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Exams: Prepare to deliver your exams

Prepare to deliver online exams using D2L Brightspace

If technical issues arise during an exam delivered in D2L Brightspace, students, instructors, and TAs can access the "D2L Brightspace Exam Help Form" for technical support via (opens in new window)  under the "General IT Help" section.

Using tools within or integrated with D2L Brightspace, you can administer a variety of assessments. Depending on the needs of your course this could be digital, on paper, or a hybrid approach. On this page you will find a collection of resources to follow along with when designing and setting up your exams. 

If you would like support when designing assessments for remote learning, the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching has provided recommendations for adjusting assessment in your course.

Are you planning a different style of exam? 

Learn about delivering other types of exams using D2L Brightspace:

 Getting Started: Select the exam type

Brightspace Assignments for file upload, grading, and feedback

Create a place where students can be provided with instructions, sample files, and can digitally upload their response(s). 

The files submitted to a Brightspace Assignment can be:

  • Graded by all Instructors, TA's, and Graders
  • Used with Brightspace rubrics
  • Annotated with feedback for students
  • Scored and sent to the gradebook 

Enabling Turnitin for Brightspace Assignments

Only files uploaded to the Brightspace Assignment tool are eligible to be checked by Turnitin.

Using Crowdmark for team-based grading

If you would like to share grading of handwritten or uploaded files with a team based on individual questions, consider running your assessment through Crowdmark.

Within the university, two platforms are available for online exams comprised of only multiple choice questions:

Not sure which to use? 

Encourage Academic Integrity

D2L Brightspace includes several features that you can implement to encourage academic integrity in an online quiz, including ways for you to organise and randomise questions and answers.

Randomizing and pooling questions has proven to be effective, as each student will see an individualised set of questions in a unique order.

You can also randomize the answers to questions, for example, by shuffling the order of multiple choice answer options, or by allowing D2L to generate a random set of variables for math questions.

Using Brightspace Quizzes for exams with multiple question types

Brightspace Quizzes support a variety of question types, some of which can auto-grade, while others will need to be manually scored.

Quizzes can include pooled and/or randomized questions to automate the creation of individualised exams, to encourage Academic Integrity.

Using Crowdmark to create mixed input exams

Crowdmark supports file uploads, written-response, and multiple choice questions with added flexibility around distributed grading. 

Not sure where to start?

If you are planning an exam with multiple components and are unsure about how to combine them, please reach out to the university's Brightspace instructor support team at

Respondus LockDown Browser + Monitor is the only approved tool for virtual proctoring within Toronto Metropolitan University. 

NOTE: Respondus LockDown Browser (without use of Monitor) is not recommended outside of a lab environment, and Zoom is not recommended for virtual proctoring.

The use of Respondus LockDown Browser within TMU is now limited to by-request only. If you are planning an exam using Respondus LockDown Browser + Monitor, please reach out to the university's Brightspace instructor support team at to have it enabled in your course shell. 

 Settings to check before the exam begins

Is your quiz or assignment visible?

Making Brightspace assessments visible to students

From the list of assessments (Quizzes or Assignments) look for the Hidden from Users icon: an eye with a slash through it. 

If this icon is beside the name of an assessment, students will not be able to see it

To make the assessment visible to students:
  1. Click the drop-down arrow beside the name
  2. Select "Make visible to users"

If the students cannot see the exam listed during the exam:

If you set a narrow availability window (i.e. 9:00 - 9:15 for a 3-hour exam), you are likely to receive urgent requests from students who need to be let back into the exam. If students experience any technical issues during the exam that result in a temporary loss of access they will not be able to re-enter after the availability end time. As such, we don't recommend setting a narrow availability window. 

Please see the "Are the quiz date and time correct" section below for our recommendations.

Is your quiz or assignment visible?

Hiding Grade Items

If a quiz or assignment is associated with a Grade Item, once the feedback is published, it will automatically be listed in the student's grade book. You can prevent this by hiding the Grade Item from students. 

To hide the Grade Item associated with an assessment from students:
  1. Navigate to the Grades page in the course
  2. Click the drop-down arrow beside the Grade Item name
  3. Select "Hide from users"
Is your quiz or assignment visible?

Overview of quiz availability 

From the list of Quizzes you can easily confirm the availability window of the quiz. This will be the window of time that students can click to enter the quiz.

If a student has network connectivity issues and attempts to re-enter after the End Date, they will not be able to resume unless an instructor provides them a modified End Date using the Special Access settings. 


If you set a narrow window of time between the Start Date and End Date, please establish a preferred method of emergency contact between students and their instructor during the exam (such as a drop-in Zoom meeting). 

Are the start date, end date, and due dates set?

If the date and time are not correct 

  1. Click the drop-down arrow beside the quiz name
  2. Select Edit then navigate to the Restrictions tab
  3. Modify as needed:

    a) Due Date: Flags any submissions made after the due date/time, but does not impact a student's access, or change how long they are permitted to be in a quiz. 

    b) Start Date: Date and time students may begin the assessment.

    c) End Date: The end date does not signify the end of a quiz, but the end of the window to begin.

    For quizzes, only the enforced time limit can control the end of the quiz. Visit the online quizzes in Brightspace resource for more information.

If any of your students have time-based accommodations for their exam, please confirm that their settings match the information you have been provided. 


Has an individual student been added to special access?

Note: Quiz Special Access Settings

When reviewing the Special Access settings for quizzes, the Time Limit setting below their name identifies if student has been provided with a different amount of time. 

If it is not listed, only the availability has been changed. In this case, the student will not receive additional time to complete their exam. 

If this is the case, click the pencil icon beside their name to modify their settings. Then, set an Enforced Time Limit that will apply to just this student. This should reflect the total amount of time available (original assessment + additional time). 

The End Date should also be adjusted to include the additional time provided. 

Accommodation information appears next to student name, if applicable.

Classlist Accommodation Settings

You may apply Special Access for students who already have accommodations set through the class list – the Special Access setting will override the accommodation.

When setting "Special Access" on a specific quiz, the list of students in the Special Access interface will not only show an icon to indicate that accommodations have been set in the classlist, but will also include the details of the accommodation.

Enabling a password is an optional quiz setting that is primarily used when running synchronous assessments in lab environments. 

Setting a password for all students will not provide additional security to your online remote quizzes, as it will still need to be distributed to them. 

Other methods of limiting access to Brightspace Quizzes

If you are running your exam remotely, a password may not be the best manner of restricting access. Please consider using one of the options below instead: 

 Useful resources to share with students

A resource has been created to support students as they prepare for exams

Please share it with your students, along with any information that is relevant to the exam you will be running. 
This includes: 
  • The date and time of the exam
  • The tools that will be used for the assessment
  • Any additional equipment that will be required
Student holding mobile phone

Share an announcement with students

To simplify communication, the following message has been prepared that you can copy into an announcement in your Brightspace shell. Please make modifications as needed to suit the specifics of your assessment and students. 


Subject: Final Exam Preparation

The online exam for this course is scheduled for [date + time], and will be run using [identify tool: quizzes, assignments, Akindi, Crowdmark, etc.], which can be accessed through this course at the start time.

To set yourself up for success in advance of the exam, please take the practice assessment that has been made available in this course. This will help to identify possible technical issues that may occur, which can be addressed ahead of the exam.

If technical issues arise during an exam delivered in D2L Brightspace, you can access the "D2L Brightspace Exam Help Form" for technical support via, (opens in new window)  under the "General IT Help" section.

Supporting your students during an online exam

As most exam-related issues must be resolved by the faculty member, contract lecturer or TA, the Brightspace Instructor Support team will work with you after contact to troubleshoot the issue and advise on next steps. 

Please be sure you are monitoring your university email inbox regularly during the exam time.

Some instructors (depending on class size) have found it helpful to set up an optional drop-in Zoom meeting that runs throughout the exam. Students who have concerns or questions about the exam in progress can join to ask their instructor or TAs for non-technical support. 

A practice test ensures that your actual exam runs smoothly! 

Have students take an ungraded practice quiz that requires the same tools and settings before taking a graded exam.


  • Provide unlimited attempts or submissions
  • Make the window of availability the duration of the course
  • Remind students of the practice, and ask them to report any unexpected issues to you