Monitoring and Invigilating Exams in Progress

Online exams do not allow for the same level of supervision that you are accustomed to with in-person exams. While you can’t be in the same room as your students as they are writing their exams, there are steps you can take during exams to monitor and provide support to students.

Instructor / TA Availability During the Exam

Students need ways to reach you during the exam, preferably more than one in case there’s a technical issue that prevents them from accessing Canvas. We recommend you set up at least two of the following, and let your student know about these ways to contact you (and your TAs, if applicable)

  • run a Zoom session for supervising the exam in progress (see below). Add your TAs as moderators so they can chat privately with students.
  • monitor your email
  • ask your TAs to monitor their email
  • use other systems (Piazza, etc.) you’re already using in the course

Being Available During Your Exams with Zoom

With in-person final exams, you would typically arrive at the room 15-30 minutes early, make sure the room is set up and the exams are ready. When the students start coming in, you’d help them settle, answer any last-minute questions, and possibly say some encouraging words and instructions about the exam. All this relieves the students’ anxiety so they can focus on their exam.

You can do all this for your online exam, too, by starting a Zoom session 15-30 minutes before the exam begins. Display a document with a welcome and any instructions. Let your students know ahead of time they should “drop in” to the Zoom session before the exam begins.

Once the exam is underway, we recommend you stay in the Zoom session, and invite students to join the Zoom session during the exam if they have any questions.

See our Zoom page for information about using Zoom.

  • the Host needs a licensed copy, or the Zoom meeting will end after 40 minutes – see Getting Started with Zoom
  • set up a waiting room (enabled in the settings prior to starting the Zoom meeting) and several breakout rooms (set up within the meeting itself)
  • when scheduling the Zoom meeting room, do not use your Personal Meeting ID (Meeting ID should be set to “Generate Automatically”)
  • you may wish to require a meeting password, and provide the password and link to the Zoom meeting within a page in your Canvas course
  • ensure your meeting duration covers the full duration of your exam
  • lock the meeting once all participants have joined (or at a specific time, i.e. 5 minutes after start)
  • disable the option to allow participants to rename themselves
  • set the chat so participants can chat with the host only (three tiny dots on the right side of the chat window)
  • assign TAs to be Co-Hosts within the meeting (so they can also moderate)
  • depending on your computer, you can see up to 49 videos all on one screen

Moderate Your Canvas Quiz

Once you have published a quiz, the quiz sidebar shows the Moderate This Quiz link, which allows you to moderate the quiz for each student in your course. We recommend that you have the Moderate Quiz page opened while your students are writing their exam.

On the Moderate Quiz page you can view the progress of student submissions and view the number of quiz attempts each has taken. You can also grant students extra attempts, grant extra time for timed quizzes, and manually unlock quiz attempts.


  • Depending on the size of your course, Moderate Quiz information may take a few minutes to update. You may have to refresh the page to view the most current data.
  • If you change the quiz settings while a student is taking a quiz, the new settings will not apply until the student has completed the current attempt.

ⓘ More information:
Moderate a Classic Quiz
Moderate a New Quiz

Adjusting a Quiz in Progress

Once students start taking a Canvas quiz online, it is important to note that you must not adjust any of the quiz settings within Quiz Details page. Any adjustments made during the quiz must be made from the Moderate Quiz page. Adjustments made on the Quiz Details page will not take effect for any exams in progress.

Adding Extra Time to a Quiz in Progress

If a student is currently taking the quiz while you are viewing the Moderate Quiz page, you can extend their quiz time as part of their current attempt. This may be necessary if, for example, a student has technical difficulties after starting the exam, such as a network interruption (once they have started the quiz, the time remaining on quizzes with time limits continues to count down, regardless of whether the student is connected or not).

Adding an Extra Attempt to a Quiz in Progress

A quiz can be manually or automatically submitted. A manual submission occurs when a student clicks the Submit button. An automatic submission occurs when the Time Limit expires or when the Available Until date/time passes. If a student accidentally clicks the Submit button on a one-attempt quiz without having completed the quiz, you can grant them an extra attempt at the quiz. If the Available Until date/time has passed, you can grant a student an extra attempt by unlocking the quiz.

Note that when the student starts the new attempt, they are presented with a fresh version of the quiz (previously submitted answers are not displayed). Additionally, if the quiz uses question groups, the student may be presented with a different set of quiz questions. The instructor, however, can view the submitted answers for all attempts through the Speedgrader.

ⓘ More information:
Classic Quizzes

Moderate a Classic Quiz (view the “Extending Live Quiz Time” tab)
How to give students extra time (Canvas Community Guide)
How to give students extra attempts (Canvas Community Guide)

New Quizzes
Moderate a New Quiz (view the “Add Attempts or Extra Time” tab)
How do I moderate a student’s assessment attempt in New Quizzes? (Canvas Community Guide)

Quiz Warning Message for Outstanding Submissions

Canvas is set to automatically submit a quiz either when the time limit expires, or when the Until date/time passes. However, if a student navigates away from the quiz page without clicking Submit prior to the automatic submission, the quiz submission can remain outstanding. On the Moderate Quiz page,  you will see a warning: “There are outstanding quiz submissions.”

ⓘ More information:
How to manually submit outstanding quiz submissions (Canvas Community Guide)

Invigilating with Zoom

In an online exam not requiring Respondus Lockdown Browser, the instructor can have students run Zoom on their desktop and invigilate through the student’s webcam.

It is a good practice to try/rehearse these features out with your class in Zoom before the exam.

Respondus Lockdown Browser

Respondus Lockdown Browser (RLDB) is a web browser you can require students to use for Canvas quizzes. This web browser prevents students from accessing the rest of their computer until they have submitted the quiz. Instructors can activate Respondus Lockdown Browser in the Navigation tab of the Settings of their Canvas course. Along with best practices for online quizzes generally, there are a number of steps and precautions to take to ensure online quizzes go smoothly using this tool.

It is a good practice to try/rehearse a Respondus Lockdown Browser practice quiz with your class before the exam.

ⓘ More information:
Respondus Lockdown Browser

Invigilating with Zoom & Respondus Lockdown Browser

Respondus Lockdown Browser is a web browser application that students install, and when students run RLDB, it prompts them to disconnect extra monitors and close all other computer applications before allowing students to begin the quiz. RLDB is intended for use with an invigilator in the same physical space.

In a remote invigilation scenario, the student would need to use Zoom on another device (smart phone) to allow the invigilator to watch the student. This other device needs to be propped up to view both the student and the computer, and have enough network bandwidth and power to last the exam session.

It is a good practice to try/rehearse a Respondus Lockdown Browser practice quiz and Zoom with your class before the exam.