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How to create an electronic exam in MyCourses?


MyCourses has three activity types that are mainly used for electronic examination purposes: Quiz, Turnitin Assignment and the traditional Assignment.

Before creating an electronic exam, make sure that you have an exam workspace for your exam in MyCourses. If you do not have an exam workspace, you can request one by filling and submitting the form Request for a MyCourses exam workspace.


How to create an exam with group restriction in an existing workspace

Your course has a workspace. How do you take students to the exam activity so that only these students can see the activity and participate in the exam? 

  1.  Add a new group to the course workspace (see the details on how to do this at https://wiki.aalto.fi/display/mchelp/Groups+and+groupings) (Participants → click on the gear icon on the right → Groups → Create group → give a name to the group → Add enrollment key → Save ) (This group enrollment key must be at least 8 characters long, have at least 1 upper-case letter and at least 1 non-alphanumeric character such as as *, -, or #. )
  2. On the front page on the right, click on Enrollment methods → Add method by selecting “self-enrollment” from the drop-down menu. Name it, for example, “Exam xx.xx.2021”. In the settings, allow existing enrollments and new enrollments. Give an enrollment key that is different from the group key. This key is not used anywhere, but it must be set. In “use group enrollment keys” choose “yes”. Set “enrollment duration”, for example, to 60 days.  
  3. Add a new section and name it similarly, for example, “Exam xx.xx.2021” and create an activity for the exam. (For details on adding sections, see https://wiki.aalto.fi/display/mchelp/Add%2C+edit+and+reorder+sections.) Add a restriction in the section settings (Restrict access) by selecting the group “Exam xx.xx.2021”.
  4. Students participating in Exam xx.xx.2021 must enrol themselves in the group “Exam xx.xx.2021” by choosing "Syllabus", selecting “Self-enrollment” and using the group enrollment key. They must enrol themselves in the group “Exam xx.xx.2021” even though they may already have enrolled themselves in Oodi and are participants in the course MyCourses workspace.
  5. Send a message to inform students how to enrol themselves on the exam. An example message: “Enrol yourself on Exam xx.xx.2021 in the MyCourses workspace by clicking on “Syllabus” and choosing Self-enrollment and Exam xx.xx.2021. Use the enrollment key. This will give you access to Exam xx.xx.2021. Enrol at least a couple of days before the exam. Your enrollment has succeeded when you see Exam xx.xx.2021 in the section menu on the left." / “Kirjaudu kurssin XXXXX rästitenttiin Exam xx.xx.2021 kurssin MyCourses työtilassa syllabus sivulla valitsemalla Self enrollment ja Exam xx.xx.2021. Käytä kurssiavainta xxx. Tämä kirjautuminen antaa pääsyn kurssin rästitentin osioon, joka näkyy vasemmassa valikossa nimellä  Exam xx.xx.2021. Kirjaudu ryhmään pari päivää ennen tenttiä. Näet, että kirjauminen tenttiä varten on onnistunut, kun näet vasemmassa valikossa Rästitenttiosion.”



General

There are certain general instructions concerning different types of electronic exams held in MyCourses. Remember to reserve a space in advance for the exam on the course page, create an exam template by selecting an activity type, and hide the template from students.

Activity type: Quiz

You have chosen to use Quiz as an exam. Before creating a Quiz, we recommend that you first create a question bank with all questions. This makes adding questions to the quiz easier.

Question bank

Every course page in MyCourses has its own question bank. The question bank is useful for storing all questions created for quizzes, for creating different question categories, and also for enabling the use of randomized questions.

Find the question bank by clicking the gear (settings) iconon the course homepage and select the option "More". You will land on the page shown below.


Clicking on "Question bank" will open the list of all questions that you have created for your quizzes in this course. If you have not created any questions yet, you can add new questions by clicking the button "Create a new question".

Editing questions

Quiz contains 18 different question types, including essay (longer text answers), numerical questions, short answer and Stack for mathematics. Find more information on question types at https://docs.moodle.org/39/en/Question_types

MyCourses provides three options for exams with calculation tasks: simple calculation, calculated multichoice, and STACK questions.

After creating a new question, click "Save changes" and continue creating new ones. 

To select random questions for each student in the exam, begin by creating different question categories. Click "Categories" and add a new category to which you can later add questions. After creating the desired question categories, return to the question list. Select the questions that you want to add to a category by checking the corresponding box on the left of the question, scroll to the bottom of the list, click on the option "Move to", and select the right question category.

Now you can edit the Quiz template.

  • Name and description
    Name the exam and write the exam instructions for students in the description box. Inform students when the exam is held, how much time they have to complete the exam, and how they should submit their answers. Uncheck the option " Display description on course page".

  • Timing
    Set the time when students start and finish the exam. For example, if the exam takes place on 24 December 2020 from 10 to 13 o’clock, open the exam on " 24 December 2020 10:00" and close it on "24 December 2020 13:00". If you want the students to see the countdown timer running during the exam, enable Time limit and set it to "3 hours". You can choose whether the students must submit their answers before the time expires or whether their open attempts are submitted automatically after the time is up.

  • Grade
    Grade the exam according to the course grading scale.

  • Layout
    You can specify how many questions the students see on the same page.

  • Question behaviour
    Question behaviour allows you to shuffle within questions especially if you use multiple-choice or matching questions.
    Select "deferred feedback", which means that students must enter an answer to each question and submit the entire quiz before any response is graded or they receive any other feedback. For more information on question behaviour, see https://docs.moodle.org/39/en/Question_behaviours#Deferred_feedback_with_explanation.

  • Review options
    Review options specify the type of information students see and when they see it. If you want to show students their overall feedback on the exam or the correct answers after the quiz is closed, leave all boxes unchecked except "Whether correct" or "Overall feedback" in the "After the quiz is closed" section.

  • Appearance
    Select how many decimal places are displayed in the grades.

  • Common module settings
    When you create the exam template, select "Hide from the students" in the availability option. You can select the option "Show the exam on the course page", x days before the exam.

  • Activity completion
    If you want to track which students have completed the exam, select "Show activity as complete when conditions are met" and "Students must receive a grade to complete this activity" in the section below.

    Click "Save and display".

    Now you can add questions to the quiz. You can add questions right after clicking "Save and display". You can have MyCourses randomly select questions to add to the quiz from the question bank. To randomly select questions for each student in the exam, select the option "Add random questions". Decide how many random questions you want to add to the quiz. Click the ‘Add random question’ button when you have set the options.

    Another alternative is to add the same questions to the quiz but mark the option "Shuffle questions". Shuffling questions makes questions appear in random order in the quiz.

Important links

Note:

  • If you need to grant a time extension for some students or groups in Quiz, click the Quiz administration button and select "User overrides" or "Group overrides", respectively. Details at https://docs.moodle.org/38/en/Quiz_settings#Group_and_User_overrides.
  • If you use Essay question type and allow students to add images to a response text field, we recommend that you ensure that your essay question supports the format HTML editor with file picker. The response format of your current essay questions does not change automatically. Also, instruct students to upload the images by using the button "Insert or edit image".

Recommendations when using MyCourses quiz activity for large groups

Using a tightly time-framed MyCourses Quiz activity simultaneously for over 200 students can cause the quiz to slow down temporarily, because hundreds of students open and close the same quiz at the same time.

For large groups with time-framed quizzes, we recommend the following:

  1. Add extra time for attempts, e.g 5–8 minutes. This gives students more time to finish [submitting] the exam even though the quiz slows down.
  2. Avoid using multiple consecutive short quiz-activities in your exam. MyCourses can handle hundreds of simultaneous users, but hundreds of users opening and closing the same activity at the same time can occasionally slow down the whole system. Use one long quiz activity instead of multiple short ones.
  3. Stagger quiz starting times: e.g., group A starts at 9, group B starts at 9.05, group C starts at 9.10, and so on.

Note that there can be other reasons for the temporary slowing down of the system/own computer/internet connection. MyCourses is used constantly for multiple purposes all the time, and there may be any number of ongoing activities in the system during the exam.

Student can have difficulties with their connections that have nothing to do with Aalto university or MyCourses. So, we recommend that, during the pandemic when working with large exams and restricting students answer times, you should give some extra time for resolving possible technical and temporary slowness issues.

Activity type: Turnitin Assignment

MyCourses offers the use of the Turnitin Assignment as a time-limited electronic exam. Turnitin Assignment can be used when students need to write essays in exams, or when students do an exam by hand on paper and submit photos or scanned versions of their exam answers. The benefit of using Turniting Assignment is that you can use the Turnitin Similarity Report to notice possible plagiarism in students' assignments and to annotate and/or leave voice comments in students' assignments (text/picture).

You will find instructions on how to create a Turnitin Assignment as an exam here.

Visit Exam in Turnitin assignment activity for examples of different Turnitin Assignments as an exam output.

Note:

  • If you need to grant a time extension for some students or groups in Turnitin Assignment, open the assignment →  view all submissions → find (use Search) the row of the student who needs the extension  → Edit →  Grant extension

Activity type: Traditional assignment

Assignment allows students to submit work for grading. The student may type their work in the dialogue box or upload files of any type your device can read. Grading may be by simple percentages or custom scales, or more complex rubrics may be used. Students may submit their work as individuals or in groups.

Note:

  • If you need to grant a time extension for some students or groups in Turnitin Assignment, open the assignment →  View all submission → find (use Search) the row of the student who needs the extension → Edit →  Grant extension.

Other exam types: remotely proctored exams

For detailed instructions on remote proctoring: Etävalvottu tentti/Remote proctored exam

Other exam types: oral exams via Teams video call

You can use Teams video calls for oral exams in one-to-one sessions. Note: When proctoring an exam with Teams, do not record the exam session. Exam recordings are confidential material and must be handled with the exact protocol. You can take your own notes during the exam session.

Before the start of the exam, do the following:

  • inquire if there is any student with a laptop or computer without a microphone, web camera and internet connection available for the exam and
  • ask the student permission for a video connection during the exam in advance.

We suggest you use the Choice tool in MyCourses for these details; the students' responses will be shown in MyCourses.

Do not record exam sessions, take your own notes (= exam minutes: when the exam starts, when a student can leave, when the exam ends, and notes of possible inappropriate behaviour).

Instructions for remotely proctored exams: Etävalvottu tentti/Remote proctored exam.

Other resources

Ways to prevent students from cheating in an electronic exam in MyCourses

  • If you use Quiz, remember to select separately the options Shuffle within questions and Shuffle questions so that questions and question options both appear in randomized order.
  • Add many questions to the exam, and do not tell the students in advance how many questions they have to answer to complete the exam.
  • Require the use of Safe exam browser in Quiz (does not work in Linux).
  • Hide all the course material on the course page from the students during the exam.

Contact information

Contact the MyCourses support team by email (mycourses@aalto.fi) or by booking a session with a specialist at MyCourses: https://mycourses.aalto.fi/mod/scheduler/view.php?id=569522. 

Contact the exam support team by email: exam@aalto.fi.