Adapting Course Assessments

Our priorities during this time are to reach out to our students to keep them informed, to communicate our expectations, and to determine what you can expect from them logistically. If you plan to hold Zoom class meetings during the usually scheduled class time, you will want to confirm with your students if this is possible for them.  

Click on Final Exams on Moodle and Take Homes: Considerations for Students with Accommodations Needs for FAQs and Considerations for  Scheduling Final Exams on Moodle and Take Homes for students with accommodations.

Be flexible. Understand that some students will not be able to attend to coursework within a normal timeframe. Potential challenges include students needing to travel and being in a different time zone as well as not having access to the necessary technology. They might be attending to dependents (childcare, sick family members) or sick themselves. Flexibility around deadlines and asynchronous access course materials are necessary.

When determining your assessment plan, ask yourself:

  1. What is essential to keep? What do you want to assess and how?
  2. What assessment scheme is now in place?
  3. Be flexible. Some students may need more time to complete assignments for a number of reasons. Also keep in mind any accommodation needs of students in your classes.
  4. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Create as many opportunities for dialogue as you can. Possibilities include zoom and discussion forums. Students might feel isolated, and we want them to continue to participate in course activities.
  5. Use Moodle. If you need technical assistance, go to for general tips and for adapting courses online to respond to crisis.

Communicate your expectations. Inform your students on how they can contact you, how they can complete the course, and how their learning will be assessed. This includes information on any updates to the course syllabus, any new modes of interacting, and your expectations for the rest of the term. 

McGill University has created a site detailing Five Principles for Making Decisions about Assessment in Challenging Times that offers important considerations for adapting your assessment strategies.

Below are some examples of how to adapt your current assessment strategies with possible alternative assessment formats to consider:

If you have or come across other alternative assessment strategies that could be added to this table, please email

Alternatives to the Following Assessment Types - select the assessment type below for alternatives

Time-constrained, Unseen Tests and Exams


  • Include questions that require higher-order thinking skills and demonstration of knowledge instead of right/wrong answers.
  • Ask students to submit through Turnitin in Moodle, which can help with some academic honesty concerns
  • Moodle can randomize the questions so that each student gets a “unique” test in that the order of the questions is different for each student.


Instead of doing the lab, can students:

  • Design a lab for a specific purpose?
  • Describe how they would perform a given test/experiment?
  • Provide possible reasons for particular outcomes?

For additional resources, visit:

Performance (e.g. theatre, dance, etc.)

  • Can students record their entire individual performance using phones, tablets, or computers?
  • Can student record a segment of their performance (e.g. a monologue, certain dance techniques and choreograph) and accompany the performance with a detailed script or choreography plan for the entire planned performance?
  • Can students critique an existing video of a performance?

Scenarios, case studies or role-play

Review a video, image, or text and answer questions, provide an analysis, reflect on, or make connections between course concepts.

Follow up discussion can happen:

    • Asynchronously through a discussion forum
    • Synchronously using Moodle chat, TEAMS or Zoom

Critiques/creative work (e.g. visual art, theatre, dance, etc.)

Have students share creative work by:

  • Taking a photo and uploading it to a group Moodle discussion forum
  • Working as individuals or groups to create video or audio, and sharing along with reflective commentaries

Follow up discussion can happen:

  • Asynchronously through a discussion forum
  • Synchronously using Moodle chat or Zoom

Presentations (individual or group)

Instead of a presentation, can students:

  • Submit written work?
  • Create a poster?
  • Make a PowerPoint slide deck with comprehensive talking points in the notes field?

If presentation skills are key to the assessment, students can:

  • Record their presentation (audio or video) and upload to Moodle
  • Deliver presentation in real-time via Zoom (to instructor, a small group, or whole class)

Objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE)

Can students submit digital portfolios that include videos of themselves performing specific tasks and procedures?

*This may be problematic in professional disciplines where the achievement of specific capabilities is required at 100% (e.g. Nursing, drugs calculations)

Oral assessments (e.g. Ph.D. oral exams, language exams, etc.)

Connect via video or tele-conference using Zoom

Written course work (e.g. research essays, learning journals, logbook, etc.)

Instead of email, consider having students:

  • Upload work via a Moodle assignment (Turnitin can help with some academic honesty concerns)


Instead of presenting their poster, can students submit the poster file along with speaking points?

If presentation skills are key to the assessment, students can:

  • Record their presentation (audio or video) and upload to Moodle
  • Deliver presentation in real-time via Zoom (to instructor, a small group, or whole class)

Peer or self-assessment

  • Assign real-time peer review groups or pairs using breakout rooms in Zoom.
  • Use the Workshop tool in Moodle to run peer review over a longer time span.
  • PeerScholar can also support groups of students in asynchronous peer review, and is available as an external tool in Moodle

In-class participation through discussions

Consider moving the discussion to an asynchronous Moodle discussion forum.

Connect via Zoom for synchronous discussion. Students can participate via video, voice, or chat.

Consider using breakout rooms in Zoom to arrange small group discussions.

*Not all students will have equally stable internet access. Consider minimizing bandwidth by limiting the number of video participants at any one time.