Information Services

Online exam– handwritten submission

How to set up a short duration open book, take-home exam which may require handwritten submissions.

Who is this guidance is for?

You are replacing your exam with an online exam, which may require handwritten submissions. 

We recommend the use of the Learn assignment for this type of assessment. No similarity reporting can be run over handwritten exams.  Although part of the Learn assignment tool cannot be used in China, there are no problems for student submitting using the Learn assignment tool.

Before you start

  • Design an assessment process with a clear workflow that includes everyone involved (students, markers etc); all staff involved should understand and agree their role in it. Ensure the workflow includes provision for anyone who needs additional support.
  • Make sure all assessment materials are accessible and use clear and consistent language.
  • Follow guidance on how to create the online assignments, and test them before they go live.
  • Online submission may be unfamiliar to your students and this can cause unnecessary stress. Provide practice opportunities for online submission, and a way for them to ask questions if they are unsure.
  • Help students avoid unintentional late submission. Advise students on how long online submission can take, and to guard against leaving submission too close to the deadline, which could risk late penalties.
    • Be clear with your class on what to do/whom to contact should they have problems submitting, and not to leave submitting work to the last minute. Sometimes, despite all the best planning, things can go wrong. Make students feel more assured by providing clear guidance in advance.
    • Provide clarity on the impact of late submission.
  • Provide students with clear guidance on how they should complete the assessment: handwritten, typed up in a LaTeX editor (such as Overleaf, for example), or via some other method.
  • Give students guidance on the format(s) of their submission (e.g. Word, PDF). 
  • We have provided a standardised own work declaration form and process – instructions to access this are given in the Own Work Declaration instructions below.  Instructions also include the University's preferred Own Work Declaration wording (also shown below).
  • Use adaptive release (but thoroughly tested!) to make sure your exam paper is hidden from students before it should be made available.  Passwords set on documents are often easily removed, so don’t rely solely on them
  • Think about the number of points /marks you’d like to apply to the assessment. Typically it’s easier if assessments are marked out of 100 (could be a percentage).
  • Some students may require adjustments or assistance. Please ensure you speak to the Student Disability Service for advice in plenty of time before the assessment begins.
  • Last but not least, we should be kind to students – remind yourself about the Special Circumstances procedure.

What you need to do

We have detailed instructions on how to set up an assignment dropbox, how to mark online and how to download marks and upload them to APT (EUCLID).


We also have provided a checklist to help you with the process of setting up the dropbox in Learn and processing the marks after marking is complete.

What to tell your students

Here are some helpful links to pass to your students: