Recommendations for conducting quizzes and exams online

Last updated: August 15, 2022

Many instructors are adapting exams to quizzes or assignments in Canvas. We ask that you take the quality of student internet service into account as you set up these exams. As more people work remotely or self-quarantine, residential internet upload and download speeds degrade.

We recommend the following strategies to provide as smooth an experience as possible for your students:

  1. Advise students to eliminate unnecessary use of their internet service when working in Canvas, such as coordinating with roommates.
  2. If using a timed quiz, set the time limit for slightly longer than you would for an in-person exam to accommodate students who might experience any internet slowness during the quiz. Canvas guide for quiz options*
  3. Set availability dates and times for the quiz to be open for slightly longer than your class period or the quiz time limit. This will provide a buffer for students who experience delays loading or submitting the quiz. Canvas guide for quiz availability*
  4. If you are using “File Upload” questions* in your timed quiz, please allow additional time for this process; student upload speeds will vary. Keep in mind that students may not all have access to high-quality scanning or camera options outside of campus.
  5. If you are using an assignment for students to submit their final exam, make sure that the availability dates* are set to allow a slightly longer window for students to view, download, or upload related files. You can set a due date for the allowed exam time; student submissions after this due date will be flagged as late.
  6. If you are using images in your quiz, make sure the images are stored in your current course. When instructors import a quiz that contains images or directly attach images from other courses, students in the current course will not be able to see the images because they do not have permission to view them. You need to save images in the Files section of the current course to ensure that students have appropriate access. This isn’t an issue if you’ve imported an entire course. In rare cases, students that happen to be enrolled in both the course where the images were originally saved and the new course, where the images are in a quiz but not saved to Files, will be able to see the images because they have permission from the previous course.
  7. If students are using a recent version of the Safari browser to take an online quiz, and your quiz includes images, they may encounter loading issues. You can suggest that they use a different browser, or adjust a setting in Safari.

If you are concerned about academic integrity and online quizzes:

  1. Limit the overall availability dates for the quiz to reduce opportunity to copy and share.
  2. Use question banks or question groups within the quiz in order to generate a different quiz or a different order of questions for each student. Learn more through the Canvas guides for using question groups* and question banks.
  3. If using the same set of questions, shuffle the answers to change the order for each student.
  4. Use essay questions or questions that ask students to show their work.

Time extensions for particular students can be achieved with the following two steps:

  1. If your quiz is timed, use the “moderate this quiz” function to add time or attempts. Canvas guide for moderating quizzes*
  2. Once you’ve adjusted the “moderate this quiz” function, you can then set up an alternative availability range and due date to extend the time for selected students.* When you add a due date in this manner, the original list of students becomes “everyone else” automatically.

*Canvas vendor documentation