D2L - Non-classroom Online Exam Strategies

Last Updated: 08/10/2018


Key aspects of successful online exams completed outside of class are good questions that cannot be easily Googled or looked up in course materials. Please keep in mind that there is no completely secure exam environment. For example, students might have several devices and blocking access to the Internet on one may not prevent them from accessing the Internet in other ways.

You may want to review the in-class online exam tutorial, as there is information you may want to adapt for your class.

Preparing Students for Taking an Online Exam

It is likely that some of your students have never taken a quiz or an exam online. You can have students take a Pre-Exam Practice Quiz to get familiarized with the D2L Quizzes tool and the process of taking an exam online. The Pre-Exam Practice Quiz could contain information that students need to know about the exam. For example, you can communicate to students that they need to turn on airplane mode on their extra wireless devices to improve network connectivity during the exam. Refer to the Pre-Exam Practice Quiz sample for guidance.

Suggestions for creating a Pre-Exam Practice Quiz:

  • Make the Pre-Exam Practice Quiz required. You can enforce the requirement by limiting access to the exam using the Release Conditions feature in D2L - you can set a condition for the exam to be visible only to those students who complete and/or get a certain score on the Pre-Exam Practice Quiz.
  • Set a deadline for the Pre-Exam Practice Quiz to be completed a few days before the exam.
  • Consider giving students some small amount of points for completing the quiz.
  • Display all the information that students need to remember in a Text Information field on the first page of the quiz, and have all the questions on the second page of the quiz.
  • Allow at least two attempts for the Pre-Exam Practice Quiz. The goal is to get students to review the information about the exam, and some might need an additional attempt to familiarize themselves with the content.

Academic Honesty and Related D2L Settings

Most of the D2L Quiz settings that we are referring to in this section are explained in the Create a Quiz tutorial.

  • Provide students with a CU Honor Code statement on the Start page of the exam. You can place it in the Description field on the Quiz Properties tab or add a question using the Academic Honesty Quiz Question Tutorial.
    • Sample statement: “When you click on Start Quiz below, you agree to honor the pledge: ‘On my honor, as a University of Colorado-Boulder student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance on this work.’ ”
  • Randomize the order of the questions. You can also create a large bank of questions and have multiple versions of the exam  (e.g. you can have 100 questions in the pool and have D2L pull 20 random questions out of the 100 total questions for each student).
  • Randomize answer options in each question (look for the Randomize Options checkbox in the question settings).  Watch out for answers like “All of the above”.
    • Use Submission View settings to determine what students see after they complete an exam. Use a Default Submission View for the duration of the exam to prevent students from sharing correct answers with each other and schedule an Additional View with correct answers to become active after the grades are released.
  • Use the Create Bonus Points and Mandatory Questions in Quizzes tutorial to require students to answer specific questions. 

Grading Online Exams

A major benefit of doing automatically graded online exams is that students can get timely access to their exam results and instructors can quickly adjust student grades if they find any of the exam questions are confusing or otherwise defective. The Question Details tab in the Quiz Statistics provides instructors with the distribution of answers for each multiple choice question and based on these results instructors can make a decision to throw out some of the questions from the exam. Then instructors can assign an equal amount of points to all the answer options to counteract the negative effect of the question on student exam scores.

I have two sections of a course that need to take the same exam at different times. What is the easiest way to copy the exam?

The easiest way is to copy the exam using “Copy Quiz” option and use Release Conditions to make the exam available only to the specific sections. But having two copies of the exam will also require two separate grade items. The Release Condition could be applied to the grade items as well. Put the two grade items into a category and set it to drop the lowest grade item to only include one of the exams in the students’ grade.

How can I give students who need a special accommodation more time to complete the exam?

You can use Special Access Permissions to set different availability dates and times for specific students.

I need students to see some information or instructions throughout the exam (e.g. Periodic table in a Chemistry exam). How can I add that information to a D2L Quiz?

If your exam has only one page, you can simply add a Text Information question type at the beginning of the quiz. If your exam has multiple pages, you can place that information in the Quiz Header (located on the Properties tab of the Quiz settings).

Can students use a tablet for online exams?

Tablets have various limitations and their screens are not easy to see for those proctoring the exam. We recommend using only laptops for online exams.

Is there an exam template that I can use?

No, currently there is no exam template available in D2L, but you can create your own template. Simply create a quiz with all the desired exam settings (without questions) and copy this template every time you need to create a new exam. You will only need to update time restrictions, questions, and the submission view release time.