D2L Online Test Security (settings, time limits, and submission views)

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D2L Online Test Security (settings, time limits, and submission views)

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Author :
Sue Halick and Casey Henley
D2L Online Test Security (settings, time limits, and submission views)

SH Contact profile image
Author :
Sue Halick and Casey Henley

Online Test Security Issues

Unfortunately, it has become far too commonplace for students to “help each other out” by posting test questions and answers on websites. Try a google search for your course code and exam title and you may find sites listing your exam (e.g., Course Hero, Koofers, Chegg, and Quizlet). Also try a search of specific questions to see what’s out there. Most of these sites are meant to help students study and they post honor codes* but not all students will abide by them.

As the instructor, you can ask these study sites to remove your material when you find it.

Here are some ways to minimize issues when using the D2L Quiz tool, while also promoting honesty and learning. 

Recommendations to reduce cheating

  • Limit the opportunity to use outside sources by enforcing a time-limit.
  • Add a mandatory academic honesty question at the beginning of the exam, asking students to certify that the test represents their independent work.
  • Create large question pools (reword questions and choices each semester so they cannot be easily searched).
  • Randomize the question sequence and/or answer choices.
  • Display one question per page, or at least fewer questions per page. This makes it harder for students to take a screenshot of the questions in bulk. 
  • Craft questions that require critical thinking: Avoid straightforward identification questions, where students can answer through a quick search.
  • Ask students to select all of the correct answers (use multiple-select type and change the setting to "correct answers" to award partial credit).
  • Provide limited views of results upon submission. Limiting the viewing window does not prevent copying but it can reduce the ability to go back later to copy.
  • Use remote proctoring opens in new window for high-stakes exams. The downside can be technical obstacles, cost, and privacy issues (e.g., use of webcams).

Time limits on exams/quizzes

If you are giving an online exam, time-limits help to both reduce cheating and encourage more studying. See The Value of Time Limits on Internet Quizzes opens in new window.

"Time limits on exams are associated with better learning and exam performance because they reduce the opportunity to look up answers in lieu of learning the material."

There is also a setting in D2L quizzes to disable right-click. This prevents students from doing a quick copy of the whole question in order to search for answers in another window. 

Another potential issue: Submission Views

If the submission view shows all of the questions and what they got right and wrong as soon as they submit it, this can easily be copied and sent to another student without you seeing it posted on the internet. Random selection helps to make this less of an issue but it would be better to have clear end-dates with restricted submission views. Keep the default submission view as "score only" and then don’t show the other details until after the end-date.

Here are recommended Submission View settings.


Date: immediately
Show Questions? No
Statistics: none
(Saying "No" to Show Questions means students will only see a score)


Display right/wrong answers after the due date
Date: ##/##/####
Show Questions? Yes, Show all questions with user responses
Show question answers: No
Statistics: none (or show statistics - your preference)

Back to score only at end of course
Date: ##/##/####
Show Questions? No
Statistics: none

Bring the second additional view back to “score only” at the end of the semester so that views are not left open when you copy the course to a new semester.

Reviewing Quiz results

To review quiz activity, go to Assessments > Quizzes and select "Grade" on the pull-down menu by the quiz title. Go to the attempts tab, and click on individual attempts to review results by student. Click on "Attempt Logs" to see the quiz entry and completion for each student.

Use the pull-down menu next to a Quiz title in the Quiz list view, and select Statistics to view Quiz/Question stats (view each tab).

Also, watch student activity within your course content to understand patterns that may alert you to issues. Look at Table of Contents > related tools > view reports > users tab, to compare quiz results with content views to discover potential issues.

Here are the recommendations from the D2L Brightspace Community to help prevent cheating:

  • On the Edit Quiz page, in the Optional Advanced Properties area, select Disable right click.
  • Select Disable Email, Instant Messages and alerts (but only if there is an enforced time-limit). Students will not be able to use D2L email in any of their courses while the quiz is pending.
  • Incorporate question pools into your quizzes to distribute unique sets of questions to users.
  • In the Quiz Questions area, select Shuffle questions at the quiz level.
  • If Sections are used, select Shuffle questions in this section.

Note:  You can shuffle within sections rather than shuffling questions at the quiz level if you would like to present auto-graded items first (MC, M-S, T/F) and then present essay (WR) questions later.

*Examples of honor codes

Go to Brightspace D2L Documentation for more on creating and managing quizzes opens in new window.

Posted by:
Dave Goodrich #iteachmsu
#d2l #assessment