New Canvas resource for testing accommodations makes reservations more efficient 

Joelle DiPaolo, News Reporter

Professors can now schedule exams for students who need testing accommodations on Canvas by using a new resource that is intended to make the reservation process easier. 

RegisterBlast is a test reservation system that allows teachers to reserve space in the Campus Testing Center for students who need certain accommodations to take tests, said Jamie Coughlin, assistive technology and testing coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities. RegisterBlast will be instructor-initiated as opposed to the previous student-oriented system and will make scheduling more efficient, Coughlin said in an email.

Teachers notify students to reserve a seat for a test in the CTC after they schedule their exams using the Canvas feature, according to the Testing and Evaluation Services website

Mathematics professor Charles Radin, who has used the new system, said RegisterBlast is useful for the math department because there are a large number of tests. 

“We teach a lot of students,” Radin said. “This service is unusually useful to math more so than anyplace, because we have just so many students who use so many tests.” 

Chemistry freshman Autumn Rose said although she has not taken a test scheduled through RegisterBlast, she is worried the new system will not be as effective as the previous one since it places the responsibility on the teachers. 

“I like the old setup,” Rose said. “Because at least then you knew that you had done your part. Now I feel like it’s more likely that students are going to have to be emailing their teachers and our teachers might not respond.”

Originally, students filled out forms through the testing module on the SSD website and registered for their test 10 business days prior to the exam date. Then, the teacher would have five business days to confirm the exam. With RegisterBlast, teachers submit their exam information into Canvas five business days in advance, and students have to reserve a seat at the center three business days in advance. 

Coughlin said the CTC, which opened last semester, purchased RegisterBlast. She said because there is more space in the CTC than in the SSD office — where students needing accommodations previously took tests — it is easier to arrange space for testing so exams do not need to be registered as far in advance. 

“The SSD office space is not designed to be a testing center,” Coughlin said. “The new pilot with the Campus Testing Center provides more seats for students and a centralized location to accommodate testing.” 

Radin said his students need to take their tests at the same time, so he likes that the new system is initiated by professors so he can ensure students are taking the test on the appropriate day. He said he is glad the software was introduced. 

“All I do is bring up a webpage,” Radin said. “It takes 10 to 15 minutes. I think on principle, the software is quite easy.”