How do I set up online exams using the Quiz Tool in Brightspace?

Brightspace, Instructor Help

When using the Quiz Tool on Brightspace, there are several settings that can affect the testing experience for students. This guide details the settings that we recommend for final exams and the reasoning behind those recommendations. 


Start by adding a quiz. The recommended way to add a quiz is to:

  1. Go to Content in the Navigation bar of your Brightspace course (located underneath the UVic logo).
  2. Choose the module or topic where you would like to place the quiz.
  3. Click “Upload/Create” and then click “New Quiz” from the drop-down menu.

    If you use this method of quiz creation, please ensure you check the Optional Advanced Properties section below (i.e., the last section under “Step 1: Properties”).

Alternatively, If you wish to quickly add the quiz now and place it in a module later, go to “Course Tools” in the Navigation bar and choose “Quizzes” and then click “New Quiz”.

Next, set up your quiz settings: 

Step 1: Properties

When adding a quiz, you begin on the properties tab. The properties tab is where you can edit the higher-level and basic quiz settings like the name, the questions, and the description.

This section walks you through how to set up the major sections in the properties for a high stakes assessment (e.g. final exam or midterm).

General (Quiz name & category)

  • Give your quiz a name (e.g., Final Exam).
  • Choose a category (optional). Categories can be used to organize and manage related quizzes. For example, you could have a category for weekly lecture quizzes.

Quiz Questions

Add and edit your questions. When you add questions, you will have the opportunity to customize how those questions will be displayed within your exam: 

Questions per page: Consider breaking your exam up into several pages to help students situate themselves within the exam. Pick an even number, like 10 questions per page. 


Paging: Checking this box is not recommended. It will prevent students from moving backward through pages which can pose accessibility barriers for students. Allowing students to move through the quiz as they choose will reduce test anxiety and prevent them from fixating on questions that they are having trouble with for too long.  If you intend to prevent moving backwards, inform students well in advance so they have the opportunity to prepare new strategies and seek additional help if required. 

Shuffle questions at the quiz level: Checking this box will shuffle the questions and sections (if you have them set up) in your exam. Depending on the content of your exam, this can be a simple way to promote academic integrity in all types of exams, but particularly timed exams.

 When adding questions to your exam, you can select Add Question Pool. This will allow you to add a subset of questions from a larger pool, resulting in a different version of the exam for each student. There is a greater chance that each student will get different questions on their own exam if you have lots of questions you are pulling from compared to the total number of questions on the exam. If you feel you are able to create questions of equivalent difficulty, this can be a simple way to promote academic integrity in all types of exams, but particularly timed exams.


Academic Integrity Pledge 

Consider adding an Academic Integrity Pledge as a mandatory first question at the start of your exam. To make this simple, add our pre-created academic integrity pledge. If you want students to ‘sign’ the pledge by writing their name in response to a short answer bonus question, you can set the answer to a random series of letters so that when it is auto-graded, no student should get the correct answer and be awarded an extra point. You can designate a question as both ‘mandatory’ and ‘bonus’ by clicking Add/Edit Questionsselecting the checkbox of the question, clicking More Actions and Toggle Mandatory and Toggle Bonus.

Introduction [NEW PROCESS]

As part of the latest update for the Brightspace platform in July 2021, D2L has removed the dedicated Introduction field from the Quiz tool to reduce redundancy. If any quiz previously had text in the Introduction field, on clicking Edit, the text is automatically appended to the Description field. A message appears indicating that these two fields have been merged. Instructors can review the modified quiz description prior to saving the quiz.


If you utilized this feature in the past, you can now either include the introduction section in the Description field, or you can add a text area at the beginning of the quiz and include a welcome message along with any important instructions for completing the exam.


In this section, you may want to describe how you will be available if students have questions during the exam. Three examples are provided below (note: if you are using Respondus LockDown browser, students will not be able to leave the exam to ask questions).


  • Example 1 (for open book or flexibly-timed exam): If you find an exam question to be ambiguous or unclear, email your concerns to me at [email]. I will also be available at [date / times / location] to answer questions about the exam. I will try to respond to all questions during the exam period, but a response cannot be guaranteed. It is important, therefore, that you express any concerns over ambiguities on your exam and continue to answer questions to the best of your ability.
  • Example 2 (best for timed exams): If you find an exam question to be ambiguous or unclear, I will be available in Zoom [Link] to answer your questions. Please join the session and post your question in private chat. I will respond as soon as possible, but a response cannot be guaranteed. It is important, therefore, that you express any concerns over ambiguities on your exam and continue to answer questions to the best of your ability.
  • Example 3 (exam using LockDown Browser): If you find an exam question to be ambiguous or unclear, continue to answer questions to the best of your ability. After the exam, express any concerns over ambiguities on your exam by emailing me at [email].

Description (Optional)

Description: Click “On” – Add any information here you would like students to know about the quiz before it is available to them (e.g., information about what the exam covers, what it is worth, expected duration, what the format is (e.g., open/closed book; question type), what materials are allowed or required, what students can expect).

Note: let students know what materials they can use during the exam. For example the following guidelines might be giving for a closed book exam:

  • Use of the following materials during the exam is not permitted: course readings/textbook, lecture notes, Brightspace material, online searching of subject material/related exam questions, other materials.
  • Communicating with classmates regarding any aspect of the exam or course once you begin the exam is not permitted.
  • Posting or sharing the exam content, including exam questions, or your answers both during and after submission is not permitted.

Also let students know what to do if they find they cannot access the exam:

  • If you are not able to access the exam, please inform me immediately by email (email address). For technical assistance also contact 250-721-7687

    Header/Footer:  Click “On” – The header/footer is shown to students at the top and/or bottom of every quiz page. Consider adding information about what to do in case of unexpected interruption or technical difficulty.

    • Example: If you experience an unexpected interruption during the exam, please inform me immediately by email (email address). For technical assistance also contact 250-721-7687

    Optional Advanced Properties

    This section lets you customize whether quiz question hints appear to students, and whether students can use Brightspace Email during a quiz’s availability window:
      • Allow hints. If you design a quiz that includes hints, you can turn this setting on so that the hint for each quiz question will appear for students.
      • Disable Email, Instant Messages and alerts. If you turn this on, then students cannot access Brightspace Email and Instant Messages during the exam; this means that students cannot contact their instructor for assistance through Brightspace during the exam. Important: If you disable Email, Instant Messages, and alerts for a multi-day exam, or exam without an end date, students will be significantly impacted and lose access to these functions across all of Brightspace / all courses.

    Step 2: Restrictions (control access & timing)

    The restrictions tab is where you can adjust settings related to accessing a quiz, such as when your quiz is available and how long students have to complete it, if there are any actions that need to be completed before a student can access itand special access for particular students. 

    Important Note - Availability & Timing

     When setting up exam restrictions for a timed or flexibly timed exam, keep in mind that start date, end date, and timing are all important (and interact).


    Example Timed Exam – I am running an exam that starts at 10:00 am. Students can start the exam until 10:15 am. Students will have 1 hour to complete exam. Settings: Start Date – 10:00 am, End Date – 10:15 am, Enforced Time Limit – 1 hour


    Example Flexibly Timed Exam – I am running an exam that starts on Monday at 8:00 am and finishes on Friday 5:00 pm. Students will have 1 hour to complete the exam. Settings: Start Date – Monday 8:00 am, End Date – Friday 4:00pm, Enforced Time Limit – 1 hour


    NOTE: In the case where a student needs to start (or re-start) the exam after the end date has passed, special access can be used to allow for that. In real-time timed exams, this may occur if a student unexpectedly loses access during an exam (power loss, browser freezes) – they will need to be provided with Special Access in order to re-enter after this end time has passed. If the student is re-entering to continue an attempt, the student will not receive more time, their clock will continue to count down even if they are not in the quiz. If you would like to give your students additional time you can also add this using special access.


    For more information on the start date and end date, check out our resources How do I run a “real time” exam in a Brightspace Quiz? and How do I set restrictions for Quizzes by using a Start Date and/or an End Date?

    Availability (when should students be able to see and start the exam)

    Has Start Date: This is the time when you want students to be able to begin writing the exam. 

    Has End Date: Students must begin their exam before this time. Once this time arrives, students are no longer able to enter the exam. Once inside the exam however, end date doesn’t affect their ability to complete it; the length of time that a student has to complete the exam is affected by the “Enforced Time Limit” settings within the Timing section. 


    Display in Calendar: Checking this box will put both the start and end date for the exam in the student’s calendar for their convenience (see our help page). If you have a due date set, that date will automatically be added to the student’s calendar. This setting is particularly useful for open book or flexibly timed exams. 


     Hide from users: Content you create in Brightspace is typically hidden from users by default.  It will not display in the course until you decide. If this box is checked, students will not be able to see the quiz exists at all (regardless of any access dates you set and it won’t show up in their calendar). If this box is unchecked, students will be able to see the quiz exists and when it will be available to them however, they won’t be able to start until the start date/time that you set.


    Timings (how long should students have to write the exam)

    Use Enforced Time Limit to enable a time limit for students to complete the quiz. Enter the amount of time (in minutes) that students have to complete their exam. Remember that time pressures can increase test anxiety and can negatively affect a student’s ability to focus on what they know about the material. Be as generous as possible when setting a time limit on your exam. 

    • NOTE: the student has until the end of the time indicated in the End Date to start their exam but this does not affect the amount of time they have to complete it once inside the exam; the Enforced Time Limit and Due Date dictate this. For example, if you set your time limit to 2 hours and the exam ends at 12:00, the student will have until 11:59 to begin plus 2 hours from that point to finish.

    You can also set an amount of time that students have as a Grace Period to submit their exam after the time limit has expired. Note that this applies only to the enforced time limit; a quiz submitted after the due date will always be flagged late. The grace period can be helpful for students who wait until the last moment to click submit, but have a slow or unreliable internet connection. You have three options for what happens when the grace period expires and the exam has not been submitted: 

     Prevent the student from making further changes (recommended for traditional timed exams): The student will not be able to make changes after the grace period has passed, they will only be able to submit. Students may be confused and leave without clicking ‘submit’. If this happens, you will be able to access their exam to submit it manually afterwards on their behalf

      Allow the student to continue working (recommended for longer multiple day open book exams): The student may continue to make changes and submit after the grace period but the exam will be marked as late. You can manually deduct points for late submissions. This option is best for an open book exam where there are clear guidelines for late submissions (e.g., 5% per day)

    Allow the student to continue working but automatically score the attempt as zero after an extended deadlineThe student may continue to make changes to their exam and submit it after the grace period ends but when they do so, they will automatically receive a zero. If this happens, you can manually grade as much of their exam as you choose.

    Optional Advanced Properties

    You are able to set a Password that students will need to enter to access this quiz. To provide them with this, you would ask students to come to a Zoom meeting at the start of the exam, where you would display the password on the screen or in the chat box. This might give you a little more control over who is accessing the exam and when.

    For example, if a student is late for their exam, this will ensure that they have to come speak with you before accessing the test. At that point, you may decide to extend the amount of time they have by giving them Special Access or you might just provide reassurance during what is sure to be a stressful scenario.

    Note that adding an extra layer of security may increase the likelihood of technical challenges requiring troubleshooting. 

    If your exam is unexpectedly asking students for a password, check to make sure this field is empty, delete contents and save the exam.

    Add Special Access (Accommodations and Exam Interruptions)

    Use this section to grant special access to specific students in the course to allow a longer time limit or different dates/times that they can access the exam. Learn more in our resource How do I give students extra time on a quiz?

    Special access is frequently used to handle extended time for academic accommodations. Instructors are responsible for setting special access for students who require testing accommodations, however you can request LTSI set this up on your behalf. 

    Do not set up ‘Groups’ of students who require special access for academic accommodations because groups are student-facing, meaning students can see which peers are in various groups.

    Step 3: Assessment

    The assessment tab is where you can adjust settings related grading the quiz.


    Automatically Publish Evaluation: If you want the system to grade and display quiz attempts immediately on quiz completion depending on your Submission View settings (please see “Step 4: Submission Views” below), select the auto-publish check box. This means that as soon as a quiz is completed, the system will grade and display the default/additional Submission View for the quiz (e.g., showing the auto-graded attempt score). We usually recommend that you do not check Automatically Publish for a final exam; this ensures that you will have the opportunity to review grades before they are released to students.  

     Grade Item: Add the quiz to the gradebook by picking or creating a grade item. Keep in mind that you can score an quiz out of a particular number of points (say 100 points) but have the quiz worth a different weighting in the gradebook (say 7% or 7 points).  

    Synchronize to Grade Book: Check this box if you want the quiz to send auto-graded attempt scores directly to the gradebook (a grade item must be associated with the quiz). Keep in mind that if you haven’t checked auto-publish (see above), you must publish feedback on attempts on the Grade Quiz page before the quiz will auto-export the grades to the gradebook. If you would like to have manual control of the grade export from the quiz to the gradebook, we recommend you do not check synchronize to grade book. Manually exporting grades ensures that you will have the opportunity to review grades before they are released to students. You can export the grades manually after the quiz has been completed. 

    Student View Preview: This setting shows you a preview of how students will see their grades.


     Attempts Allowed: Decide how many attempts you will allow your students. Students can continue a previous attempt if they disconnect as long as they are within the start date and end date of the quiz.  Note: Keep in mind that you can give particular students more than one attempt by using special access (see above). You might need to give a student an additional attempt using special access if they accidently submit their quiz before they are finished. 

     Overall Grade Calculation: If you give students more than one quiz attempt, you will need to decide how their grade will be calculated

    Step 4: Submission Views

    The submission views tab is where you can adjust what students can (or can’t see) after they submit their quiz. 

    Default View

    Immediately after student submit the quiz they will see the default submission view. The default submission view shows students (1) a message that they have submitted their quiz (“Your quiz has been submitted successfully”) and (2) their score on the quiz (if you selected automatic grade). You have the option to edit the default view and change what is shown. For example, you can show questions or statistics. 

     We recommend that you edit the default view to uncheck show attempt score and overall attempt score. This ensures that you will have the opportunity to review grades before they are released to students. 

    Additional Views

    You can add an additional view if you would like to show more information to students at a later date. For example, you could set a view that shows students questions, statistics, or scores on a particular date. Setting up an additional view which shows which questions students got correct/incorrect is a great way to provide automatic feedback on students’ learning. 

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