There are three main technology options to consider for online exams. 

  1. Blackboard Test tool
  2. Document Upload (including handwritten exams) submitted to either Turnitin or the Blackboard Assignment tool for marking.
  3. Combination, students use different technology for different parts of the exam.

Note: It is recommended that students are provided with a Practice Exam so as to familiarise themselves with the format and technology requirements.

Refer to Final online exam options and Converting campus exams to online ITaLI guides for general advice.

Refer to the Exam Question Types for advice on converting specific question types to an online exam format.

Blackboard Test tool

The Blackboard Test tool should be considered for exams with the following standard questions types:

  • Multiple choice
  • True / False
  • Multiple answers
  • Fill in the blank
  • Fill in multiple blanks
  • Matching (i.e. Terms and definitions)
  • Numeric (i.e. The answer is a number)
  • Essay (text response questions)
  • File response (scans of maths workings, diagrams) - Not appropriate for invigilated online exams with ProctorU  

Note: If your exam has a significant component of file upload questions or essay questions, consider a Combination exam where these questions are separated into a different exam part and use the document upload option.


Most questions types in the Blackboard Test tool are automatically marked and the total test mark is transferred to Grade Centre.

Note: Essay or file response questions need to be manually marked and the File Response Question Type in the Blackboard Test tool needs to be downloaded individually for each student to be marked.


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Document Upload

The question paper is provided as a PDF or Word file. There are three main document options:

  1. Word file: The question paper is provided as a Word file. Students download the file and type their answers in the paper. This option is suitable for essay (text response) questions.
  2. Software file: The question paper is provided as a PDF file. Students complete their answers using discipline-specific software and save a file to upload. You may also consider supplying a template file for specific software which students download and complete (i.e. Excel).
  3. Handwritten: The question paper is provided as a PDF file. Students scan their handwritten completed answers on blank paper to a PDF file using a phone app. This option is suitable for questions that require answers with maths working, chemical equations, diagrams and drawings
    Not an option for online invigilated exams (ProctorU)

Tip: To avoid large file sizes, it is recommended that students scan handwritten answers to a PDF file rather than an image for upload. The Microsoft OneDrive application includes PDF scanning functionality that you may consider recommending to students. Refer to Scan to PDF via OneDrive (Android) and Scan to PDF via OneDrive (iOS) guides by Microsoft.

You can select to have students submit their exam file to either Turnitin or the Blackboard Assignment tool.

Note: If you require a Similarity report to provide text-matching information to check possible student academic misconduct, Turnitin should be used for the document submission.


You may wish to consider using a Grading Form in Turnitin rather than a rubric to simplify exam marking.

If you need to annotate handwritten files use the Blackboard Assignment tool. You can then choose to either use the in-built annotation tool or download the files and use an annotation tool of your choice.

Note: It is also possible to upload marked files in bulk using the Assignment File Upload tool.


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Combination Exams

Combination exams using different tools for different parts of the exam should also be considered.

For example:

  • Part A Multiple Choice questions
    Use the Blackboard test tool
  • Part B Two essays
    Use a Word format exam paper

Note: While you may advise students to complete the exam parts in a specific order, it is recommended that all exam parts are due at the same time and are made available for the same windows of time (i.e. do not add additional complexity to how students complete and submit the exam).

Blackboard Test  Document Upload
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