Delivering Online Exams (In-Person Classes)

This article describes how to best deliver an exam through Canvas during in-person classes. See Exams for Remote Instruction - Faculty instead for advice on delivering online exams remotely.

Before You Start 

*During this period of remote instruction, see the article Exams for Remote Instruction - Faculty instead for the correct advice on delivering online exams.*

With  proper notice, the Courseware team can help prepare an exam for delivery through Canvas. Note that we will not convert paper exams into online formats.

Exam venue

You can deliver an online exam in a Wharton lab, or in your classroom.

Preventing cheating

There are several ways to prevent cheating during online exams.


A quiz can be given during a precise time period (e.g., April 4, 2020, 4:30pm-6pm), or can be made available during a longer period, but for a limited duration (e.g, the student only has an hour to complete it, and it must be taken and submitted at some point during the period of April 2-6, 2020).  

Student accommodations

You may have students that have been granted accommodations by Penn's Office of Student Disabilities Services; the Provost's Office has issued general guidelines for faculty

Accommodations, such as granting extra time on an online exam, must be made in advance. It is not currently possible to reopen a previous Canvas Quiz for a student to edit after submission.

Configuring a take-home exam (Word document containing responses)

You can create a standard quiz with questions students answer online, or you can have students download a document containing the exam, which they answer in a Word document to upload when they're finished. 

  1. Create the document you will attach to the quiz. (We recommend .pdfs; it's easy for students to confuse the downloaded version of the Word file with the version they must upload.)
  2. Store this document in Files, in a new folder whose permissions are set to  "Restricted Access ."
  3. Create or edit quiz, including one file upload question for collecting a student's answers.
  4. Link your exam document either from a Text question or from the File Upload Question details.
  5. To prevent students from accessing the document too early, make sure you use the availability dates. (If you only use the "Due Date," students will be able to submit after the quiz is due.)
  6. To restrict the amount of time students have to work on the quiz, place a time limit in settings.  We recommend allowing 5 extra minutes for students to save and upload their files. 
  7. Use "Moderate Quiz"  to monitor progress or to allow extra time or attempts to individual students, 

NOTE: File upload quiz questions do not work in Internet Explorer for Windows, nor in older Safari versions for Mac. These browsers also do not meet the general system requirements for Canvas.

After-hours Support

Please advise if your exam occurs outside of regular business hours (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm Eastern Time).