Keep an eye on students doing time-limited activities in iLearn (Moodle).

The increasing use of Zoom invigilation has led Shamim Joarder of “ilearn Insights” fame, to develop a “Live exam monitoring” tool. While this monitoring tool is not a replacement for zoom invigilation it makes an excellent adjunct to provide an invigilator with an overview of student progress in an exam session. This is also handy for teachers who are running in-class online tests, quizzes in a computer lab or other time limited tasks via iLearn.

The live exam monitoring tool is able to fully monitor iLearn (Moodle) quiz, and partly monitor assignment and Turnitin activities (although the latter two have some caveats – see the notes at the end). 

The monitoring tool allows the invigilator to see the status of each student taking the iLearn activity, as ‘not attempted’, ‘in progress’, or ‘finished’. Therefore, if a student starts before you have allowed, then you will be able to see this. Additionally, you can ensure that any uploads have been successfully completed and the activity has been properly submitted in iLearn before releasing students from the supervised environment.

Live exam monitor provides invigilators with oversight of each student’s status and the means to better control a zoom invigilation session. 

Staff view of the live exam monitor screen

A demonstration video is also available. 

Please note the video shows an older version that doesn’t have group filtering or profile photos. 

Filtering the list

By default, the list of students will display all those who are enrolled in the unit. The student list can be filtered according to groups defined in the iLearn unit site. E.g. internal/external, by tutorial groups or by manually created groups such as ‘zoom exam’. 

  • Note: At present the list cannot be filtered according to Zoom room allocation (unless matching groups were created in iLearn). 

Profile photos

If the monitor user is also logged into iLearn then they can also view iLearn profile photos of the students in the list by moving the cursor over the small thumbnail image. A monitor user who is not logged into iLearn will be unable to view student profile images – a place-holder icon will be displayed instead.

  • Note: The ‘Zoom exam instructions for students‘ document requests that students upload a passport style photo to iLearn. However because these images are supplied by students, there is no ability to control the accuracy of the photo.

The student’s profile photo will be visible in the upper right corner of the student’s quiz screen and in the quiz navigation panel. This standard iLearn feature is particularly useful when conducting on-campus exams in a computer lab.

A student’s view of a Quiz with a profile photo displayed


Teaching staff can find the Live exam monitoring tool by: 

  1. Login to iLearn Insights using their staff MQ OneID.  
  1. Go to the top menu: Activities > Activity details.
  1. Use the Live exam monitoring system icon within an activity. 

Please note that the Live exam monitoring system icon will be disabled if the iLearn quiz activity is configured with the ‘attempts’ setting greater than 1. 

It is worth noting that users of the live exam monitoring tool do not need to have teacher access to the iLearn Unit site. This allows central exams office staff to use the tool to monitor formal end-of-session exams. However users must have access to iLearn Insights.


Privacy of student information is protected by requiring a MQ login limited to MQ teaching staff only, by only allowing access to units assigned to that teaching staff member and by only displaying students that are enrolled in the unit.


To ensure Live monitor works correctly to show that the student has started (in-progress) and completion indicators, iLearn activities need to be configured and set up for exam use: 

  • Quiz – works by default but should be set up with a password and suitable open/close times.
  • Assignment – the passworded question file(s) must be attached to the activity, use suitable allow/due/cut-off times AND ‘restrict access’ must be applied to match the exam start time to prevent early access to the question file. Once the student accesses the attached file then the ‘in-progress’ indicator will be shown.
  • Turnitin – the passworded question file(s) should embedded as a link in the description, use suitable start/due dates AND ‘restrict access’ must be applied to match the exam start time to prevent early access to the question file.  

See further details and examples of setting up exams in iLearn

Exam preparation advice and resources for Macquarie University staff is also available.

Posted by Mathew Hillier

Mathew has been engaged by Macquarie University as an e-Assessment Academic in residence and is available to answer questions by MQ staff. Mathew specialises in Digital Assessment (e-Assessment) in Higher Education. Has held positions as an advisor and academic developer at University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, Monash University and University of Adelaide. He has also held academic teaching roles in areas such as business information systems, multimedia arts and engineering project management. Mathew recently led a half million dollar Federal government funded grant on e-Exams across ten university partners and is co-chair of the international 'Transforming Assessment' webinar series as the e-Assessment special interest group under the Australasian society for computers in learning in tertiary education. He is also an honorary academic University of Canberra.

One Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *