Picture of a statistics final exam

Setting up an Online Exam

As we approach the end of the semester, faculty are gearing up for exams.  Instead of reading through a stack of blue books or trying to keep track of a bunch of emailed documents, it may be easier to set up your exam in Moodle.  Depending on the nature of the exam, there are a few different approaches to consider.

Untimed Take Home Exam

In the simplest case, students work on the exam at their own pace and submit a document by a due date.  A Moodle assignment is the easiest way to go.  You can set a due date, see when students have submitted their paper (and who has not made a submission), and grant extensions as needed.  It is easy to download all the files to grade or you can use Moodle’s online grading interface.

If students will be writing instead of typing, there are high quality scanners available in the Libraries and Media Center available to convert paper PDF files.  See more information on our scanning documents for Moodle help page.

See our help page on setting up an assignment in Moodle for more information and instructions.

Timed Take Home Exam

In the case of a timed exam, use the Moodle quiz activity.  The most common use of this feature is to set a window in which the exam is active and a maximum time.  For example, the quiz can be made available from Monday at noon to Wednesday at noon and students have up to 2 hours to complete the exam any time within the window.  It is possible to set overrides to accomodate students with an alternate schedule.

If the exam consists of long-answer responses, it is probably easiest to have students type their responses in Google Docs or Microsoft Word.  As with the assignment, for handwritten work we recommend students scan their documents in the Library or Media Center.  The quiz can consist of a single question that asks students to upload a file.  It is also possible to add in short answer and multiple choice type questions.

See the Creating a timed take-home exam in Moodle page for step-by-step instructions.

In-Class Exam

An in-class exam can work the same way as the timed take home exam.  You may want to hold the exam in a room with computers such as Trotter 201, McCabe 306, or the Language Center in case all students don’t have laptops.  Alternatively, computers are available for checkout from Media Services if a professor needs to borrow a few loaners for students without laptops or as insurance against a computer problem.  Students can check out Chromebooks from Media Services.

If the exam is closed-book and there is a concern that students might access external websites, it is possible to set up the Honors Exam software in one of the computer labs.  This software has its own testing interface and blocks access to other websites.  It takes a bit longer to set up and requires the help of ITS staff, but is the more secure option.


Please get in touch with your Academic Technologist if you have any questions about how to administer an online exam.