Canvas Assignments with Gradescope as open book exams

Introduction and checklist

This guide and checklist are for academic staff who have nominated with the Exams Office to have a Canvas Assignment with Gradescope in the LMS as their final assessment.

To understand more about Gradescope, see features and considerations of Gradescope Assignments as exams.

This video will take you through the steps of setting up your Gradescope exam as outlined below.

Complete this checklist to get your exam ready for your students:

If you have any questions with this guide please contact Learning Environments.

Staff can prepare questions and content for their assignment while the Exam Portal automated assignment creation is pending, by using the Playpen option outlined below.

Automation if you used the Exams Portal

If you supplied the details of your exam to the Exams Office an Assignment Group and Canvas Assignment will be automatically entered into your LMS subject space with settings from the Exams Office. This will take place 14-15 October 2020.

The exam timetable will be created to minimise clashes for students and to balance, where possible, the assessment load for all students across the examination period.

ACTION: Please follow the below steps to familiarise yourself with the automatically created assignment, and to check off the few further actions required from you to complete the assignment configuration.

An Assignment Group and Canvas Assignment is automatically created in your subject with settings from the Exams Office.

Step one

An Assignment Group called Semester 2 exams, 2020 with 0% weighting will be created in your subject, and an assignment will be created and allocated to this group

ACTION – Please update the Assignment Group Weighting to reflect the correct weighting for the final assessment

  1. See how do I weight the final course grade based on assignment groups?
  2. Optional - you can move the assignment to a different Assignment Group if you wish.

Step two

  • The integration with the Exams Office automatically adds alternative exam arrangements (AEA’s) for students who have alternative arrangements, including extended time limits or different availability times.
  • Students with extra time to complete the exam will be listed under the Assign to settings, and as additional calendar entries for each of these students in the instructors' calendar view.

Please do not alter these exceptions! Exceptions are automatically managed via the integration with the Exams Portal, and variations and further exceptions may be created up to the exam’s scheduled time as students' needs are processed and addressed. Please do not edit these settings. If you feel changes are needed, please contact the exams office to discuss.

Step three

The following settings are automatically set from the Exams Office. DO NOT CHANGE THESE SETTINGS unless there is there an identified option to do so. If you have any concerns with the settings, please contact Learning Environments.

assignment settings
assignment settings
  • Exam setting explained
    • Assignment name: The exam name - format is ‘Exam: exam name in portal (subject code)’.  If needed for clarification, append any extra information such as 'Part A'.
    • Assignment instructions: This will be populated with the academic integrity declaration to ensure students see this statement when viewing the assignment from a mobile device
      • ACTION: Below the academic integrity declaration, please update the assignment instructions with relevant information for your particular exam.
        For accessibility reasons, include a Word version of the exam.
    • Points: 100
    • Assignment Group: Semester 2 exams, 2020
    • Display Grades as: Points
    • Submission Type: Online, with File Uploads checked
      • ACTION: Please change to External Tool, click Find and choose Gradescope from the list. Do not check: Load This Tool In A New Tab.
    • Submission Attempts: unlimited. Do not change as this setting will not impact their Gradescope submission
    • Assign to: Everyone
      • Note: This may say Everyone else if some students have exam exceptions. Exceptions will be listed as additional Assign to settings.
    • Due date: populated with the scheduled finish date and time for the exam
    • Available from date: populated with the date and time from which the student can access the exam
    • Available until date: populated with the due date plus 30 minutes technical buffer
    • The assignment will be Published.

    In the LMS students will see the assignment as scheduled in the Assignments section, the Grades section and as a Calendar item with the due date. They will not be able to open the assignment or read the description until the Available from date and time passes.

Adding the exam questions and instructions to your exam assignment

Once the assignment has been created via the automated integration with the Exams Office, and you have checked and updated the assignment settings as outlined above, the next step is to set up the exam questions to be added to the assignment.

  • Option one: Create exam questions and instructions directly in the exam assignment
    1. You will need to set up the assignment instructions for your students in the assignment description field, including uploading any accompanying documents.
    2. Then set up your Gradescope assignment as per the instructions below.
    3. You can create a rubric for your Gradescope assignment to help with the marking process. You can only do this once you begin marking student submissions in Gradescope.

    To ensure that students' accessibility needs are met:

    • Ensure any documents are provided in Word format, particularly assignment templates that students need to download, complete and submit. Avoid PDF documents.
      Note: Assignment templates must be uploaded to the Gradescope interface in PDF format, but a Word version can be provided for download in the Canvas Assignment description.
    • Ensure any images you add to the assignment description have alt text added to them. For more information see how do I manage alt text?
  • Option two: Create the exam assignment among a restricted group (not viewable by all staff or tutors in the subject)

    If you wish to limit the number of staff who can see the exam before it is released to students, we suggest the following workflow:

    1. First set up an alternative version of the exam assignment in your Playpen subject, including the Gradescope assignment.
    2. Add your exam collaborators to your Playpen subject to work on/verify the exam.
    3. Closer to the exam time you can copy and paste the description into the exam assignment in your subject, and upload any accompanying documents plus link the Canvas assignment to a duplicate of the previously set up Gradescope assignment (see instructions below).
    4. You can create a rubric for your Gradescope assignment to help with the marking process. You can only do this once you begin marking student submissions in Gradescope.

    To ensure that students' accessibility needs are met:

    • Ensure any documents are provided in Word format, particularly assignment templates that students need to download, complete and submit. Avoid PDF documents.
      Note: Assignment templates must be uploaded to the Gradescope interface in PDF format, but a Word version can be provided for download in the Canvas Assignment description.
    • Ensure any images you add to the assignment description have alt text added to them. For more information see how do I manage alt text?

Setting up your Gradescope assignment for your exam

    The Gradescope guide online open book exam – Gradescope and below steps are for a Gradescope assignment with homework / problem set as the Gradescope assignment type.  This is the recommended Gradescope assignment type for exams which require students to complete the exam as handwritten responses on paper, then scan their handwritten responses and submit to Gradescope. If you are choosing a different Gradescope assignment type and need help with setting up, please contact Learning Environments. To create your exam, ensuring the following settings are completed:

  1. Ensure the Assignment name is the same as the name of the Canvas Assignment.
  2. The Assignment Type is Homework/Problem Set.
  3. Release date and time matches the Available from date and time in the Canvas assignment (very important to prevent students accessing the exam early).
  4. Due date and time matches the due date and time in the Canvas assignment.
  5. Select Allow late submissions and ensure the date and time matches the Available until date and time in the Canvas assignment.
  6. Select Enforce time limit if desired.
  7. Submission type selected is Variable length.
  8. Select Allow students to view and download the template.
  9. You will need to link your Canvas Assignment to your Gradescope assignment. See online open book exams with Gradescope.

To copy your Gradescope exam from the Playpen to your actual subject closer to the exam time:

  1. Go to the subject in Canvas.
  2. Click on the Gradescope link in the subject menu.
  3. Click Assignments in the Gradescope menu.
  4. Click Duplicate Assignment in the green bar at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Click on your Playpen subject.
  6. Click on the Gradescope assignment you wish to duplicate.
  7. Click Duplicate.

If you haven’t already, you will need to link your Canvas Assignment to your Gradescope assignment.  See online open book exams with Gradescope.

Granting extensions

The extensions for students who are granted exceptions will not automatically flow through to Gradescope. You will need to add these exceptions for students in the Gradescope interface. Based on the exceptions entered into the Canvas assignment, you should grant exceptions to the relevant students in your Gradescope subject.

A time limit needs to be set in the assignment for subject time extensions to apply.

  1. Click on Gradescope in the subject menu.
  2. Click Roster in the Gradescope menu.
  3. Click Sync Canvas roster at the bottom of the page.
  4. Uncheck Let new users know that they were added to the course
  5. Click Sync Roster
  6. Click Extensions in the Gradescope menu
  7. Add time extensions to students who have extra time to complete their exam.

If you need any help with up the AEAs in your Gradescope assignment, please lodge a support request with Learning Environments.

Preparing students for the online exam

Practice exam

We very strongly recommend you conduct a practice Canvas Assignment with Gradescope exam with your students prior to the exam period. Gradescope is not a straightforward experience for students. A practice exam will enable students to become familiar with the process, give them the opportunity to iron out any technical difficulties, and allow them to test whether their internet connection is suitable to complete the exam. It will also give students exposure to the type of exam questions that are asked in open book exams.

Staff resources

For guides on creating Canvas Assignments with Gradescope.

Workshops on Canvas Assignments and Gradescope are regularly scheduled.

For advice on writing questions for open book exams read Assessment considerations in moving from closed-book to open-book exams.

Support from Learning Environments on creating your Gradescope exam.