I am giving my students a "take-home exam" via Moodle. How do I determine when students started and completed the exam?

When you add an activity or resource to a Moodle course, you can use the "Restrict access" section to limit the time period when students can view that document or complete the activity.  If you want to give students a long block of time to access the document but a shorter amount of time to complete the assignment, you will need to take advantage of two Moodle features:

  1. Moodle keeps track of every click that students make within a course.  You can look at the logs for the particular activity that you created (or document you uploaded) to see exactly when each student clicked on the link for that assignment/document.
  2. When a student submits an assignment to a course, Moodle records the exact date and time of submission for that assignment. 

Since students will be returning work to you, the Moodle Assignment activity is the most sensible choice for how to administer a "take-home exam."  To present the exam to the students, you could upload it as a separate document within the course, or (preferably) you could include the document (or instructions) as part of the Assignment activity itself. 

Please see this related article on how to Create an Assignment in Moodle.  When you are creating the assignment, you can add instructions in the "Description" field telling the students what they need to do, or you can attach a more detailed document in the "Additional files" upload box.   Once you have created the assignment, here is how you determine when students first clicked on it, and then when they submitted it:

Moodle Activity Logs

As we mentioned above, Moodle records within its logs every click that students make within a course.  Assuming that you created an Assignment activity for your "take-home exam," here is how you would monitor the appropriate log:

  1. Go to our Moodle server at https://moodle.bucknell.edu.
  2. Find your course in the Current Course List module on the right-hand side of the screen, and click on the link for that course.
  3. Within the "Course administration" area, click on "Reports," then click on "Logs":

    Logs Link

  4. On the page that allows you to select what logs you want to view, click on the "All activities" drop-down, and click on the particular Assignment activity that you created for your "take-home exam":

    Final Exam Logs

    Please note that the activities are listed in the order that they appear in the course, with each topic block title listed in bold face.  You may need to scroll down in the list to find the link for your take-home exam. 

  5. Once you have selected the appropriate assignment, click on the "Get these logs" button: Get these logs
  6. The logs will appear in reverse chronicle order, from the most recent click related to that activity to the first time you created it within the course.  To see when a student first clicked on the link for the Assignment, you would look for an entry like this:

    Assignment Log Entry

    It's likely that you won't see the column titles when you scroll down to find the relevant log entries.  Please note that in the image just above, we have deleted the "User full name" and the "IP address" information to protect the privacy of the user.  In your log, you will see a name and the IP address from which the student accessed your course.  In the "Event name" column, you need to look for entries that say "Course module viewed."  The time stamp on the far-left of the row will show exactly when the student clicked on the link for the assignment.  In this log entry, the student clicked on the link for the assignment on April 10, 2020, at 6:52 PM.


Assignment Submission Information

You could look at the same log for your Assignment activity to see when students submitted the assignment to the course.  You would see three consecutive log entries that say (under "Event name") "A file has been uploaded," "Submission created," and "A submission has been submitted" (listed in reverse order).  Because the logs have details for every student, though, it is much easier to go to the assignment itself to determine when each student submitted the assignment:

  1. Go back to your course in Moodle, and click on the link for your assignment:
  2. You will be taken to a summary page about your assignment.  Scroll down until you get to the "Grading summary" section.  Just below that, click on the "View all submission" button:  View all submissions button
  3. You will see a table with information for each student in the course and their assignment submissions.  The "Last modified (submission)" column displays when each student submitted the assignment, and the "File submissions" column lists the name of the file that the student submitted (and when that particular file was submitted).  The image below shows one typical row from that summary page (with the information redacted to remove the name of the student):

    File submission information

  4. You can compare that submission time with the time the student first clicked on the assignment link (from the logs) to determine the time gap between those two events.


Article ID: 418
Fri 4/10/20 4:27 PM
Wed 4/22/20 9:00 AM