Student experience

Helping students to prepare for online tests.

It is important for students to know what knowledge they are expected to demonstrate in their online test. Setting clear expectations may help alleviate stress and anxiety and potentially decrease the likelihood of poor academic practice.

  • Give plenty of warning when the test will be.
  • Avoid introducing any new material during the test.
  • Clearly set out your expectations for the assessment in the question instructions.
  • Share the marking rubric with your students prior to them sitting the assessment.

Students are expected to complete the assessment under various conditions (environment, hardware, internet access etc.). Examiners are encouraged to:

  • Create practice Canvas Quizzes/Assignments to help students test out the systems required for the assessments. Practice Canvas Quiz examples have been created and are available from Canvas Commons to import into your own Canvas Course:
    • Log into Canvas and go to Canvas Commons.
    • Search for ‘university of auckland final assessment‘.
    • Types of question available in Canvas Quiz” and ”Final Assessments practice example template” will appear and you can import them into your Canvas course.
  • Provide video instructions on how to use specific technology if students will be required to use it in the assessment, for example, the Canvas media recording tool.
  • Give students a chance to review the academic honesty declaration statement prior to undertaking the assessment.

The Canvas Quiz or Assignment “available to” time should be set to 15 minutes later than the due time (this is to act as a grace period for any technical issues).


Student support

  • Examiners are expected to be available for the duration of the test in order to respond to questions that may arise.
  • Canvas support is also available 24/7 to staff and students for any Canvas-related technical issues.
Academic integrity

Giving students a context for their efforts in their studies and the goals they are working towards, developing a mutual high-trust relationship with students, and talking with them about the importance of academic integrity and its consequences can help prevent academic dishonesty.

We encourage teaching staff to include a statement relating to academic integrity in online assessments.


Concerns with students posting or sharing questions and answers on social media during online assessments

Where possible, online tests should be scheduled with a simultaneous start time to the on-campus test. Start times are recommended to be after 1pm to allow for differences with Asian time zones, where most remote students will be situated. Rolling start times may be required for remote students in other time zones. The following are some other ways to minimise and/or mitigate posting/sharing of questions and answers:

  • Sharing should be actively discouraged. However, if any assessment questions have been shared, they should be easily detectable if you have designed your assessment questions by asking students to:
    • Use reflective writing techniques to substantiate, support and/or personalise academic arguments.
    • Use critical thinking skills to analyse ideas with reference to sources, explanations, evidence, examples and interpretations of these.
    • Analyse, compare and contrast solutions to problems.
    • Diagnose and/or explain the methodology used.
  • You may wish to consider reminding your students of the University Code of Conduct for students, the Academic Integrity statement and potential consequences of academic misconduct/cheating.
  • Turnitin will be used whenever possible. Turnitin can be used during marking to detect similarities between student work and/or answers. Consider whether using Turnitin in Canvas Assignments and Canvas Quizzes for essay type answers would be appropriate for your context and discipline.

The nature of the assessment question/task may require students to reference their sources. Consider what would be appropriate given the task, the discipline, and the level of your student cohort.

Referencing is a mechanism for students to demonstrate their critical thinking skills in being able to research, identify, and evaluate information in using appropriate scholarly resources for their assessment task. It is also an important way for students to demonstrate their understanding of academic integrity.

We recommend students are given clear instructions on the expectations for referencing in online assessments, including if referencing will be assessed and how.

It would be advisable to include clear marking guidelines for referencing in rubric(s), including assessing skills such as critical thinking and evaluation of information.


Restricted Book

Under the Restricted Book designation, students must only refer to and cite from the resources listed and supplied, and must not refer to other resources.

Two types of citations you may wish for students to provide in their assessment:

  • We suggest you require students to include in-text citations and provide instructions for them. A simple in-text citation you may wish to use is (author, year) and/or (author, year, p._) if a direct quote.
  • For end-text citations (i.e., a reference list at the end of the document), you could:
    • Provide students with the complete reference list.
    • Ask students to complete a reference list as well. It is advisable that you provide instructions on how they could do this e.g., refer them to the referencing style guide in QuickCite.
    • Not require students to include a reference list.


Open Book

Under the Open Book designation, students may refer to any written/printed material, including online sources. Provide very clear guidelines to students of your expectations. We recommend you communicate to your students:

  • Why they need to reference for their assessment.
  • How you require students to reference (e.g., referencing style, in-text citation and end of text citations, expectations with paraphrasing and quoting, and so on).
  • How referencing will be assessed (e.g., how many sources are expected, the quality of sources you expect, and so on).

If, as a lecturer, you are concerned about the possibility of students referring to inappropriate resources and/or inappropriately citing and referencing them and/or the potential for increased plagiarism, this option may be useful for open book assessments:

  • Provide very clear instructions to students of your requirements, particularly to provide evidence of the reference.
  • It would also make the task of marking easier if students are given clear instructions on what referencing style you would like them to follow. Refer to QuickCite for guides to referencing.
Practice assessments for students

For many examiners, the major change they will make will be in the ways questions are asked in online assessments vs previous on-campus tests. It may be worth discussing this with your students:

  • You could put up an announcement explaining that due to the changes in the type of assessment, you will be asking more questions that require the application of information (for example) as compared to previous years that asked for more content recall.
  • You may wish to give your students some examples of the ways that you will ask questions in the assessment.
  • A practice quiz has been created and is in Canvas Commons. This practice quiz allows your students to practice with the technologies within these assessments. However, it is worth reiterating that the practice quiz does not account for any of their course grades and is completely voluntary.
Students with special conditions

The Examinations Office will identify students with disability-related support needs that are not met by additional time alone (e.g., a reader or writer). The Examinations Office will then work with course coordinators to find alternative solutions, including alternative times or locations, or different but equivalent assessment options in accordance with the University’s Inclusive Learning and Teaching of Students with Impairments Guidelines.