Teaching & Learning


Operation of alternative assessments, Third Term and Late Summer Assessments 2020

Scheduling and submission for timed 24-hour exams, coursework and capstone assessments and departmentally-organised assessments.

Last updated: 29 June 2020.

The COVID-19 outbreak means that all invigilated in person examinations scheduled for 2019-20 have been cancelled, to be replaced by alternative modes of assessment. The majority of assessment that was originally set as an examination have now been delivered either as timed 24-hour exams, coursework, or first year capstone assessments or have been excluded.  

Note: Online exams are eligible for deferrals; coursework and other alternative assessments are eligible for extensions. The length of extension is set by the Faculty Extenuating Circumstances Panel (ECP) but the deadline should be before the mark exchange deadlines. If that is not possible, it becomes a deferral.

See below for further information on Extenuating Circumstances. 

How delivery, scheduling and submission will be managed

Timed, 24 hour online exams

Exams that were originally an examination and had been converted to a 24 hour online exam will have centrally managed dates and be set up by the Exams team.

Where 24 hour online exams are running, the task that is set in the examination paper should reflect the same time effort required for an ordinary exam.  The 24-hour window should be ample time for students to complete the assessment and submit without any time pressure.

Departments are advised not to run multiple different versions of exams for the same cohort. These will not be facilitated by central administration. Where different versions of an examination paper are required due to different years of registration - e.g. for resitting students - these will be uploaded with clear labelling so that students select the correct version. 

How they will work

The deferred examination will be set up on the 2019-20 version of Moodle. There will be two instances that are available - one for 2020-20 and the other for 2019-20. 

  • Timed, 24-hour online exams will be managed centrally, including the setting up of the Moodle Test in line with the examination timetable.
  • Moodle Tests will be standard questions and answers – replication of the exam paper process in an exam hall. There will be no set up of “Moodle Quizzes”
  • The exam paper will be visible before the release date but NOT accessible until 24 hours before the submission deadline.
  • Students will download a template answer sheet to prompt them to populate their candidate number and module code. 
  • Digital Education have issued guidance for students needing to submit handwritten responses as part of their online exam.
  • Overall word counts must be stipulated to ensure that students do not write more than required, and that completion of the assessment is possible within the usual exam duration. Where a student exceeds the word count, the student will still be able to submit their examination but may be subject to Faculty/Departmental penalties. 
  • Students will submit their timed, 24-hour online exam via Turnitin. 
  • The examination paper query form has been included in the Exam Paper Submission document to enable the query about the examination paper to automatically accompany the exam submission - this replicates the current process for invigilated exams.  
  • For every Moodle Exam Page that has been set up, a link to an email address has been provided for students in case they are unable to submit via Turnitin - the Examinations Team will then forward such submissions to the department. 
  • Exams, like coursework, will be submitted using Turnitin in their usual module areas in Moodle. The examinations team has overall access to Moodle to enable this to happen. No centrally-generated Moodle submission areas will be created. 
  • Once assessment has been submitted via Turnitin, departments and examiners will be able to access submissions on Moodle immediately to begin marking.  There will be no central collation of the script collection process.

Word counts for timed 24-hour exams

Word count must be stipulated for timed 24-hour exams.  This is to ensure that students do not write in excess of what is required, and that completion of the assessment is possible within the usual exam duration. 

Students have been advised that if wordcounts are exceeded their submission will still be accepted but may be subject to penalties being imposed by their Faculty/Department

Examination adjustments for timed, 24-hour online exams

The duration of these exams has been set to 24 hours which takes into account those students who may need additional time and rest breaks as a reasonable adjustment, as well as different time zones.   The Student Support and Wellbeing Team have contacted students who had in person exam based support to discuss accessing online exams. Students who are concerned about accessing 24-hour online exams should contact Student Support and Wellbeing via askUCL.

Two exams in one day

Those that do have two exams timetabled  will have a 27 hour window, submitting both papers the next day, one at 12:00 and one at 15:00 (UK Time). Students who are timetabled to have two exams in one day and are concerned about accessing and completing these exams due to a disability should contact Student Support and Wellbeing via askUCL

Central administration

The Examinations Team will be deployed to support departments in the administration of those timed, 24-hour online exams that are listed in the LSA examination timetable only.  The team will set up exam and set up a test session for all students before the examination period.  The exam paper will be visible before the release date but NOT accessible until 24 hours before the submission deadline.  A template answer sheet will be uploaded ensuring that students populate their candidate number and module code.

Moodle Exam pages (Examinations Office's current activity)

The Examinations Office has built the exams on Moodle for those exams that are in the examination timetable. The LSA assessment will be added to the 2019/20 version of Moodle. Please note that there will also be a 2020-21 version of Moodle available to enable departments to prepare their content for the start of session. 

Please can you advise your colleagues in your departments and all those that have admin access to Moodle NOT to amend the 2019-20 pages or change the order of priority in which they are displayed. Settings have been applied to ensure security of the exam papers.

If you require any changes, please contact examinations@ucl.ac.uk

You are able to view the information - the examination paper will be visible but not accessible to students until 24 hours before the deadline submission window. 

We have now updated our exam pages for students with further information on the mechanics of online exams

Exam paper corrections

If you notice that there is an error on one of the exam papers, please contact the examinations office examinations@ucl.ac.uk.

The main risk to the online examination process is if a student spots an error on the exam paper – therefore careful scrutiny of examination papers prior to submission is critical to ease this process to eliminate as many queries as possible. 

Students will have access to the examination paper query form which they will submit along with their examination answer sheet.

Moodle test environment - preparing for your online exam

A practice exam environment on Moodle has been set up to allow students (and staff) to enrol on the course and gain familiarity of the environment. There is information and guidance notes on the process.

Enrolment records will be maintained so that the level of engagement can be monitored.

Remote support for students

ISD, Digital Education and the Examinations Team will be offering remote support for students. This has been shared as follows:

  • Technical support: If you have any technical queries on the day of your exam, please complete and submit this form. 
  • Problems uploading your work to Turnitin?: If you encounter any problems submitting/uploading your work to Turnitin e.g. files over 100MB please use this link to submit your exam answer sheet. 
  • Problems with the exam paper? If the exam paper is wrong and you need to raise an urgent query regarding the paper, please submit this form.

LSA Exam Papers Deadline for Submission: 27 July 2020

To ensure the accuracy of exam paper content, Module leads should ensure that the Exams office has the correct exam paper.

The examinations office will send out Examination Coversheets to departments on 16 July.

Coursework (previously an invigilated exam)

Coursework tasks should be released by departments to students as soon as possible to allow enough time for students to complete.

The deadline for completion of the coursework will not be set centrally. Departments will need to advise students of all coursework deadlines.

Examination Period and Timetable 

The LSA examination period has been advertised as 24 August to 11 September 2020 and has not changed from the original timelines. Submission times will be set as 12.00 and 15:00 (UK time). 

The dates that will appear in the examination timetable will be the submission deadline date and not the date that the assessment has to take place on. 

The timetable will show the delivery of assessment (online exam) and all durations for exams will be redacted.

The publication of the LSA timetable to students will be 28 July.

The timetable will be released via email and visible on Portico.  The dates in the examination timetable will only be for those assessments that were examinated as a 24 hour online exam in the Main 2020 exam timetable. The timetable will NOT show deadlines for assessments that were not assessed as a 24 hour online exam.

Please note that there will be no Sunday release or Saturday submissions.

Publication of the timetable to students on 28 July.

The timetable will be sent to students with the messaging to encourage students to prepare for their examinations.

Information will be given on the following:

  • Details of the practice environment
  • Reminding students that they need to be enrolled on the 2019/20 Module Moodle course to access their examination paper.
  • Reminding students that open book exams are still subject to the regulations governing Academic Misconduct.
  • Advising students to select the correct examination paper for their year of registration on the module.
  • Word Counts and the importance of adhering to these.
  • Reminding students that there is only one submission permitted for their exam.
  • Failing to submit on time may be deemed as an absence from the exam and the late submission may not be marked.

Coursework and other assessment not included in the examination timetable

Departments are responsible for the administration of coursework and other alternative assessment not scheduled in the LSA examination timetable. Departments will also be responsible for the setting of deadlines.

Submission deadlines: to ensure that Moodle does not exceed a submission load of more than 2400 simultaneous submissions, submission deadlines:

  • must be outside of the scheduled dates and times that are in the examination timetable;

Deadlines for usual coursework should be set outside of the examination period; where a deadline has to be set within the examination period, or on the Capstone deadline dates,  deadline times must be set at one of the following times (UK Time):

  • 09:00 – 11:00

  • 16:00 – 17:00

If you have any queries please contact your Faculty or the examinations team on examinations@ucl.ac.uk

Marking and Exam Boards

Student Records are currently drafting guidance on mark entry and also planning around all the changes of assessment. Further information and FAQs will be published here asap. Any queries on these changes on portico please contact your relevant Student Records Schools Manager. 

Student Records Schools Manager

Aneal Chaudhari


Sharon Brown


Helen A’Court


Chris Marshall

Summary of Responsibility - implementation of alternative assessment. 

This is the section most likely to have some minor revisions in the coming days and weeks, however the following is currently correct.  

Coursework, always planned as coursework (i.e. no change in method)

This applies equally to all other forms of assessment that are not changing.

Released on:

Assessment brief, marking criteria etc. to be released as soon as possible (ideally via Moodle). 

Released by:

Department (i.e. module lead etc.) 

Submission date set by: 

Submission dates will remain unchanged or be later than those currently advertised to students (or planned)*.  Any falling within the period of the new assessment timetable must have submission times that are outside the period 11am to 4pm. 

Coursework replacing exams
Released on:

Assessment brief, marking criteria etc. to be released as soon as possible (ideally via Moodle) 

Released by:

Department (i.e. module lead etc.).

Submission date set by: 

SRS will set the deadline as part of the new “assessment timetable.” Submission times will be 12 noon or 3pm. For assessments that were not included in the original examination timetable, departments are to set the deadlines. Submission times must be outside the period 11am to 4pm. 

Coursework replacing other ‘in person’ assessment
Released on:

Assessment brief, marking criteria etc. to be released as soon as possible (ideally via Moodle) 

Released by:

Department (ie. module lead etc)

Submission date set by:

For assessments that were not included in the original examination timetabled departments are to set the deadlines

Online “timed” (i.e. 24hr) exams

There are exams that were included in the previously published examination timetable.

Released on:

Date set by SRS

Released by:

SRS (meaning papers will need to be supplied to them)

Submission date set by: 

SRS will set the date as part of the new “assessment timetable.” Submission times will be 12 noon or 3pm.  

For assessments that were not included in the original examination timetable, departments are to set the deadlines and fully administer the exam. If they fall within the period of the new assessment timetable, submission times must be outside the period 11am to 4pm.   

Other assessments (e.g. presentations etc.) replacing “in-person” variants
Released on:

Assessment brief, marking criteria etc. to be released as soon as possible (ideally via Moodle)

Released by:

Department (i.e. module lead etc.) 

Submission date set by: 

Departments to set and manage these dates*. 

* Note that certain dates may have to be avoided for technical or other reasons, requiring changes to advertised deadlines or restrictions on submission dates for assessments. A list of “no-go” dates  and times has been listed above. Please note that if a deadline does need to change, under no circumstances can it be made earlier than the currently planned/advertised date.   

Frequently Asked Questions

Exam submissions

Can the paper be set with specific font sizes, margins (for marking)

No, we are unable to regulate this

How long will the submission window remain open after the deadline? 

The Moodle page will remain open for three days after the date of the exam, after which time the Moodle exam page will be hidden from students. 

How are we reminding students that it is a one-time submission only? 

This information has been emailed to students with their timetable:  “Only one submission will be permitted.  If your submission is late it will be classed as “absent”.

 This information is also presented on each Moodle exam page and the examinations webpage, and will be included in student-facing news items ahead of the exams. 

Will a Turnitin submission inbox be set up centrally? 

Yes as part of the exam page set up on Moodle a Turnitin submission box will also be set up for all exams that are centrally managed and appear in the examination timetable.

Do students start by downloading the exam answer sheet with candidate number and make sure they upload only this as their version? 

Students are instructed to download the answer sheet and enter their candidate number. 

What is the process for exams expecting 100% handwritten responses? Has it been tested that the result is readable?  

There have been guidelines produced to advise students on how to upload handwritten notes. This has been signed off by the Digital Education Team and has been agreed to be the best option.

Students are expected to handwrite their answers and upload as per the instructions Moodle Online Exams (24hrs): Handwritten responses - using Office Lens

If the uploaded document is unreadable the student may be requested to upload a more readable version.

Can a student submit a PDF? 

Yes, there are no restriction. 

The process is usually only one file submission per student - do they inser pictures for handwritten content (e.g. hand-drawn graphs) into the main submission document? 

Yes, the instructions that have been produced include information on how to insert it into their main document to then upload a single submission.

What if students don't submit in Word or PDF? Sometimes they submit as .Pages.

The Following guidance has been given to students:

 ‘The answer sheet is provided as a Microsoft Word document. We strongly recommend that you use Microsoft Word for your submission as well. The software is available for all students to use. For more information see Microsoft software available.'

 .Pages files can be uploaded to Turnitin but Turnitin will not process a similarity score.

Can we enforce all students to submit in PDF and restrict online submission to only accept PDF? 

We cannot restrict to just PDF but we can restrict to files that Turnitin can process.  See the full list of files Turnitin can process

As the answer sheet is provided as Word document and these can be processed fully by Turnitin, there is no reason to ask students to then save it as a PDF unless they so wish.

We chose to not restrict file types so that there is no barrier to students uploading files.

When will testing take place for the assessments where module leaders made changes? And when can we download the report sent to our programme team? 

Student Records is currently working on this and will issue guidance in due course.

For essay style questions, how will checks be made if a student submits a handwritten answer to an exam or assessment? 

There are no restrictions on what is able to be submitted via Turnitin (this is always the case).  Departments are able to advise students what submission format there should be for Coursework submissions as part of the instruction to students when the coursework is/was released.


Will you be removing the examination topics from Moodle prior to the snapshot?

The Digital Education Team and the Examinations Team will discuss this and advise at a later date.

Can you share the link for the Moodle exam template? 

Yes, here is the link for the Moodle Test site for students. Staff can also enrol and see what the environment will look like.

A log will be retained of those who have enrolled on the Practice Environment

Can staff edit the Moodle exam template? 

No, it is essential that the Moodle Exam Page Template is not edited so that it is consistent across the college.  If there is any additional information that needs to be included please contact the examinations team to discuss.

Could we add candidate numbers to the LSA papers? 

No, it is not possible to do this in the time-frame available.

Plagiarism and academic misconduct

How will work be checked for plagiarism if submitted as images since Turnitin can only analyse text? 

Turnitin is not able to check photos/handwritten notes for plagiarism – the functionality is the same as if it were usual coursework submission.

Is there a declaration of 'own work' and a new code of conduct? Are there changes to the regulations on what to do if we believe there is mass collusion? 

Students are required to tick a box on Turnitin to declare that the work is of their own.

There is no change to the regulations surrounding collusion and is covered by the Academic Manual Chapter 6, Section 9

Academic Services is currently drawing up a Code of Conduct which will summarise the regulations.


Why is the timetable in 'UK time' rather than 'BST' or 'GMT'?  

There has been discussion around this point and it was decided that UK time will be used in labelling  i.e. 15:00 (UK time). 

Late or incorrect submissions

If students submit a 24 hour exam late, what happens to the work? Are late penalties applied, as in the case of coursework, or will it be treated in the same way as a late exam submission (i.e. not marked)? 

If a student submits late due to technical issues from their environment this can be submitted as an EC and the work will not be late and should be marked as normal.  If the technical issue is from UCL’s environment this should then be treated as a material irregularity.

If in the event the Moodle Environment becomes unstable, the examinations office will issue an examination incident to the ELO network via email.

It will be on a case by case basis.

What if they select the wrong paper? 

As with late submissions due to technical issues, students should submit extenuating circumstances. 

If it is deemed to be an error caused by UCL this will then be covered by the Material Irregularity procedure.

What is the final cut-off for late submissions? 

Students will be able to submit after the deadline. The submission window open will remain open to allow for technical, this does not  alter the fact that the submission time is the deadline. 

Anything submitted afterwards will be flagged as late and get 0 unless there are grounds for ECs or MI as above.

Exam paper corrections

It is likely that students will contact departmental staff directly if they experience problems with their exam paper. Should we address any queries or just direct them to fill in the online form? 

Students should be advised to submit the online Examination Paper query form – however if it is apparent that there is a major error with the examination paper, Departments can add a correction on Moodle and all students should also be emailed. 

It must be borne in mind that there may be some students that may have already submitted their examination script.  No corrections to exam papers should be posted before the examination paper goes live.

Re-sits and re-sit students

Can we set up groups in Moodle to control visibility of different versions of papers, e.g. 2019/2020 and deferred 2018/2019? 

No – students will have to select the correct examination paper as per the year in which they were registered for the module.  Exam Papers will be clearly labelled with the academic year for which the paper is suitable for.

Exam Papers will be clearly labelled with the academic year for which the paper is suitable for.

There is also information on this on each moodle exam page, on the examinations website and will be included in the communication that will be sent to all students that are currently in the examination timetable.

Can departmentally run resit exams take place during the LSA period, Aug/Sept 2020?

If the original assessment was a centrally organised exam, then no. 

Reassessment will be in January for PGT resits and UG finalist resits. 

For all other students the next opportunity will be Summer 2021.

Can you clarify the definition of LSA for deferred assessments? Would it include all first attempts at assessment, including coursework deadlines? What about coursework deadlines currently due in the LSA period?

The LSA period is for deferred assessments only.  There will be a January examination period for PG Resits and UG Finalist resits. Details and timelines for students will follow.

For coursework, if the extended deadline is before the exchange of marks deadline, it is an extension; if after, it is a deferral.

Extensions and deferrals

Can we grant extensions for the alternative coursework? If so, is there a recommended maximum length? 

Yes, you can give an extension.

No, there are no UCL guidelines but marks need to be in by the published deadlines so check those first.

If students need longer, the EC Panel may need to consider a deferral. Some faculties also have local policies on lengths of extensions so these should be checked as well.

Are first year UGs eligible for extensiosn on the Capstone assessment, either via ECs or SoRAs, or is deferral the only option? 

Yes, for students with a SORA a 1 week extension is granted.

For ECs, it is recommended that extensions are limited to ensure departments meet the mark processing deadlines. Students needing longer should be considered for a deferral.

When you say students can self-defer, do you mean to a different submission date? 

Yes, deferral will be to the next opportunity. 

What happens if a student falls ill on the day or the day before the online exam? Will they get the chance to re-sit? Will the questions be changed? 

If the student is not well enough to take their examination/s they can apply for a deferral. 

As per each examination period. there is always a round of collecting examination papers.

If the country re-opens in the late Summer and students are able to attend GPs, will they be required to provide evidence for EC claims submitted then? 

Students can continue to self-certify for the Late Summer Assessment period, 24 August to 11 September 2020. We will keep it under review and confirm the policy for the January sittings.

When will the Late Summer Assessments (LSA) period run? 

The 2019-20 Late Summer Assessments (LSA) period will run from 24 August to 11 September 2020.

Extenuating circumstances and SoRAs

Is there still a deadline for EC requests, i.e. 7 days? 

Yes, claims still need to be submitted within 7 days of the EC taking place.

If we set a coursework with a one week deadline but the "work" is days, is there an expectation to give an extra week? 

If alternative assessment is a timed online exam, the 24 hour period covers any additional time that would have been granted under their SORA.

If the alternative assessment is coursework, including the Capstone assessment, the extension to be granted to students is 1 week.

Coursework should be issued to students as soon as possible.

Students are asking for ECs in anticipation of a problem. How should we deal with this? 
The Extenuating Circumstances procedures are being relaxed and evidence requirements have been suspended for the remainder of the academic year.  Further guidance covering deadlines, late claims, evidence requirements, duration of extensions and number of claims can be found in Chapter 4 of the Academic Manual. Panels are expected to be lenient and flexible in applying these extraordinary EC procedures, which are intended to apply in circumstances that are ‘sudden, disruptive and outside the student’s control.’ Where assessments for PGT students are deferred into the LSA period Panels should also consider an extension to their dissertation submission deadline.


Are technological issues (e.g. computer or internet failures) going to be covered under ECs?


Can EC panels be reminded to check with relevant departments before communicating approved ECs to students? 

Departments need to factor in the exchange of marks deadline when setting deadlines, and should be liaising with teaching departments about feasibility.

Does the EC panel still need to approve a request to extend coursework submission if it's less than 3 weeks? 

Any restrictions or guidance on lengths of extensions will have come from a faculty or departmental policy so please refer back to those.

Under the emergency procedure, decisions can be made by Chair’s Action rather than the whole panel, but again, please check your local faculty or departmental policy.

What do we do if a student immediately submits an EC to wipe a late submission of coursework assessments? 

The emergency EC procedure permits the student to do this, although it is obviously not something that we would want to encourage.

If students don't submit a claim within 7 days of the assessment, is there still a late EC procedure? If so, does that require evidence? 

Yes, the normal late procedure applies – if the Board of Examiners has not made a decision, the panel can use its discretion. If the BoE has made a decision, it needs to be submitted for central approval. The normal criteria for it being late (‘impossible’ etc) still apply.

It is reasonable to expect evidence for late claims.

How do we manage students who are submitting ECs now for coursework due for submission in August/September? 

Students should be advised to wait until nearer the time when they will have a better understanding of their overall assessment requirements. Extensions can end up back-loading assessment so are not always the answer.


How are staff marking? 

Completed examinations will be instantly available to departments and examiners, there is no central print and collation service. 

Marking should take place online.

How is work progressing on applying 0 EX to components? 

Academic Services is currently working on guidance with regard to component exclusions and will be issued in due course.

I think the no detriment policy will lead to grade inflation. How do we manage that? 

UCL’s no detriment policy has been informed by guidance from the OfS and QAA and is based on modelling undertaken by the Student Data Team.