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In general, Aalto level instructions are followed. These instructions extend the Aalto common instructions in cases specific for the CS department.

NOTE the useful webinars and their recordings at

Online contacts between teachers, TAs and students

Depending on the exact needs, use either Zoom or Teams. Both are available at Aalto, and both should have enough capacity.

Online lectures

For giving online lectures for a large class, with the need to share a screen/slides, and the need to restrict who is allowed to use their audio/video, Zoom is more suitable than Teams. Quick technical instructions:

Online excercise sessions

Excercise tutoring sessions, where teaching assistants support individual students' questions, can be given online, as well. In instant needs where students would like to talk with a TA or a TA wants to contact students, Teams is more suitable than Zoom. Teams is available for Linux and Mac, in addition to Windows computers - and for Android mobile devices, if the students want to use e.g. their tablets. In Linux, prefer the client instead of the browser. Quick technical instructions:

How to implement the excercise sessions as a combination of A+ and Teams

What is needed for this:

  • The TA and the students need to upload the Teams client - see the quick guide above for a link
  • The teacher needs to instruct their students about uploading the Teams client
  • If students want to practice using Teams and the screen share, a) could they practice together with each other (with the idea that it is nice to contact and discuss with course mates every now and then) and b) common practice sessions can be arranged


  • exams: "An exam can be defined as “an on purpose created problem situation included in education” of which the student has to manage with his/her knowing. The exam situation includes measurement, external control, achievement assessment, linkage to real life and requirements from the society. In comparison to other methods of passing courses, examining often refers to summative assessment. In summative assessment the results are used to grade students at the end of a course or at the end of a programme. Thus, summative assessment takes place after teaching is concluded" (Rytkönen & Myyry 2014)

  • compare online exams and proctored exams - prioritize online exams whenever possible!

  • if you write instructions or restrictions for the exam (e.g. that googling or using course material is not allowed), make students accept the rules explicitly and beforehand! (this can be done e.g. with a radio button question in MyCourses/A+) If you don't ask students of acceptance, you cannot use breaking against the instructions for failing the exam submission!

These instructions extend the Aalto common instructions for examining. Note the

Online exams

What are online exams?

  • an exam situation in which
    • the student uses a computer and Internet for creating and submitting the answer
    • the physical place where the student takes the exam is not restricted - the students can be anywhere suitable for them
    • the exam time is typically restricted so that all students take the exam at the same time with each other. Also an exam period of e.g. one week can be used, within which the exam time can be restricted to e.g. 3h encounted from the time stamp when the student opens the questions for the first time. Whether an exam period is available depends on the system used.
  • Want to read more?

Compared to traditionally invigilated pen and paper exams in lecture halls

Student experiences

Students may perceive the online exam situation as more relaxing, more challenging, or more stressful than a traditional pen and paper exam situation. This depends on the students' personality and previous exam experiences. Most typically, the first time taking a different type of exam than used to is more stressful, just because of the difference.

In the article above (2014, page 6), you'll find a comparative table on student experiences. As a teacher, the observations are important to take into account when designing the exam.

From teacher perspective, you need to understand, that

  • as a teacher, you cannot control student behavior in the exam situation.
    • you don’t know whether the student answers to the exam question themselves
      • But, you can prepare for this; see instructions below
      • Note, though, that giving their username to someone else is against university regulations and breaking against them is a severe issue.
    • you don’t know whether the student answers to the exam questions alone
      • You can prepare for this, as well, by designing the exam method (i.e. how the exam is designed)
    • all material in the world is available
      • Benefit from this and use more complex assignments which require applying skills instead of repeating what is available.
  • You can only control the exam properties: time, method and contents. Therefore, focus on designing these!


  • Use at least one essay type of question in which students need to reflect on what they have learned. This can be e.g.
    • an explanation/resoning to another exam assignment solution (e.g. programming assignment which is automatically assessed)
    • attach a piece of code / sql query in the assignment and ask students to describe in own words what the code does or should do 
  • Use randomized questions
    • one question basket should have ca five alternatives
  • avoid too complex or open-ended questions - students can use 1-10 hours for weekly programming assignments and that is ok, but in the exam situation the time slot is restricted, and all students should still have the same opportunities to manage the exam
  • you can consider recommending students to collaborate in answering - in that way you would have less submissions to assess. Most likely, students don't want to take the opportunity, because the online exam situation is enough stressful as is, and few students have experiences in online collaboration (but, recommending collaboration you can imply that it is acceptable)
  • consider using plagiarism control - if you use essay types of questions, similarities are easy to observe.

If you want to discuss, which alternative would be most suitable for your needs, feel free to contact us at (which reaches us all) or call Anni Rytkönen via Teams or phone.

Instructions for teachers using A+ in their courses

  • You can use A+ also in your exam - or, you can choose to use MyCourses
    • A+ supports randomized questionnaires: questions can be selected randomly from a question pool and it is also possible to select answer alternatives randomly from a pool inside a single question. The a-plus-rst-tools README has information about the options.
    • Automatic A+ exercise graders support randomly generated instances that can be used to vary some parts of the exercise. More info in aplus-manual.
    • If you need randomized exercises, particularly quizzes, MyCourses may be more suitable for some usecases. They are described below in the MyCourses section.
    • A+ does not support exam periods, however, MyCourses does.
    • If you want to use automatically assessed assignments → we can assist you in creating the exam assignment; contact us at
  • If you choose to use A+,
    • create a new assignment (using an existing one would encourage students to copy their previous responses)
    • choose at most one assignment per exam hour - for example, three assignments for a three-hour exam
    • create a new module (exercise round) in the A+ course and add exam exercises into that module. Set the module opening and closing times for the exam. Students can not open the exercises before the opening time and they can not submit after the closing time.
    • use Late submissions (NO late penalty, NO unofficial submissions allowed!), AND use a strict deadline ca 5 mins after the normal module closing time - this gives the students an opportunity to submit a bit late but not much; e.g. in cases where students forget to observe the clock, or if their clock is in different time from the A+ server clock.
      • Note that unofficial submissions are disabled by default if you haven't changed it. The setting is part of the exercise category.

Instructions for teachers using Jupyter in their courses

  • You can use JupyterHub also in your exam
    • You align your teaching and assessment methods by using the same tools during the course and exam
    • If you use JupyterHub in your exam, we recommend you to use similar types of assignments which you have used during the course
    • Support for technical questions, as always, via
  • Or, you can choose to use MyCourses
    • Most likely students are familiar with MyCourses after studying at Aalto for a couple of years
    • If you have any specific needs concerning the exam, we recommend you to take a look at the MyCourses opportunities below

Instructions for teachers using MyCourses in their courses

Proctored exams

What are proctored exams?

  • the student takes the exam "at home" (or in another suitable place), alone and independently, and without any material ("a closed-book exam")
  • the exam is invigilated /proctored via Teams (NOTE: not Zoom!)
  • students give their consent for the video surveillance beforehand (use, for example, the Choice activity in MyCourses for this)
  • an invigilator observes the exam situation via video and audio and makes notes in an exam protocol
  • the exam is NOT recorded
  • each student can see and hear only the invigilator via the conferencing system; students cannot see each other
  • a proctored exam situation can take at most 2 hours (because in longer exams the students should be able to leave the camera view for e.g. the toilet)

In general, proctored exams are not recommended! Please use online exams instead. If you insist on having a proctored exam, please follow the instructions.

Case A: you have EXACTLY ONE student who needs a proctored exam for special needs

  • You can have for example oral exams for individual students' special needs. An oral exam is easier for you to implement than proctored electronic or pen and paper exams
  • If you want to have written electronic or pen and paper exam for one student, you can proctor it yourself, and use Teams
  • ask the student to install Teams - see instructions at
  • ask the student to show their student card to the camera so that you can check it
  • the student is not allowed to leave the camera view during the exam
  • Do not record the exam; instead, make notes in an exam protocol
    • If you have suspicions on fraud (vilppi in Finnish), you can take a photograph of the situation (for example, if the student leaves the camera view without permission) and include it in the exam protocol

Case B: you have AT LEAST TWO students who you want to take a proctored exam

  • If you need to implement a pen and paper or electronic exam for more than one individual student, use spot-checking (in Finnish pistokokeet) for proctoring
  • Share the exam questions and collect responses with the Assignment activity in MyCourses. To hide and show the exam only at the specific exam time slot, see the instructions in the green box above.
  • Use Teams with video and audio for the proctoring
  • The invigilator (in Finnish tentin valvoja) calls a video call with Teams at random times during the exam to the students participating in the exam
  • The students need to install Teams on their computer or mobile phone, and log in with their Aalto username - see instructions at
    • if you have a pen and paper exam, the mobile phone is enough
    • if you have an electronic exam, students should install Teams on the device they are using for the exam
  • When the invigilator calls, the student needs to answer the call with audio and video. Ask the student to show their student card to the camera.
    • in an electronic exam, the student needs to share their screen, as well 
  • Do not record the exam; instead, make notes in an exam protocol
    • if the student does not answer your call, make notes and try to call again. If the student does not answer your calls or does not share their video, they can be suspected of fraud

Some instructions you can copy and edit for your students, depending on your exam implementation:

How you need to prepare for the exam

  • for electronic exams
    • you need a computer with internet connection, camera, microphone and loudspeaker (note that headphones are not allowed)
  • for pen and paper exams
    • for the invigilation, you need a device with internet connection, camera, microphone and loudspeaker (note that headphones are not allowed)
    • you need a camera for photographing your exam responses to digital form - for this, your mobile phone should be enough. You can also use the phone for submitting the photos to MyCourses via your phone and for showing a possible digital student card
    • you need a pen, eraser and blanc papers for writing the exam
  • install Teams; it is available for Win, iOS, Linux and mobile devices, please see instructions at
  • check that your device includes a PDF reader program for opening the exam questions
  • prepare for identifying yourself with a student card or an official identity card
  • give your consent for the invigilation beforehand (insert link to the consent question here)
  • NOTE: if you don't have all the required equipment or an opportunity to take the exam at home, please contact your teacher to agree on a compensating exam session after the corona situation is over

When the exam begins,

  • go to the toilet beforehand, and if you need e.g. a handkerchief, something to drink or eat, or medication, take them next to the camera, because you cannot leave the exam situation/camera view during the exam!
  • plug your devices to an electricity socket to ensure that you have enough power for the whole exam time
  • log in MyCourses with your device and, when the exam time has started, refresh your browser window to see the exam questions
  • (in one-student-exams: open your web cam and microphone. Place your device so that you can see each other with the invigilator)
  • the invigilator gives you instructions concerning the exam
  • show your student/ID card to the web camera when the invigilator asks you to
  • if you need to ask questions, feel free at this point!
  • the exam time is 2hours (120mins). Be on time! Late submissions are not allowed. Note that the exam time includes taking the photos of all your responses and submitting them to MyCourses.

During the exam,

  • answer the call when the invigilator calls you in Teams, and open your video connection as well
  • if you close the web cam, leave the view on purpose, or do not answer the call, you can be suspected of fraud in the exam
  • if you internet connection accidentally breaks or something else unexpected happens, call the invigilator, [insert phone number here]
  • for pen and paper exams
    • write your name and student number on each paper
    • When you are ready with your answers on paper, take photos from each page, and check their quality.
    • you do not have to save the answers on paper; the electronic versions submitted to MyCourses are the official ones
  • submit your responses in the same place where you found the exam questions. Check that you have uploaded all files you wanted to submit!
  • remember to click on the Submit button!

How to use the Assignment activity in MyCourses for a time-limited exam

To show the exam only at the specific exam time slot, and hide it before and after, edit these Assignment settings:

  • Display description on course page (check box): check OFF
  • Add the exam questions as text in the description or a file, either linked to the description or via drag&drop
  • Allow submissions from: Enable (check box) AND set the exam start date and time
  • Due date: Enable (check box) AND set the exam end date and time (this is the soft deadline)
  • Cut-off date: Enable (check box) AND set the end date and time (this is the HARD deadline - submissions between the due date and cut-off date are seen with red text in the submissions list. Use the cut-off date and the due date to be friendly with students having their clocks running 1min late; the cut-off date can be e.g. 1-2 mins later than the Due date)
  • Submission types: allow files, and allow multiple files (not necessarily the default 20, though)
  • Submission settings: Require students to click the submit button : YES
  • Grade: Choose either
    • None (if you don't want to grade the exams in MC)
    • Point
      • Set also the Maximum grade according to the max points in your exam
    •  Scale (if you want to use the Pass/Fail scale)
      • Choose the scale: "Fi 1. hylätty, hyväksytty"
  • Restrict access so that students can access the exam only after the exam time has started: edit the settings group "Restrict access"
    • Click on the "Add restriction" button
    • Choose Date
    • Set the exam start date and time here as the Date From
  • Additionally, IF you have a retake (in Finnish uusinta) or otherwise want to restrict access to only your students or a subgroup of them:
    • Restrict access (Click on the "Add restriction..." button) via either User profile (if you have only few students), or Group (NOTE: before using Group restriction you need to create a group of the students participating in the exam and then restrict the access)
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