, it is possible to push the bar off the screen. It will remain off the screen unless the Test Information text at the top of the test is clicked, which will collapse the instructions and make the bar visible. Clicking Test Information will hide the bar again.

Detailed Explanation:

In the default state, the bar will present itself on student tests as follows:

However, it turns out that the location of the bar is tied directly to the length of the Test Information section that shows at the beginning of the test. The bar is designed to always appear bellow this area so as not to block any instructions from students. The bar then stays in this position as a floating object, even when the screen is scrolled down.

For the length of directions that most instructors use, this causes the bar to float in the middle of the screen for students. However, making instructions longer will push the bar lower on the screen. The length of the instructions and the student’s screen size will determine whether the bar is pushed completely off the screen, but it should at least no longer float near the middle. The bar will remain off-screen (or lower on screen) even as the student scrolls down.

The bar can then be viewed at any time by clicking on the Test Information at the very beginning of the test. This will collapse the instructions and pull the bar back onto the student screen.

Clicking Test Information again will re-expand the instructions and hide the bar.

Known Issues:

  1. When a test is timed, the bar is the method that Blackboard used to give students time warnings. While the bar is hidden off-screen, students will not see any of these warnings.
  2. On certain sized large monitors, it is possible that the bar will not be pushed far enough down the page to be off the screen, but will instead float at near the bottom such that it conceals the Submit button for the test. In this case, students will have to return to the top of the exam and click Test Information to move the timer bar up, which will uncover the Submit button.

CC Douglas Hemphill – SUNY Oswego