Note: you will need to use your UQ staff login to access the PDF resources on this page.

Assessment guidelines for Semester 2 2021

Semester 2 2021 Assessment guidelines (PDF, 187 KB) should be used with the adjustment to policy and procedures identified in the temporary policy adjustments web page (UQ login) when planning your assessment for Semester 2.

When planning your assessment tasks, consider that effective assessment tasks:

  • enable students to clearly demonstrate the learning outcomes for the course (while each assessment task does not need to meet all the learning outcomes, all learning outcomes should be covered by the course’s assessment regime)
  • promote to students the values of academic integrity
  • are consistently supported and scaffolded learning activities 
  • are preceded by formative activities that give students opportunities to acquire knowledge and skills, and to practice them before attempting summative assessment tasks
  • provide equitable options for different delivery modes that are, if not identical tasks, of equal academic standard and comparably measure the same learning outcomes.

Be conscious of the time required to complete assignments and the risk of competing deadlines which can both add undue stress to the learner.

Many courses have been able to reintroduce or continue group or team-based tasks: guidance about these tasks is available in the assessment section of this website.

Assessment guidelines for Semester 2 2021 (PDF, 187 KB)

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Online final exam options

Policy and advice

For Semester 2 2021 examinations, the DVC(A) has provided updates and advice (PDF, 187 KB) and the academic board have endorsed a range of policy adjustments.

After the completion of semester 1 examinations the Semester 1 2021 Learn.UQ examination guidelines (PDF, 504.4 KB) and a Learn.UQ examination preparation and delivery guide will be updated based on the experience of Learn.UQ examinations in 2020 and Semester 1 2021.

A description of an examination has been added to the examinations procedures:

Typically, an examination is any assessment item worth more than 10% that occurs for a student at a specified time, with a working time of less than or equal to three hours. Assessment items that do not meet this description but are to be treated as an examination will be identified in the Electronic Course Profile (ECP). 


Scheduling assessment tasks in the examinations period minimises overlapping tasks for students. Notifying examinations of online examinations held during the semester enables central teams to optimise systems and support for students undertaking these examinations.

Assessment held in the final examinations period are required to be scheduled if they are:

  • Examinations (maximum of 3-hour duration) – central and school-based
  • Assessments (duration greater than 3 hours but less than or equal to 48 hours) – non-invigilated, school-based take-home assignments.

NOTE: AskUs Exam Support may not be available for the full duration of assessments, where tasks are undertaken outside the hours these services are staffed.

Assessment with a duration of longer than 3 hours, examinations of a practical nature (e.g. lab work, orals, video, or examinations where students require access to equipment) or invigilated by Zoom must be school-based.

Learn.UQ examinations guidelines Sem 1 2021 (PDF, 504.4 KB)
Learn.UQ examinations preparation and delivery guide
Exam information sheet for Zoom invigilated exams (DOCX, 88 KB)
Exam information sheet for Learn.UQ invigilated exams (DOCX, 85.6 KB)
Exam information sheet for Learn.UQ non-invigilated exams (DOCX, 89.3 KB)
Example final exams communications plan (DOCX, 75.8 KB)
Exam placeholder (DOCX, 141.6 KB)
Exam Communication Resources (PPTX, 4.1 MB)

Exam security

Technical guides are provided for implementing your exam securely.

Invigilated centrally scheduled examinations

Course coordinators can plan for invigilated examinations for Semester 2 2021. Further details are provided in the online invigilated exams section below.

Supporting students

We recommend all courses offering an online exam provide a formative practice exam that is as close to the final model of the exam as possible. The practice exam will support students in learning how to use the exam tools, provide a valuable learning experience, and help identify technical or design issues that may need to be fixed before the exam. Guidance for students on the successful completion of an online exam (DOCX, 61.3 KB)can be adapted to support your students through these processes.

Re-sit and deferred exams may be available for students in the event of technical problems in accordance with adjustments to deferred exam procedures.

The Library will provide support to students during exams through AskUs (phone, email and chat support) and before exams with the Preparing for online exam success guides. The Library has tips for students on:

Learn.UQ exams – student preparation
Guidance for students on the successful completion of an online exam (DOCX, 61.3 KB)

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Converting on-campus exams to online

Exam design

An in-class exam can be translated into a take-home exam. Take-home exams traditionally test students’ ability to find relevant information, understand and analyse concepts, apply knowledge and think critically.

As you convert your exam, consider the following:

  • design your tasks to enable students to demonstrate the learning verbs listed in your course learning outcomes (e.g. define, classify, apply, analyse, predict, evaluate, justify). The Socratic Questioning Technique is also an effective way of generating questions that encourage higher-level thinking skills.
  • prepare your students by providing them with opportunities to practice the types of questions you plan to ask. Provide advice on how to study and prepare for the exam.
  • communicate with your students (and your tutors) the expectations around exam completion and academic integrity. Define what is and is not allowed during the exam.
  • sense-check your exam with colleagues and run a practice test to help students and help you refine the system including marking and feedback.

The BEL Faculty Education Team has developed a guide to designing non-invigilated (open book) exams with academic integrity (PDF, 278.7 KB). The Centre for Studies in Higher Education has produced a short guide on moving from closed-book to open book exams (PDF, 146.7 KB)

Contact your liaison librarian if your students will need to rely on a particular text during their exam. During non-invigilated online exams, students may expect to be able to access electronic Library resources. Publishers may limit the number of concurrent users for particular resources. This is very common in eBooks, which will present a challenge if many students are trying to access the same resource in the lead up to or during an exam: 


For Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) or short answer exams, you could use Learn.UQ tests. A pool of questions can be created whereby students each receive a random selection of questions from the pool. The order of distractors (for MCQs) can also be randomised. We have developed guides for converting specific question types.

For tasks where students are required to do work by hand, such as using mathematical notation, drawing diagrams or chemical symbols, we recommend students use a mobile device to digitise their work and submit it through the Blackboard assignment tool.

For essays, or other extended written exams, it is recommended that you use Turnitin so you receive a similarity report to check for possible academic integrity breaches. You can set the timeframe in which students need to complete the task in both Turnitin and the Blackboard assignment tool. Details are provided in the exam technology options guide.


Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) in Learn.UQ tests can be marked automatically and the results transferred to your Gradebook. Short answer questions require manual marking.

Check the eLearning assessment tools for marking of essays or other extended written take-home exams that are submitted in Turnitin or the Blackboard assignment tool.


For help with online assessment tools, book a personal consultation delivered via Zoom. Alternatively, book a custom workshop for your school.

Designing a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) and/or a short answer exam (PDF, 216.4 KB)
BEL Guide to designing non-invigilated (open book) exams with academic integrity (PDF, 278.7 KB)

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Online invigilated exams

UQ has partnered with ProctorU to support Learn.UQ invigilated exams. Decisions about which exams will be offered in this manner will be made in collaboration between the DVC(A)s portfolio and faculties.

Some schools have successfully piloted Zoom invigilation for examinations, considerations are outlined in a short guide to Zoom based exams (PDF, 79.9 KB).

You can direct students to the ProctorU FAQs page if they have any questions.

Students who require an alternative approach can:

  • If they can attend campus, apply to complete their Learn.UQ exam on-campus with in-person invigilation or online invigilation (using ProctorU but not on their own machine or in their home environment). Staff and students will be advised of the process to request on-campus attendance for Learn.UQ exams in the lead up to the examination period.
  • Apply for a deferred exam.
  • Withdraw – without academic penalty and apply for removal of financial liability (no guarantee of refund).

Online Zoom Invigilated Examinations Guide (PDF, 339.5 KB)
Learn.UQ examinations - preparation and delivery guide
A guide to ProctorU for Academic Integrity Officers (PDF, 194.2 KB)
Zoom invigilation considerations (staff guide) (PDF, 79.9 KB)
Exam information sheet for Zoom invigilated exams
Exam information sheet for Learn.UQ invigilated exams (DOCX, 85.6 KB)

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Assessing oral presentations online (viva, interview, etc.)

If you currently use in-class oral presentations, or are looking for an alternative assessment task, you could consider these options for online oral assessments:

  • a recorded video or audio assignment with Kaltura or other technology
  • an oral viva or “professional discussion” via a Zoom meeting
  • live presentations using Zoom
  • create a desktop recording (Kaltura Capture) or voice-over Powerpoint presentation
  • an online poster display using PadletUQ
  • a group peer discussion in Blackboard Discussion Board.
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Assessing participation, performance or exhibitions

Through 2020, staff have found a range of class participation assessment strategies (PDF, 269.1 KB)useful for encouraging engagement and assessing student participation in learning activities. 

If you currently use a creative performance or an exhibition of a creative element, you could consider:

  • Performance video or audio recording. Students could record their performance using a phone, webcam or camera, then upload the video to Kaltura, or submit an audio recording as an audio file.
  • Photographic journal. Students could take a series of photographs of their work in progress and upload their images as a PowerPoint presentation, along with the photograph of the final completed work submitted via Blackboard.

Class participation assessment strategies (PDF, 269.1 KB)

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Assessing professional or technical skills online

If you have previously used in-class demonstrations of professional or technical skills, you could consider:

  • have students watch a video of someone else doing the professional or technical skill (e.g. initial patient appointment). Students can produce a written critical assessment of the performer’s actions, processes, techniques etc. including justified recommendations and submit the task via Blackboard.
  • have students create a video or audio recording of them performing the task or demonstrate a competency (e.g. reading an excerpt in a foreign language) which they can submit through UQ's video server, Kaltura.

There are examples of video and audio assignments in the UQ video assessment showcase.

If you are currently using the UQ ePortfolio platform in your course, students could upload a video or a written analysis within a template which prompts questioning and analysis as a learning activity or assessment task.

Marking video and audio assignments

If you assess your students through a video or audio assignment using Kaltura, you can set up submission links using the Blackboard assignment tool. This allows you to use the online marking function to provide comments and feedback using a rubric.


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Feedback online

Feedback is critical to student learning, especially when they are learning in an online environment. When designing online learning it is important to carefully structure feedback opportunities. This may include building feedback loops that can take place prior to summative assessment. Students appreciate formative activities to provide them with opportunities to practice their knowledge and skills and obtain feedback before attempting summative assessment tasks.

Regular and actionable feedback can help students:

  • engage with the teacher, their peers and course content
  • maintain their motivation, pace and keep to their study plan
  • to achieve the course learning outcomes.

Relationships and emotions have a significant impact on the impact of feedback. When students do not feel cared for they tend to avoid feedback or disengage from the feedback.

Good feedback is:

Constructive and provides feed-forward direction
Feedback should inform students about the quality of their work and give direction (feed-forward) on how it can be improved for next time. Feed-forward is especially important if a revision of the current work is not expected (Dysthe, 2011).

Feedback should be provided at a time where it can be implemented in a future learning activity – e.g. students could submit a draft assessment for qualitative feedback, implement the feedback and submit a final version for grading.

Implement feedback as a dialogic process – e.g. interactive cover sheets can be used on assignment submissions where a student summarizes how they’ve implemented previous feedback and/or self-evaluates their submission on the criteria and requests specific feedback where they think they need it most (Winstone, N., Carless, D., 2020).

Feedback tips for teaching online learners:

  1. Provide opportunities for regular feedback to help reduce students’ feelings of isolation and to help them engage with you, the course and their peers.
  2. Make feedback relevant to individual students to help make a personal connection. Make it obvious you are familiar with their work and ensure the feedback aligns with the assessment criteria.  
  3. Schedule opportunities to provide feedback throughout the course. Have specific times for formal feedback, use incidental feedback in synchronous class, and introduce peer feedback among students. 
  4. Aim for a short turnaround time between assessment submission and feedback return to increase the relevance of the task and the feedback provided. 
  5. Use a variety of strategies to deliver feedback.
    • Audio feedback offers a more personal experience. Record yourself giving verbal feedback using Turnitin or a screen capture tool such as Kaltura Capture with the student’s work displayed on the screen.
    • A synchronous Zoom session could be used to deliver feedback by sharing your screen which has the student’s or group’s assignment showing. Use annotation tools to provide feedback on the assignment or use Zoom breakout rooms to enable peer feedback sessions.
    • Use Office365 to share documents. The student can see your corrections and comments as you do them, or you can make them available when you are finished.

CRADLE Seminar Series: Feedback in online learning

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Academic integrity

Academic integrity focuses on the values and behaviour learners need to ethically undertake their studies. Assessment security emphasises strengthening assessment tasks against cheating attempts and detecting cheating behaviour. Both academic integrity and assessment security are needed to ensure students meet their required degree outcomes (CRADLE, 2020).

Pre COVID-19 pandemic we had already taken significant steps to strengthen our:

Now we have found the need to move much of our assessment into the online environment, while we still need to maintain quality and integrity in our assessment tasks and processes.

In this environment, you can support integrity through:

  • Reconsidering your course assessment to better suit the current situation. Suggestions for you to consider to lessen student susceptibility to academic misconduct, without reducing the effectiveness of your assessment to gauge student learning, include:
    • Consider if the exam or assignment is particularly critical? Try to reduce the number of assessment tasks where possible, particularly if you have more than three (3).
    • Use a particular assessment type more than once where possible so that it is familiar to your students.
    • Provide students with rich feedback through formative assessment which will support their preparedness and confidence to tackle the summative assessment. 
    • Make use of practice assessments to familiarise students with the assessment task and the process for completion and submission.
    • Communicate in a variety of ways to ensure students have a clear understanding of what is required of them to complete the task successfully and be sure you and your tutors are available to support them through the process.
    • Be conscious that with fewer exams being sat and more diversity in assessment types, students will be spending more time engaged in completing at-home assignment tasks. Recognise the amount of time this can take and the stresses associated with competing deadlines. Be ready to be flexible.
  • Thinking about how to ensure integrity for assessment that is critical within your programs – approaches such as virtual oral exams have high assurances of integrity but may take significant staff resources to conduct. See exam design resources.
  • Communicating with your students and teaching teams about cheating and integrity in digital assessment (slides (PPTX, 1.1 MB) and discussion plan (PDF, 365.4 KB)) and encouraging them to complete the Academic Integrity Modules (AIM).
  • Including these slides on academic integrity (PPTX, 1.1 MB) in your lecture material and a notice for your Learn.UQ (Blackboard) site (DOCX, 66.1 KB).
  • Requesting students to take a pledge to be submitted with all assessment (DOCX, 57.4 KB).

In the video below, Associate Professor Phil Dawson talks to Dr Christine Slade about what academics can do to support academic integrity and identify misconduct.

Deakin’s Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE) has provided an evidence-based guide (PDF, 3.5 MB) and decision support tools (PDF, 133 KB) to assist with understanding academic integrity and redesigning assessment for full online delivery without invigilated exams.

Staff Academic Integrity Modules (SAIM)
Academic Integrity Modules (AIM) for students
Academic integrity slides for students (PPTX, 1.1 MB)
Academic integrity discussion plan (PDF, 365.4 KB)
Academic integrity notice for Learn.UQ (Blackboard) site (DOCX, 66.1 KB)
Academic integrity pledge for students (DOCX, 57.4 KB)
A guide to ProctorU for Academic Integrity Officers (PDF, 194.2 KB)


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Suggest or share online assessment tips

Have you got an assessment task that you translated online? Would you like to share it with the UQ teaching community? Share it via this form or by email at

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