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Alternative Assessment Support

This web page looks at some ways that you can set up assessment when this needs to move online at short notice. 

A few general considerations:

- Keep things simple and if possible use technology that students are already familiar with

- Make sure you communicate any changes to assessment to students clearly

- If they will need support using technology, contact the Digital Training team to arrange this for your students

- Consider the accessibility of assessments you are planning - will students have access to software/laptop/internet connection etc.

- Give students more time where possible

- Set up draft assignments/formative assessment wherever possible so students can practise using the technology

See University Alternative Assessment Guidance for more details.

Also a useful article on the subject of alternative assessment due to university closure.

Please consider the options offered below. If there are things you would like to do which are not covered, please check the alternative assessment FAQs or contact the TEL team and we will investigate further.


Alternative assessment FAQs

You can use the restrict access function to release your timed assessment at a particular time. Students can submit their assignments via the Moodle assignment activity when they are ready to submit. 

See our guides:

Setting up a timed assessment in a Moodle assignment

Setting up a timed assessment in a Turnitin assignment

If you would like an online tutorial on how the restrict access function works within Moodle, please get in touch with the TEL team tel@yorksj.ac.uk

If a student is required to upload a scanned document as part of their exam (For handwritten equations, formulas, diagrams etc) It is possible for students to take photos with a smartphone camera, however upload sizes could be anywhere up to 10MB so we wouldn't necessarily advising students to do this. Students can instead use a scanning app (such as Office Lens or Adobe Scan) which really help reduce the file sizes significantly.

Office Lens has features built in specifically to enhance the scanning of documents etc., and even text recognition and an ‘Immersive Reader’, which can read back to you the contents of a scanned page

We have a guide on how to set up Moodle quiz and there's a link within it to more details on setting up all the different questions types.

Here is our Setting up an online exam using Moodle Quiz  for more specifics on the settings you could use for a summative quiz.

If you require students to write long answers, it is possible to use the essay question in the Moodle quiz but you could also create a take home assessment instead. Especially if you are just asking students to submit one essay. See the ‘How do I restrict take home assignments for timed release? faq

If you require students to draw graphs, calculations, equations, formulas, diagrams, please see the ‘What apps can students use to upload their take home exams online faq’.

If you would like an online tutorial on Moodle quizzes, please get in touch with the TEL team tel@yorksj.ac.uk There are a number of webinars on alternative assessment options, see the upcoming training options.

Yes, you can choose when the quiz is available to students, by setting an open date/time and closed date/time. Tick the Enable box to allow this. When a Time limit is set, Moodle will automatically submit the quiz after this time expires. The student is warned when time runs low.

see the how to set up Moodle quiz guide for your reference.

If you would like an online tutorial on Moodle quizzes, please get in touch with the TEL team tel@yorksj.ac.uk There are a number of webinars on alternative assessment options, see the upcoming training options.

Yes, it is possible to ‘grant extensions’ within the Moodle assignment activity or you can also create user overrides (within Moodle assignments and Moodle quizzes to allow extra time for students to submit and carry out the quiz.

See our User overrides and granting extensions for timed assessment guide on how to create extensions in Moodle

If you would like an online tutorial on how to grant extensions or add user overrides, please get in touch with the TEL team tel@yorksj.ac.uk

Turnitin’s upload limit is 100MB per file size. Students can submit up 5 files/parts

Moodle assignment upload limit is 400MB and students can submit up to 20 files.

Yes, we  recommend that we stick to the policy of students submitting at midday, this means they could get help if they had problems on the day it was released, and on the day of submission.

Students can record their presentations in PowerPoint, save it as a video (MP4) and then submit this to a video submission link in Moodle. The videos will then be hosted on our Media Library server as well as the Video submission link in Moodle so there are no issues with upload size.

The digital training team have produced a guide on recording and creating a video in PowerPoint.

The guides below go through the steps on how you can set up a video submission link in Moodle  

Quick guide to creating a Video submission portal in Moodle

How to create a Video submission portal in Moodle (1 minute video guide)

Students can also use Screencast-o-matic, a screen recording software, produce an Mp4 and upload to the Moodle video submission link. Here is the Getting started in Screencast-o-matic (PDF, 0.4 MB) guide.

We would not recommend using Turnitin to upload videos. Turnitin does not check similarity in videos and there is an upload limit of 100MB, so we would recommend students submit to a Moodle assignment video submission link.

If you set up a video submission link and require external examiners to access the videos or audio submissions, please send the TEL team tel@yorksj.ac.uk first name, surname and email address of the external and we will add them to the media library so they will be able to access the content.

The digital training team are able to support student training on any of these applications and can be contacted by email digitaltraining@yorksj.ac.uk

If you require any tutorials on  setting up video submission links, please get in touch with tel@yorksk.ac.uk

Yes, this is possible. Recording slide shows are similar on a Mac

Ensure you have the most recent version of PowerPoint as it isn't Mac PowerPoint 2016.

One of the main differences is that the recording begins immediately when 'Record Slide Show' is clicked. You are not able to record using your webcam in the Mac version of PowerPoint either.

Clear narration is not in the tool but on the record slide show button.

To save as a video file, In File | Export you have to select the format (typically MP4) rather than video.

Here are some further guides on recording using a Mac and Saving as a video file from the Microsoft support webpages

If you have any questions about recording lectures using a Mac, please do get in touch with the TEL team. tel@yorksj.ac.uk 

The digital training team are able to support student and staff training on PowerPoint and can be contacted by email digitaltraining@yorksj.ac.uk

It could theoretically be uploaded to Turnitin if uploaded as a PowerPoint file and if it were less than 100 MB. However 100MB is not very big, so this might be unlikely to be the case.

Presentations would probably need to be produced as video files, and in this case instead of uploading them to Turnitin, they can be submitted via a Moodle Assignment.



Recordings made in Microsoft Teams are processed in Microsoft Stream, which is available in the Office 365 suite. The recordings can only be seen by YSJ members of staff and students depending on the permission levels. If you wish Externals or users that do not have a YSJ email address to view videos, we would recommend that you download the videos and upload them to the Media Library. If you need to do this, please get in touch with the TEL team – tel@yorksj.ac.uk  as we will need to set up a private category for your team and then give access to the external as well.

The TEL team can provide guidance, advice and training on how to set up Moodle assignments and Quizzes in Moodle and how to use MIcrosoft Teams for remote teaching. If you have any questions concerning policies and procedures for alternative assessments, please speak with the assessment team – assessment@yorksj.ac.uk

You can book a tutorial with us using through our online booking page.

The digital training team can support students to use applications such as PowerPoint and screencast-o-matic to record their presentations

Contact digitaltraining@yorksj.ac.uk for further advice, guidance and to book training.




Oral presentations

Many assessments take place in the form of oral presentations. In order to transfer such assignments online, there are a number of possibilities.

Moodle Video Assignment Type

You can set up a Moodle assignment and specify video as the submission type. Students need to create and upload videos to York St John Media Library in order to submit. 

The Digital Training team have produced a guide on recording and creating a video in PowerPoint.

Instructions for students on how to submit video assignments are available here.

For more details, please see the related FAQ below.

Teams Meetings

Teams meetings are easy to set up and invite students to. If you wish to conduct a live assessed presentation, a Teams meeting would be one option although it is important to bear in mind that some students may not have good internet connection or may be using a mobile phone to attend the Teams meeting. Where possible, give students the opportunity to practise before the assessment, either with you, other students or the Digital Training team.

You can record Teams meetings and have control over the recording after the meeting if you need to give someone else access at a later date. 

Setting up a Microsoft Teams meeting for teaching remotely

Joining a Microsoft Teams meeting

Teaching through a Microsoft Teams meeting and accessing lesson resources afterwards 


For formative oral assessments, Flipgrid is an excellent tool for creating and sharing video content quickly and easily. It is designed to encourage conversation and gives the option to allow students to comment orally on each others' work. 

For more information and related courses, please see our Flipgrid web page.

Multimodal Assessment


Mahara is the main eportfolio tool used at York St John. It allows students and staff to collect and present materials, resources, and to record experiences during the course of their studies. It could be used over this period by students wanting to share their progress on work with tutors. 

See guides and more details on our Mahara web page.

Class Notebook

Class Notebook is a tool available through Office 365. It enables a tutor to set up an online notebook which and to give access to to specific students. Each online notebook consists of:

Student Notebooks — private notebooks that are shared between each teacher and their individual students. Teachers can access these notebooks at any time, but students cannot see other students’ notebooks.
Content Library — a notebook for teachers to share course materials with students. Teachers can add and edit its materials, but for students, the notebook is read-only.
Collaboration Space — a notebook for all students and the teacher in the class to share, organize, and collaborate.

See guides and more information on our Class Notebook web page


Moodle Quiz

Moodle has a powerful quiz tool which is widely used across universities for both formative and summative assessment. It has a wide range of question types and many settings which enable you to dictate how much time students have to complete quizzes, whether or when they will see feedback and whether they are able to attempt the quiz multiple times. 

Moodle Quiz training and guides

Setting up an online exam using Moodle Quiz 

Moodle Quiz Activity Guide

Moodle Quiz FAQs


H5P is a versatile tool available through Moodle which facilitates the creation of diverse resource types. One of these is the quiz question type. If you would like to use H5P to create quizzes, we would recommend you only assign formative quizzes created in this tool. Please use Moodle quiz for summative quizzes. 

See guides and more information on on our H5P web page.

Microsoft Forms

Microsoft Forms now offers the option to create simple quizzes with feedback. You might benefit from using Microsoft Forms if you would like to include your quiz at the end of a Sway presentation or add it to a tab in Teams, since these Office 365 tools are easily compatible.

How to create a quiz with Microsoft Forms

Microsoft Forms: Creating Authentic Assessments course


Peer review activities

Peer assessment can encourage students to really engage with assessment criteria as they assess the work of peers. As you seek to maintain a learning community amongst your learners and help them to keep developing a critical approach to learning, setting up online peer assessment might be a good alternative to some of the activities you would normally carry out in face-to-face teaching.

We have access to two tools which enable us to carry our peer assessment activities online:

Moodle Workshop Activity

This is an excellent tool which has been used by a number of academics at York St John with success. Its many settings make it highly customisable and versatile. Please work through the following guides to set up the Moodle Workshop activity.

How to Create a Moodle Workshop Activity Part 1- The Initial Setup

How to Create a Moodle Workshop Activity Part 2 - The Five Phases of the Workshop activity

We also have a couple of case studies from academics at YSJ who have already used the Workshop activity in their teaching.

Turnitin Peermark

Turnitin PeerMark provides similar functionality but within the Turnitin assignment type. This tool is slightly less customisable but also slightly quicker and easier to set up.

Turnitin PeerMark - Setting up Assignments

Turnitin PeerMark - Accessing Reviews

Open ended work

Both Moodle Assignment and Turnitin facilitate submission of essays (and other types of assignments), marking and delivery of feedback within Moodle VLE. However, they offer slightly different functionality. 

See this post to decide which tool would be more appropriate for you.

Moodle Assignment 

Moodle assignment training and guides


Turnitin assignment training and guides

Technology Enhanced Learning | York St John University