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Invigilating an online assessment

This informal short guide, produced by the Assessment team, should be viewed as a supplement to the official Regulations for the Conduct of Examinations and aims to help those who haven’t attended or invigilated an ExamOnline or Questionmark online assessment before.

Prior to the assessment

During an official Examination Diet, it is the responsibility of the senior invigilator to collect, or to arrange for the collection of, the Registry Examination Pack which includes the Registry Examination Attendance Register and Invigilation Notes for the examination(s) at which they are officiating in accordance with the examination timetable and Place Cards.

For ExamOnline and Questionmark invigilated online assessments taking place during the Examination Diet and outwith the Examination Diet, student login instruction sheets are also required. These login sheets have the username and password required to get logged into the PC, and the relevant assessment system instructions on how students get access to their assessment.

Sufficient copies of the student login instruction sheet should be printed/photocopied prior to the day of the assessment (by the School) and arrangements made to ensure these are delivered to the IT Suite(s). How this works in practice varies from School to School, but may involve:

  • one of the invigilators collecting the login sheets from the School Office and taking them to the IT Suite(s)
  • the module leader collecting from the School Office and delivering to the IT Suite(s)
  • a member of staff from the School Office delivering to the IT Suite(s)

The invigilators should place a login instruction sheet on the desk in front of each PC prior to the students being admitted to the IT Suite. If there is more than one assessment running in the same IT Suite using different assessment systems, invigilators should ensure the correct login sheets are placed for each of the separate assessments. (The Assessment team may be able to advise on the type of assessments if invigilators are unsure.)

Students should have been allocated an IT Suite and may also have been allocated a desk number – they should familiarise themselves with this information before arriving at the IT Suites. The Assessment team do not have a list of student room/desk allocations.

Students should not enter the IT Suite before being told to do so by an invigilator (they should be instructed to wait in the corridor outside of the IT Suites). Students should be instructed to enter and leave the IT Suite area SILENTLY as there may be other assessments, exams or classes running.

Students should be admitted to the IT Suite in sufficient time to enable them to locate and take their seats, read the login instruction sheet and login to the relevant assessment delivery platform before the beginning of the assessment.

Preliminary announcements (senior invigilator)

In addition to the standard exam invigilation announcements, senior invigilators may also wish to highlight the following to students before starting an invigilated online assessment:

  • Do not login to the PC using your normal account – you must follow the instructions on the login sheet placed in front of each PC.
  • Read and complete the login sheet in front of you.
  • Your time remaining will be displayed at the top of the screen throughout your assessment. At the beginning of the assessment please check to make sure this time limit is as expected.
  • Only when you have completely finished answering the questions click on the Submit button (if using Questionmark) or the End Test button (if using ExamOnline) to finish the assessment. If you exceed the time limit your answers will be submitted automatically.
  • When instructed to do so, follow the instructions on the login sheet to click Start once and wait for the assessment to open.
  • You are reminded to leave the IT Suite area SILENTLY when finished your assessment as there may be other assessments, exams or classes running.
  • Ensure you complete all paperwork and leave everything on the desk including login sheet, exam papers, yellow booklets, diagram sheets, scrap paper used for notes etc. NO paperwork should be removed from the IT Suite or put in the bins.

Step-by-step student login process

Students have been encouraged to familiarise themselves with the online assessment system that will be used. As an invigilator, if you are not familiar with the assessment systems used for invigilated online assessments, you may also find these guides useful:

  • The ExamOnline (EOL) assessment system may be used for in person, invigilated online class tests and exams on campus where a student is required to type answers to short answer or essay style questions that will not be automatically marked. We have a guide that will step you through the process of Taking an ExamOnline Assessment.
  • The Questionmark (QMOD) assessment system may be used for in person, invigilated online class tests and exams on campus where a student is required to answer multiple choice style (automatically marked) or short answer style questions. We have a guide that will step you through the process of Taking an Invigilated Questionmark Assessment.

Technical support

Where possible, a member of the Assessment team will aim to attend the main venue at the start of all invigilated online assessments on main campus. The Assessment team will:

  • speak with the invigilators prior to the arrival of students and answer any queries they may have
  • ensure all students get logged in successfully and underway with their assessment
  • support any students who may have encountered an issue
  • liaise with IT colleagues if and when required
  • remotely monitor the progress of the assessment and attend if there are any concerns
  • be on-call throughout the assessment (a contact number will be provided to the senior invigilator on the day of the assessment)

Although the Assessment team may be in attendance at the beginning of an invigilated online assessment, they should not be counted as invigilators as they will likely have to move between several rooms providing support.

Common issues

A student has logged into the PC using their own account.

Ask the student to quickly logout of the PC and follow the instructions at Stage 1 of the login sheet.

You can reassure the student that their timer does not start until they open the assessment.

The PC is already logged into someone else’s accounts.

Ask the student to quickly logout of the PC and follow the instructions at Stage 1 of the login sheet.

You can reassure the student that their timer does not start until they open the assessment.

A student has launched the wrong assessment system (i.e. clicked on the wrong shortcut on the desktop).

If the wrong assessment system has been launched, ask the student to quickly logout of the PC and carefully follow the instructions at Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the login sheet.

If it is a Questionmark assessment, students should double click on the 1. QuestionMark shortcut where they will be presented with the standard University login page.

If it is an ExamOnline assessment, students should double click on the 2. ExamOnline shortcut where they will be presented with a page stating “I am a Candidate”.

You can reassure the student that their timer does not start until they open the assessment.

A student is trying to login to the assessment system but their login details aren’t working.

Ask the student to try again, ensuring they are using the correct username and password format indicated on the login sheet. (This will be different for Questionmark and ExamOnline.)

If a student is confident they are entering the correct login details, the Assessment team have a backup method for getting students started with their assessment. Locate a member of the team and they will be able to assist with this.

You can reassure the student that their timer does not start until they open the assessment.

A student has accidentally clicked Submit / End Test before they were finished.

Notify the Assessment team.

A student encounters an issue with the PC during their exam (e.g. keyboard/mouse not working, PC has crashed etc)

Both assessment systems automatically save student answers; Questionmark saves every minute, and ExamOnline saves every thirty seconds. If a student encounters an issue with a PC, the quickest thing to do is move them to one of the spare PC’s and get them to login and resume/re-enter the assessment. In ExamOnline, this will require a password which the Assessment team will share with invigilators on the day (including instructions on what to do if they are not in attendance at the time of the issue). The Assessment team will be on-call for any issues like this.

A student reports that when they type it is replacing text they have already typed.

The student has accidentally pressed the Insert key on their keyboard which allows you to replace text as you type. (This is known as Overtype mode.)

To stop this from happening, ask the student to press the Insert key on their keyboard again.

A student reports that when trying to insert a diagram sheet code in ExamOnline, it states the diagram sheet code is not recognised.

The first thing to do is observe the student carrying out the process: they should click the blue pencil icon on the toolbar, they get the pop-up asking them if they want to insert a hand-drawn diagram, click OK, and then they get the screen asking for the diagram sheet code. The student should type in the number on the printed diagram sheet.

If they have done all of the above correctly, you should provide a different diagram sheet/code for them to try.

If this still doesn’t work, ensure the student is allowing the focus to automatically default to the first text box (when prompting for the diagram sheet code), rather than them clicking into the first diagram sheet code box. If they are manually tabbing to the next box rather than the system automatically moving to the next box they will have to start again. Ask the student to cancel adding the diagram sheet, and click on the pencil icon again.

If all else fails, ensure the student completes the full table of information requested on the printed diagram sheet, and ask them to manually type the diagram sheet code directly into their answer.

Common queries from students

Can I borrow a pen/pencil/calculator…?

The Assessment team try to ensure they have a small stash of pens available in the IT Suites, but can’t guarantee this and students are encouraged to bring one along to the assessment with them. There are no calculators available to borrow in the IT Suites unless provided by the School. Calculators are not accessible on the student PC as the assessments are run in a locked down environment.

Which is the PC number and which is the desk number? (Students are asked to note this on their login instruction sheet.)

The PC number will usually be located on a barcode style sticker on the base of the monitor in the format W-002457. The desk number will usually be the more visible sticker on the desk (this will be the number the student has been pre-allocated).

Which IT Suite is this? (Students are asked to note this on their login instruction sheet.)

If students or invigilators are unsure, the signage can usually be found on the door (e.g. IT Suite C, Dalhousie IT Suite 1 etc)

I’ve attended the wrong IT Suite, can I still sit the assessment?

As long as there are a sufficient number of spare PCs in the IT Suite attended by the student, the Senior Invigilator can allow the student to sit the assessment and make a note of this on the Invigilation Notes.

If the student has a recommendation for additional time in an exam

After the assessment is finished

As long as students have submitted their assessment, invigilators shouldn’t worry about which stage of the logout process the PC is left at. The Assessment team and/or colleagues in IT will visit the IT Suites after each of the assessments to ensure ensure all PC’s are logged out.

The following paperwork (used and unused) should be left on the desks by students and collected by invigilators:

  • Login instruction sheets
  • ExamOnline (EOL) diagram sheets where applicable
  • Yellow booklets where applicable
  • Scrap paper used for rough notes where applicable
  • Supplementary exam resources where applicable (e.g. exam paper, formula sheets, journal articles etc)

No paperwork should be removed from the IT Suite by students and no paperwork should be placed in the recycling bins in the IT Suites, even if it appears to be unused or ‘scrap’ EOL diagram sheets. Everything should be collected and returned to the School Office.

Completed login instruction sheets should be stored by the School until assessment results are received. These can also be referred to if there any issues with student submissions (e.g. suspicion of cheating, incomplete submission etc as it may be useful to know where a student was sitting and which PC was used in these kind of situations).

Where applicable, ExamOnline (EOL) diagram sheets will need to be scanned by someone in the School Office and uploaded into the ExamOnline system to be automatically matched with the typed answers (or securely shared with the Assessment team who can carry out this uploading and matching process). We have a guide on Scanning and uploading diagram sheets for staff who may be involved in this process.

As per standard invigilation regulations, during the official Examination Diet the senior invigilator shall enter the number of candidates who were present at the examination on the Registry Examination Attendance Register, then sign and return to Registry. The senior invigilator shall also return the Invigilation Notes detailing any irregularities or issues in the examination and these will be retained by Registry and shared with Schools for reference in the event of any technical queries or academic integrity investigation which may arise.

Updated on 22/08/2023

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