This post collates advice from learning designers and educational technologists from across the University on how to design and manage quizzes in iLearn. **Note this is a live resource that will continue to be revised and updated.**

Use of iLearn quizzes

As (part of) an Exam

  • Quizzes are best used for exams done on-screen with selected response questions (e.g. multiple-choice questions) and/or exams with typed short text or numeric responses.
  • Quizzes are also better suited to exams where a strict writing time needs to be enforced within a wider window of availability (e.g. 2-hour writing time within a 6-hour window of availability).
  • Students should be provided opportunities to practice quiz exams:
    • If it is a quiz /test/ exam with a high weighting and/or you haven’t used quizzes in your unit previously, or a quiz in this format, give students a practice quiz beforehand, with different questions but the same time limit restrictions – so they are familiar with the interface, how the countdown timer works, any additional tasks they need to answer questions, etc.
  • Further detailed information on the use of quizzes for exams is provided within the iLearn: Discover iLearn for Unit Convenors

Creating the quiz

Writing quiz questions

  • If writing quiz questions from scratch, get someone else to proofread them. Then read over them again. Then get someone else to read over them. Again.

Peer review the questions and check them for accuracy. It pays to spend this time at the very beginning, just making sure the questions are sensible

Mike Bogle

Even just for checking syntax and whether the question stem matches the answers, it all really needs to be moderated and checked

Cathy Rytmeister
  • If a teaching team is writing questions together, organise to come together as a group, to agree on scope, level and type of questions and have some exemplars to start with.

If you’re relying on half a dozen people to write the items independently, you’re going to get a variety of levels of complexity in the questions – which is something to be avoided

Mike Bogle
  • Set each question to display on its own page.  This can help enhance assessment security, and ensures responses are saved automatically when students navigate from one page to the next.
  • Ensure Shuffle the choices is enabled to ensure each student sees a different sequence when viewing the question.
  • Use question bank categories to enable the randomisation of questions to be selected from a larger pool.
  • Creating questions takes time; factor this into your planning.

Writing multiple choice questions is an art, something that shouldn’t be taken on lightly. It can take time to put really good questions together

Natalie Spence

It can be a multi-year project to get a good multiple-choice question bank up and running

Jeremy Hind

Recycling questions: when and how to reuse quiz questions

  • Your bank of quiz questions within your iLearn unit can be built up over time and questions can be reused in any new quizzes you build. However, it is important to note that editing a question will change that question in any other quiz where it appears in the unit.
  • If you are not sure, then we recommend you either make a new question, or you can duplicate the question in the question bank, and edit the new version for use.

Setting review options

  • (always) Double check how you have configured the Review options section (within the quiz settings.  This controls what feedback is released to students and when, including their attempt (i.e. what they selected/answered), their marks, and whether they have answered questions correctly.

*In response to the increased use of the iLearn quiz for final exams, the default Review options setting has now changed so that all review options are OFF – see this post for more detail.

For an online test, it is safest to untick everything except ‘the attempt’ for all time periods – see image below. After the test is closed, it is good practice to NOT release marks automatically, but to instead review students’ performance. Only release marks after mark moderation has taken place and you are confident that you are releasing exactly what you want students to see.

  • Think carefully about the time limit for quizzes – see below.
  • Ensure open attempts are submitted automatically in the Timing section of quiz settings; all other settings can result in student attempts being refused if the time limit and/or grace period are exceeded.
  • Group and user override rules can be created to establish different open/close dates, time limits or number of attempts.  An example would be providing additional time for students who have been approved for special considerations.
  • Make sure you preview the quiz after creation to ensure everything looks right.

Setting time limits

Open/close times and dates

  • Think carefully about the time limit you set for quizzes. Remember there will be an increase in internet load and related issues.
  • If you have a very tightly timed test, consider extending the time to reduce pressure (while considering implications for academic integrity issues such as increased time for collusion).
  • Think about time expiry considerations such as automatic submission of response attempts:

I don’t recommend convenors change the default setting for ‘When time expires’ (in the Timing section).  The default setting – ‘Open attempts are submitted automatically’ – is the only option that ensures attempts will be submitted no matter what.  The other two choices can result in the attempt being refused by the system and without any option to force the attempt through on the student’s behalf.  In the context of final exams, that would be a really bad outcome

Mike Bogle
  • Think about the appropriateness of the exam window.

I think everyone wants to be as flexible as they can to provide opportunities for students to engage, but if you’re giving people a weekend to complete a 15-minute online quiz, that’s something to think about!

Matthew Robson

Setting assessment weighting

  • Setting the Maximum grade value as the assessment weighting is not recommended. Instead, it is recommended that the assignments be marked out of 100, with weightings configured in the gradebook separately. 

In the Faculty of Arts, we require that all Turnitin items are marked out of 100, and that categories are used for calculation instead of weighting in the gradebook. Because Turnitin needs to be re-setup every session, this way, convenors only need to put the item in the right category once, and they never have to go in and change weightings (see Key Resources below for link to FoA guidelines)

Michael Rampe

Communicating with students about quizzes and…

Academic integrity

Technical issues

  • Advise students what to do to minimise risk of internet or other technical issues (see below).
  • Recommend students update their browser to the latest version. Note that while all of the common browsers should work for iLearn quizzes, Chrome and Firefox work best.
  • Include ALL key information and expectations in the quiz description field.  This information is displayed to students on the landing page, seen immediately before beginning the quiz, and can be viewed by students before the quiz is open.

Timing and progress

  • Emphasise the importance of the quiz open and close date/time (configured in quiz settings). 

When the close date/time occurs, students will be unable to spend any more time on their quizzes, even if they are still within their time limit (e.g. if a quiz closes at midnight with a 1-hour time window for completion, and the student begins the quiz at 11:45; their attempt will still be cut off at midnight and they won’t have the full hour!)


If a student leaves the iLearn quiz environment, the countdown timer will still count down – their time is not paused!

Mike Bogle
  • Students should not use the back and forward browser buttons during the quiz. Instead, they should progress within the quiz itself via save and next buttons
  • Let students know what procedure to follow if they do experience technical issues and/or need to lodge a request for special consideration for a supplementary quiz.

Minimising potential issues with being online

Current best advice for students involves:

  • Planning: ensuring their laptop computer is plugged into a power source; using wired (rather than wireless) internet if possible; having a back-up internet option (e.g. tethering to their mobile phone’s data); minimising other internet use within their household/Wi-Fi during the time (e.g. streaming, downloading, etc) to minimise load on Wi-Fi.
  • Documenting: logging and recording any problems with as much detail as possible (e.g. screenshots).
  • Optimising: simple guidelines for optimising Wi-Fi and connectivity is here:

After the quiz

Investigating student-reported issues

  • If a student reports a technical problem, gather as much evidence as possible to identify the source of the problem:
  • Use iLearn logs to identify when the student began the quiz, how much time they spent in and interacting with the quiz.
  • You can contact OneHelp to see if there were any reported iLearn issues or outages during the time of the quiz.

I always recommend staff check the Macquarie IT status page for details of any system issues that may have occurred at the time of the quiz / assessment

Cathy Mewes

Key Resources

Related policies:

IT updates:

Macquarie’s IT status page for systems’ issues:

More on quizzes in TECHE

This post includes quotes, contributions and links from:

Mike Bogle (Learning Designer, Psychology, FMHHS)

Kylie Coaldrake (L&T Coordinator, L&T Staff Development)

Lyn Collins (Senior Learning Designer, FMHHS)

Alison Hayward (Educational Resources Developer, L&T Staff Development)

Jeremy Hind (Manager, Applications Services-Learning & Teaching)

Fiona Hird (Educational Design Support Officer, Learning Enhancement)

Mathew Hillier (e-Assessment Academic, L&T Staff Development)

Shamim Joarder (Learning Analyst)

Cathy Mewes (Online Development Coordinator, Faculty of Arts)

Amanda Parker (Manager – Learning Enhancement & Student Engagement)

Michael Rampe (Senior Learning Designer, FoA)

Gai Ramesh (Senior Learning Designer, FoA)

Matthew Robson (Senior Learning Designer, FMHHS)

Cathy Rytmeister (Learning Analytics Manager)

Nathan Sollars (Educational Media Producer, Learning Enhancement)

Natalie Spence (Senior Learning Designer, FSE)

Fiona Thurn (Senior Learning Designer, FSE)

Thanks and acknowledgments: this post is based on an original resource developed by Mike Bogle. Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

Posted by L&T Development

The Learning and Teaching Staff Development team works with staff across the University to ensure they are supported to facilitate quality learning for students. This includes offering professional development, contributing to curriculum and assessment design, recognising and rewarding good practice, supporting peer review of teaching, and leading scholarly reflection. Email with questions or requests.

One Comment

  1. […] See also this TECHE post: What works, what doesn’t for iLearn quizzes […]


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