Online Assesments

The steps and processes to take when converting your major assessments to online learning.

How To Use This Page

  • The advice in this page applies only where an exam type assessment is still required for a course. Where possible, faculty could consider alternate types of assessment that meet the required learning outcomes of the exam, aligned with the advice from  ad.academic@lassonde.yorku.ca  .
  • The term virtual exams will be used in this page. Online exams require specialized software that includes sophisticated remote proctoring and identification capabilities that is not available at this time.
  • Please first look at the general guidelines for adapting face-to-face exams to virtual exams.
  • Below the general guidelines, we have created easy to use toggles to help you decide which type of virtual exam you should use.  Please choose the type of virtual exam that is aligned with your face-to-face exam.
  • For an overview, please refer to this document: Alternative Exam Formats
  • We have held a number of live webinars for Lassonde faculties on this topic:
  • If you have questions regarding academic integrity, please take a look at this page.

General Guidelines for Creating Virtual Exams

  • There are two aspects of traditional final exams that we CANNOT count on for this semester:
    • Proctored – There is NO access to online exam products that can provide proctoring capabilities. We will have to assume students have access to and will use course and other information during the exam – Consider final assessments as open book
    • Timed – The timing of assessments is challenging to monitor at a distance, so if time completion is NOT a critical factor in student success, then consider allowing increased time.
  • Open Book: Virtual exams are a type of open book exam. Instructors to devise questions that require students to answer in critical and analytical ways encouraging high-order thinking skills, rather than rote learning and superficial application of knowledge. Students can access course materials while undertaking the exam.
  • Synchronicity: Consider if you want to run a synchronous virtual exam (where everyone is taking the exam at the same set time) or an asynchronous virtual exam (where there is a time window in which the exam could be taken). Note: the original ‘in person’ exam schedule remains posted and we recommend instructors use those times for virtual exams.
  • Timing: If you are running a synchronous virtual exam, you should allow more time than a regular face to face exam, to deal with any technology issues, as well as recognizing that students are having to manage in an unfamiliar format. Generally it is advised to add an extra 1 hour to a 2 or 3 hour exam.
  • Identity of students: While it is more difficult to confirm a student’s identity in virtual exams, one of the main tactics that can be used to address this is to conduct all access and submission of exam questions through the course Moodle site, where a student has to be logged in themselves. Approaches such as emailing or using third party applications are not as robust
  • Minimize Change: Keep your adapted assessment as close as possible to current campus-based assessment recognizing that rote/memory-based questions do not generally work well on open book exams
  • Inclusivity and Reliability: Be as inclusive, accessible, valid, and reliable as possible
  • Keep it simple: Low-tech options can be preferable at this point in the semester
  • Isolation: Consider the complications and challenges students are experiencing while in self-isolation.

Options for Adapting Face-to-Face Exams to Virtual Exams

If the exam focuses on information recall and simple calculations

  • Recommended approach: A multiple-choice quiz set up through the Moodle’s Quiz Activity. Questions appear in a random order for students.
  • Suitable for: Knowledge and information recall. Basic calculations, or simple solutions to problems.
  • How to:
    • Create exam in Moodle quiz using multiple- choice or calculated simple or multiple- choice questions.
      • Randomize question order and answer order.
    • Distribute through a Moodle’s Quiz Activity, available at a specific date and time.
    • Submission through the Moodle quiz.
    • Here is a video tutorial on using Quiz Activity in Moodle.

If the exam focuses on solving scoped problems where the right answer had to be found

  • Recommended approach: Create an open-book exam released to all students at the same time, but different groups of students receive either different questions or different numbers in the questions.
  • Suitable for: Scoped problems and procedural questions. Can ask questionswhere there is a right answer to be found.
  • How to:
    • Create 2-3 different “versions” of exams in a Word/PDF format
    • Distribute to students using Moodle’s Assignment Activity.  Each version of exam is assigned to a group of students, available at a specific date/time.
    • Submission through Moodle at a specific date and time. Submission could be photos of the student’s worked solutions or a word document.
    • A tutorial video on using Assignment Activity on Moodle is available here.

If the exam focuses on solving scoped problems that do not involve finding the right answer

  • Recommended approach: Create an open-book exam released to all students at the same time.
  • Suitable for:Scoped problems and in some cases procedural questions.
  • How to:
    • Write the exam in a word/pdf format.
    • Distribute to students using Moodle’s Assignment Activity, made available to students at a specific date/time.
    • Submission through Moodle at a specific date and time. Submission could be photos of the student’s worked solutions or a word document.
    • A tutorial video on using Assignment Activity on Moodle is available here.

If the exam involves a mixture of knowledge recall, simple calculations, as well as solving scoped problems

  • Recommended approach: Create an open-book exam paper where one question is released at a time for students to complete before moving onto the next.
  • Suitable for: Scoped problems where there are right answers to be found.
  • How to:
    • Write the exam in a word/pdf format, separating out each question for separate release.
    • Distribute through a Moodle’s Assignment Activity, with different questions available at different times on a specific date
    • Submission through Moodle Assignment Activity, with specific due date/time, with each questions submitted separated.  Submission could be photos or word documents.
    • A tutorial video on using Assignment Activity on Moodle is available here.

If the exam focuses on procedural approaches

  • Recommended approach:A standard open-book exam where questions are delivered through a Moodle quiz and students upload photos of their working.
  • Suitable for:Problems that are longer or more complex, where procedural approaches are being tested.
  • How to:
    • Create exam in Moodle’s Quiz Activity using the Essay type, that allows the uploading of files (pictures of student working).
    • Distribute through a Moodle’s Quiz Activity, available at a specific date and time.
    • Submission through the Moodle’s Quiz Activity through uploading photos.
    • Here is a video tutorial on using Quiz Activity in Moodle.

If the exam focuses on real world problems

  • Recommended approach: Create an open-book exam that students can complete in their own time, usually over a few days
  • Suitable for: Real-world and open- ended problems that require higher-order thinking skills.
  • How to:
    • Write the exam in a word/pdf format
    • Distribute through a Moodle’s Assignment Activity, available at a specific date and time.
    • Students will submit through Moodle at a specific date and time. Submission could be photos of the student’s working or a word document.
    • A tutorial video on using Assignment Activity on Moodle is available here.

What is not available

At this stage the university is not able to support:

  • normal face-to-face end of semester exams
  • online, close-book, proctored exams

This is due to the large number of universities seeking this service from a limited number of providers.

Additional Support

References and Additional Resources

Here is a list of resources used in the creation of the Assessment section of LassondeLearn.ca:

Useful Guides on using Moodle:

Useful guides from Learning Technology Services on using Moodle, TurnItIn, and Crowdmark:

For useful guides on writing open book exams and questions, look at the following resources:

Links Specific for Live Webinar Participants