Recommendations & Best Practices for Take Home Exams in Canvas

General Notes

  • Unlike other learning management systems, a Canvas quiz submits each student answer the moment it is answered. Canvas also tests for an active internet connection. If network connections are lost during an exam, a warning is immediately displayed for the student to re-connect before continuing the exam. These features eliminate the need for students to make a hard copy of their quiz answers to safeguard against network failures or browser crashes. 
  • Browser Closing/Machine Crashes: If a browser is accidentally closed during an exam attempt, the student will have the option to resume the exam and continue where they left off. In the event the browser or machine crashes, the exam will automatically resume the exam where the student left off.
  • Timed quizzes and exams: If a time limit is set on an exam, and the browser is closed (accidentally by a crash, or purposefully by the student), the exam clock will continue to run. The student can re-join the exam until either the allowable time or the available date/time has past.
  • Essay questions: Quiz answers are automatically saved when the student selects an answer. In the event of an essay question, the answer will be saved when the student moves on to the next question.

    Tip: Students can save what they have typed so far in a long format or essay question by simply clicking out of the answer's text box!

For Students

Do use a recommended browser:

  • Chrome 79 and 80
  • Firefox 72 and 73 (Extended Releases are not supported*)
  • Edge 79 and 80
  • Respondus Lockdown Browser (supporting the latest system requirements)
  • Safari 12 and 13 (Macintosh only)
  • Do use a wired ethernet connection to connect to the internet, and disable your wireless connectivity when taking an online exam. Wireless internet may be unreliable at times, which could prevent your answers from being saved or submitted correctly. An interruption in network connectivity will generate a warning to reconnect to the network before continuing.  
  • Do plug in computers/laptops to AC power. If a computer dies during an exam, you can re-login and pick up where you left off in the exam. However please be aware that if a timer is set on the exam, it's clock continues to countdown.
  • Do follow the honor code when taking the exam.
  • Do not use your browser's Back and Forward buttons. This can cause problems with your assignment (may get automatically submitted, answers may get overwritten, etc).
  • Do use your course's Canvas Chat tool for remote support during your exam.  Open Canvas chat in a separate browser window before beginning your exam.  Both your course staff and EdTech will be monitoring for any of your questions or troubleshooting.

For Exam Administrators

  • Do set a Time Limit, Availability Start/End dates and times for your exam.  For the most equitable exam taking experience, our recommendation is to set a time limit, and a WIDE availability window.  This way all students have the same amount of time to take the exam, even if they start late (many choose to start late).  We recommend a wide availability window (+30-60 minutes more than your official end time of the exam) to make sure that everyone’s time limit runs out BEFORE the availability window closes.  Exams will auto-submit when the time limit runs out or when the availability window ends, whichever comes first (thus the recommendation for a wide availability window).
  • Passwords. If your exam is to be given in a classroom, we recommend a password (select "Require An Access Code") to control when and where students start the exam.  They won’t be able to access the exam until they have the password which you can give in class when you want them to start. 
  • Do NOT set a Due Date.  Due dates only serve to mark if an exam was submitted on time (in the grade book a late assignment is marked in red).  They don't cause an autosubmit, so functionally have no effect on a student's exam taking experience other than potentially causing confusion.  Don't use them for exams.
  • Do NOT use LockDown Browser.  The use of LockDown Browser shuts down access to other online resources which is counter the universities policy of requiring that take-home exams be open book.
  • Do plug in computers/laptops to AC power. If a computer dies during an exam, the student can re-login and pick up where they left off in the exam. However, if a timer is set on the exam, it's clock continues to countdown, even when a student is inadvertently logged out of the exam.
  • Do use an ethernet connection, if possible, to ensure stable internet connectivity, and have wireless connections disabled
  • Do use a recommended browser for browsing Canvas (see above in "For Students")
  • Do include the honor code statement at the start of your exam, either as Agree/Disagree multiple choice question, or in the assignment introduction.
  • Do use images less than 600 pixels wide, to prevent horizontal scrolling of the browser, which may cause students to overlook parts of the image.
  • Do ensure images used in exams can be viewed by the students. Images used in exams, and the folders that contain them, should be marked as "Published" or  "Only available to students with link" in Canvas Files. In addition, their Usage Rights MUST be set.
  • Do use "Exam Muting" or set the review "student responses" and "show correct answers" dates to a date after all students have taken the exam. When allowing the students to review their answers along with the correct answers, failure to set a feedback release date may potentially allow students to view/print the correct answers before all students have completed the exam. 
  • Do display all the questions on one page for your exam, or at least each part on its own page. Students prefer to be able to skim through questions quickly, and having each question on its own page is very slow and tedious to browse.
  • Do let EdTech know if there are any students needing special accommodations as much in advance as possible. We may need to reserve extra rooms and computers for you. Contact us by email at Canvas Support.
  • By default Canvas shows the students their exam score after submission.  If you want to hold back scores until after you review/grade questions, you can "mute" the exam.  To mute an exam go to Grades, roll over the column header for the exam, click the down arrow and select "Mute Assignment".
  • If you have images in your exam, place all exam images in one folder in Files.  Publish each individual image, but use Restricted Access "Restricted Access: Only available to students with link" setting to prevent students from seeing the images prior to the exam. 
  • Double-check your time limit, due date and available dates in your exam settings.  If you have students with accommodations, please make sure that your due date and available dates take their exam time into account.
  • If you have students taking an exam at a different time, you can add a separate assigned due date and available times by clicking “+Add” under “Assign”
  • Once you have published the exam, you can extend the time limit for students with accommodations.  In Quizzes click on the exam, then click on "Moderate This Quiz" on the right.  Click the pencil/edit icon to the right of the student’s name and enter in the extension as appropriate.
  • If you have regraded an exam, it will take a few minutes before the new quiz statistics will display.

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