Monitoring 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.

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 Collaborate Ultra or Zoom session 15-30 minutes before the exam begins. Upload a document with a welcome and any instructions. Let your students know ahead of time they should “drop in” to the Ultra or Zoom session before the exam begins.

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

See our Teaching Online page for information about using Collaborate Ultra or Zoom.

Collaborate Ultra Considerations

  • make sure to turn off Guest access (have students log in to the session from your course)
  • you may wish to turn off the draw on whiteboard feature (so only moderators can draw on the whiteboard)
  • set the Private chat so the participants can only chat privately with moderators (to prevent students from chatting with each other during the exam)
  • Assign TAs to be moderators within the Ultra session
  • Note: in Collaborate Ultra you can only see 2-4 videos at a time, and you can not select individual students to view their video stream. Set up Breakout Groups with no more than 4 students per group.

Zoom Considerations

  • the Host needs a licensed copy, or the Zoom meeting will end after 40 minutes - obtain your license by emailing
  • 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

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.

Moderate Quiz Page

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. Note that you will need to refresh the page using the refresh icon to view the most current data (the data shown is a snapshot in time).

  1. In Course Navigation, click the Quizzes link.
  2. Click on the name of your final exam quiz.
  3. In the right sidebar (or below the quiz information, if you have a narrow browser window), click Moderate This Quiz.
  4. The Moderate Quiz page displays the list of students assigned to the quiz, with details including:
    • the number of times the student has attempted the quiz
    • one of three possible time values:
      1. the time it took for the student to complete the quiz (if completed)
      2. a running time (counting up) showing the amount of time passed since the student started the quiz (if no time limit)
      3. the remaining time (counting down, and followed by a clock icon ) the student has to complete the quiz (if there is a time limit set)
    • the number of attempts remaining
    • the quiz score (if submitted) - note: DRC students with extra time accommodations will indicate a score of 0 prior to submission
    • an edit icon

More information: How to use the Moderate Quiz Page

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).

  1. With a quiz in progress, in the Moderate Quiz page, click the clock icon to extend the time limit for an individual student.
  2. Enter the extra time in minutes, and select that the extra time is to be added to "the current end time". Note that you can also end the quiz a set amount of time from "now", but this can actually reduce the amount of time available to students if not entered correctly.
  3. Click the Extend Time button.
  4. Note that availability dates/times still apply when moderating a quiz. If the Until date that you set in the Quiz Details page passes before the extended time limit is up, the quiz will auto-submit even if the student's extension has not expired.

More information: How to give students extra time

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.

  1. In the Moderate Quiz page, click the pencil icon to edit student extensions for an individual student.
  2. Enter the number of extra attempts for the student.
  3. If it is past the Available Until date/time, select the checkbox next to Manually unlock the quiz for the next attempt.
  4. Click the Save button.

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). The instructor, however, can view the submitted answers for all attempts through the Speedgrader.

More information: How to give students extra attempts

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."

  1. After a quiz has completed, in the Moderate Quiz page, click on the Check on outstanding quiz submissions link.
  2. Select the checkbox next to each student's name.
  3. Click the Submit button.

More information: How to manually submit outstanding quiz submissions

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 an Ultra or Zoom session for supervising the exam in progress (see above). 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