Real time (synchronous) exams can be administered in Brightspace using the quiz tool. There are three important settings to consider:
- Start date / time: This is the earliest possible date and time students can start the exam.
- End date / time: This is the latest possible date and time students can START the exam.
- Duration: This is the length of time students have to write the exam once they start.
The start/end access times are used to define the “start window” for the exam – much like how students are required to arrive at the exam room on time. Because of the online context, it is a good idea to give a grace period for starting the exam (e.g. 15 minutes) to allow for technology difficulties. Once students start the exam, they can complete it over the specified duration.
For example, if you’d like to hold an exam at 9am that lasts for 2 hours, you could use these settings:
- Set the start date to 9:00 AM.
- Set the end date to 9:15 AM.
- Set the time limit to 120 minutes.
This would give students a 15-minute window to start the exam. If students start at 9:00, then they have until 11:00 to complete. If students start at 9:15 they will end at 11:15. Note that in the submission view you will be able to see what time the student accessed the exam and the duration of their attempt.
Best practices for time limited exams
Please keep in mind that creating a short window in which students can join an exam may create technical difficulties and pose accessibility issues. Whenever possible, the literature recommends adopting alternative forms of assessment in online learning. Where an exam is needed, a common practice is to provide a larger window (e.g., 1 week) during which students have a specified duration of time to complete the exam).
If a time-limited synchronous exam is required, contact email@example.com for support with your quiz settings. It is recommended that you be available in a live Zoom session for students during the exam to respond to questions or issues. For example, you might have students who have technical issues and are late to join the exam, and if the start window has passed, they will not be able to attempt the exam. Or in rare occasions, a student may lose access during the exam and not be able to re-enter. In these cases, “Special Access” in quiz settings can be used by the instructor or invigilator to grant re-entry / late entry and extra or modified amount of time for the exam.