Monthly Archives: June, 2020

TIP: Use the Gradebook Tool to assist with online marking/grading

It is advisable to add the Gradebook eTool – to all your online modules; especially if you intend to mark assessments online.

The Gradebook eTool will enable:

  • Auto-calculatecourse grades, with the ability to over-ride any course grade.
  • Collect and display scoresfrom tools such as Tests & Quizzes, Assignments, and Forums.
  • Import gradesfrom a spreadsheet (CSV) file.
  • Export grades as a spreadsheet (CSV) file.
  • Organise grades into categories, and use categories to:
  • Assign a weight to the category,
  • Automatically drop grades in a specific category.
  • Exporta printer-friendly (PDF) version of individual student grades.

Students can view their own grades and comments in the Gradebook.

Contact the CIECT team at

Technical factors that impact online assessments

It is important that you are aware of the following factors that impact the successful completion of an online assessment:

  • Students may have limited to no data, which will affect their internet connectionto iKamva (speed/bandwidth). Saving and moving to the next question could also be impacted.
  • Students should take note that online exams will be timed. Hence, they should ensure that they have a stable internet connection.
  • Students should ‘NOT’ double clickon the exam to open it. They should only click once on a link and wait for it to load.
  • Students should click on the ‘Save’ buttonto record each answer as they progress through the examination.
  • Students should make sure that they have logged out of iKamva from all other devices, before logging in to start their online exam from one specific device.
  • Students accessing their online examination make use of different devices.
  • Multiple devices should not be usedto access tests and especially online exams. Using different devices to access iKamva (at the time of the online exam) will affect the submission and the recording of the specific examination.
  • Students should alwaysuse the latest versions of Google Chrome OR Mozilla FireFox

**If a student experiences connection issues, before the lecturer allows another attempt, appropriate investigation should be conducted by the CIECT team to provide verification. The decision will be up to the lecturer once evidence has been provided.

Timed Assessments/Exams

If a timed test is created, you should allow the student to have sufficient time to access and settle. Hence an extended ‘open and close time’ setting is advised.

Example: If a test is 45 minutes, the opening and closing time-period should be set for at least 60 minutes. This gives students with different access and data capabilities enough time to login and begin the assessment

Please contact CIECT to advise and assist with your online examination in iKamva

Education Faculty: Multimodal approach to assist students

Lecturer Carole Bloch from the Faculty of Education, teaching English Home Language (ELT 311) makes use of social learning via WhatsApp and iKamva to support her students. This format of learning embraces the #NoStudentWillBeLeftBehind campaign.


The lecturer schedules meeting times with each group of students which consists of eleven groups. Information is shared with the students that have challenges connecting to the internet and that have no devices.


Students that struggle with uploading their assignments to iKamva can share it to their WhatsApp groups  and the lecturer or group coordinators upload it via Assignments. This collaborative effort is well planned between the lecturer, teaching assistants, tutors and the CIECT  Instructional Design team.


The online environment is structured as follows:

  • Announcements are posted on iKamva and also shared on the WhatsApp group.

  • Structured course resources aligned to content topics are shared including multimedia

  • Continuous assessment tasks including a Term Assessment are structured within the Assignment etool

  • Test & Quizzes to tests application and knowledge attained

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TIPS for Lecturers: What to consider when setting up online examinations

It is important that you take note of the following tips to consider, when you develop online exams.

TIP 1: Ensure that your Assessment is recorded:

  • Always use Google Chrome (Version 83); OR Mozilla FireFox (Version 77)
  • Use the latest versions of the Internet Browsers
  •     Do not open multiple tabs/windows while taking the test
  •       Click on the ‘Save’ button to record each answer
  • Click ‘Next’ to proceed with test
  • Click Submit


Setting up and selection of exam question types     

 TIP 2: Use ‘Upload File’ Question Type

It is advised to make use of ‘File Upload’ question types within Tests and Quizzes that provides a student time to type it out on a text editing document; and upload it in the system.

The test is still timed and requires students to complete within a specific time-frame

This allows for a file upload question to be added to a new or existing assessment. This question type presents a question or assignment that requires the user to upload a file.

TIP 3: Short Answer Essay Question Type

Please note that the ‘Short Answer Essay’ type requires students to be online for a specific time-frame. Should they lose connection they will lose their answers if they have not saved.

**To avoid many student requests to re-open tests and students losing their typed submissions, it is advised to avoid this question type.

** If you choose to make use of this question type, the students are advised to

  • Type answers in a text document first; and
  • Copy and paste it within the text editor in iKamva.

 TIP 4: Assignment Submissions

  • The Assignment eTool enables students to view and download the exam paper which can include short and/or long answer questions.
  • Students are able to formulate their responses and upload the saved document within the specific time-period.
  • This enables assignments to be checked via (Tii) automatically
  • You are able to bulk-download the submissions, mark it offline (using track changes in Word) and upload graded assignments with feedback comments to students.

TIP 5: Take- Home Exams linked to Turnitin (Tii)

  • A ‘Take-home’ exam can be created making use of the ‘Assignment’ eTool
  • Make use of the ‘Single File Upload’ submission type
  • Turnitin only generates a report from a single file

TIP 6: Timed Assessments/Exams

If a timed test is created, you should allow the student to have sufficient time to access and settle. Hence an extended ‘open and close time’ setting is advised.

Example: If a test is 45 minutes, the opening and closing time-period should be set for at least 60 minutes. This gives students with different access and data capabilities enough time to login and begin the assessment

Please contact CIECT to discuss and advise with the creation of your online examinations in advance.

TIPS: Online Assessment Awareness and Preparation

Engaging in an Online Assessment presents some differences that requires a bit of extra awareness and preparation. 
Please ensure that your students take note of the following tips when engaging in any online assessment within iKamva. 

Education Faculty: Interactive online structured English module for teaching and assessment [FAL101]

Education Lecturer Intisar Etbaigha created her interactive online module during the Covid-19 lockdown period. The lecturer engaged with the CIECT team to assist her with the use and application of the Lessons, Discussion Forum and Tests and Quizzes eTools. She attended the first online training session conducted by the CIECT team for the Education Faculty. This workshop was conducted via Google Hangouts. 

The lecturer used the teaching guides and online module exemplar shared by CIECT as a guide to develop her  module online.

Application: Lessons, Discussion Forum

This first year module (FAL 101) hosts structured lessons which were segmented according to weekly discipline specific topics A reading corner was developed in the online space, which is aimed at motivating students to read different literature pieces and then share their feedback within the Discussion Forum. Narrated PowerPoint Presentations was developed and embedded for each lecture. The learning content, readings, and assessment activities were integrated with the lessons eTool and the graduate attributes linked to the activity were also shared. Hence, students were able to see how the learning content and assessments were linked in order to develop specific graduate attributes and achieve learning outcomes. 

Weekly content was designed to highlight the specific learning outcomes, graduate attributes, and a checklist which reminded students what the learning activities were required. The lecturer also provided a summary at the end of each week which reminded the students of the content that was addressed and the learning activities and outcomes achieved. 

Application Tests and Quizzes and Assignments

During a follow-up online consultation, the lecturer was assisted with the creation of her online assessments. The lecturer was first advised on the use of the specific eTools. Subsequently the Tests and Quizzes eTool was used to design interactive tests which host different question types: MCQ, True and False, Fill-in-the-Blank, and Matching question types.

The assessments were designed to assess the application of knowledge attained. Students also submitted tutorial tasks making use of the Assignments eTool. The lecturer was able to bulk-download the submissions, mark it offline (using track changes in Word) and upload graded assignments with feedback comments to students.

The lecturer noted: “This online module which you shared with us, is so great… it helped me to design and think about my own module and how I can make it easier for my students”

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Introduction to Public Administration – structured online environment

Lecturers, Gregory Ruiters, Fundiswa Khaile and Joshua Oghenetega jointly teach the ‘Introduction to Public Administration’ module (PUA131). The lectures consulted with the CIECT team and prepared a teaching plan which highlighted the purpose and outcomes for each topic; learning content to be presented and related learning activities.  This teaching plan guided the design and development of a structured online environment.

The Lessons eTool was used to create interactive content sections and included the following structure:

  • Introduction of topics that will be covered;
  • Checklist of activities to be completed;
  • Recommended reading list;
  • Information related to topic including the use of text and images;
  • Embedding of articles, presentations and/or videos;
  • Content links sharing;
  • Linking to discussion topics for student engagement;
  • Linking to specific assignments related to topic/s; and
  • Linking to online quiz activities

Students are able to actively engage with the structured learning content from their respective devices and locations.


School of Science and Mathematics design structured formative assessments [MAE 211]

Lecturer, Dr Benita Nel consulted extensively with the CIECT Instructional Designers to conceptualise and plan the assessments.

Preparing the Assessments

The assessments were tested via the ‘Test Preview Mode’ to ensure correct question formatting and display of mathematical notation.  Question pools were created to allow for the randomisation of questions. The questions were structured into different levels – from lower order thinking to higher order thinking questions. In addition the lecturer made use of CIECT’s instructional videos on how to create ‘Test & Quizzes’.

Student Preparatory Test & Instructional Videos [Familiarisation]

A preparatory quiz was created in order to familiarise the students with the assessment environment. Important information regarding the tests was posted within the Announcement eTool. More importantly, the lecturer referred the students to CIECT’s instructional videos on how to engage in assessments  (

Assessment Feedback 

The lecturer structured the online assessments so that feedback was shared at a specific date after all students had completed. The feedback allows students to view and compare their answers with the memorandum, in order to identify gaps in knowledge for review purposes.

*The lecturer continues to be creative and have made use of the Test & Quizzes for summative purposes; and making use of the Question Pools that allows for randomisation of project related assessments.

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Xhosa Department: Tests and Quizzes for Formative Assessment [Language Acquisition]

The Tests & Quizzes tool allows lecturers to create online assessments (i.e. tests, exams, quizzes, and surveys) for delivery via a web interface to students. Various assessment types include: ‘true or false, multiple choice questions (MCQ) ‘fill in the blank’, short answer essay’, matching, numeric response, calculated questions, hotspot (image), audio recording and surveys. Lecturers can set tests for formative and self-assessment purposes.

Application: Variety of question types to assess language acquisition  

Lecturer Zukile Jama created online formative assessments for students engaged in the Xhosa Modules (XHO 002 and XHO003). The lecturer consulted with CIECT and was advised regarding the various types of questions and its benefits according to the specific needs.

The lecturer made use of different question types to test students’ understanding and application of the language. Question types such as true or false; multiple choice questions (MCQ); fill in the blank; and matching, were included within the three different online tests.

The tests were divided into different parts which assessed different concepts and terms. Key phrases were listed in English and students were required to type their answers in isiXhosa. The lecturer also focussed on the use of correct spelling.

Some test questions also included images whereby students were required to match the image with the correct phrase.

The lecturer was able to retrieve the test results and students were able to view their marks of the completed online tests.

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