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Preparing your computer for an online assessment

Technical issues can happen at any time, some are more preventable than others. Here are a few things that you can do to make sure that your computer is working optimally during an assessment.

1. Update your web browser

Make sure that you are using the most up to date version of a Brightspace supported browser. See the table below.

Tip: Install at least 2 of these browsers.  This way if you encounter a persistent issue with one browser, you can quickly switch over to another.

Brightspace Community Browser and Device Support
The following tables describe the supported browsers and devices that are recommended for your best Brightspace Community experience.

Operating Systems




Apple® Mac OS® Desktop

Microsoft® Windows® Desktop



2. Temporarily disable or reschedule operating system updates

Consider disabling or rescheduling any updates, especially for your operating system.

Windows: Managing Windows 10 updates
MAC: Managing MAC updates

Tip: Note that if you schedule updates for late at night and then turn off your computer, your computer may try to update first thing when you turn it back on.  Therefore, it is important to avoid turning on your computer moments before an assessment.

3. Avoid updating software moments before an assessment

When it comes to computer software, most prefer to stay up to date. However, if your system is working moments before your exam, avoid starting any unnecessary updates.

4. Pause all streaming, social media and unnecessary notifications

In order to ensure that you and your computer, are focused on the task at hand, disable or pause any streaming or downloading  activities that your computer may be doing in the background. Disable any unnecessary notifications before your exam as well.

Tip: If you enjoy music playing in the background, download your music beforehand and if possible, set your music streaming service to offline mode.

5. Don't Forget to Submit

Make sure to read all instructions before starting an assessment and when you have completed the assessment, make sure to click on the Submit before leaving your assessment.

Tip: Some assessment instructions may be available before the assessment availability. Take a moment to review any available information.

6. If all else fails…

Sometimes your best-laid plans don't pan out.  Being prepared is all you can do, so if you do encounter technical issues during the exam period, here's what you can do.

  • First, take a deep breath, and then try to log back in as soon as possible.
  • If the assessment is no longer visible, notify your instructor immediately.
  • If you see an error or are unable to reconnect to Brightspace, contact Brightspace support using one of the following methods.

Assistance Form
Chat and Assistance Portal
Note that support is available 24/7.

If your browser freezes or crashes during an assessment, we ask that you also contact Brightspace support. And in the event of a browser crash, note the time of the crash. If possible, include a screen capture of any errors displayed.

Tip: Before starting an assessment, gather the following information on what you are using and keep it on hand in case you require support.

  • The browser (i.e. Firefox, Chrome, etc.)
  • The type of computer (i.e. PC or Mac)
  • Time of Assessment

How are you feeling?

During this complex and rapidly evolving global situation around the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, and we want to highlight the options available to you about how to access mental health support from the comfort of your home, whether it is online, via telephone or off-campus.

We'd like to remind you that there are many resources available if you are experiencing mental health issues. If you feel distressed and need immediate help, please see the University's emergency contacts page.


Teaching and Learning Support Service (TLSS)

Vanier Hall - Room 1001
136 Jean-Jacques Lussier
Ottawa (Ontario) K1N 6N5
Email: saea-tlss@uOttawa.ca 

Office hours
Monday to Friday
8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
(June 1st to August 31st closed at 3:00 p.m.)
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