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Summary of Recent Quiz Timing Changes

Posted by on Monday, September 18, 2023 in Releases, Resources.

Over the last few months, Brightspace has updated and expanded options that impact timing for quizzes. While we have outlined each of these in our regular release notes, we wanted to also have a summary post to show all the changes made to quiz timing settings and how they work. If you have any questions about these settings, please feel free to contact the Vanderbilt University Brightspace support team at


Most of the quiz timing changes started with the July monthly update release. That release updated the quiz creation and quiz taking experiences to simplify existing workflows for instructors and learners by adding some useful new quiz timing options features.


The following advanced Quiz Timing options were made available for instructors in July 2023:
  • Updated quiz timing settings allow instructors to choose whether they want to set a time limit and enter the length of time for the quiz. 
  • Quiz auto-submission now automatically hands in quizzes on enforced time limit quizzes at the end of the set time. This improves quiz integrity and prevents cases where students may forget to submit a quiz and then be locked out. 

Figure: Select the option to Automatically submit the quiz attempt in Timer Settings.


  • Removal of options that were deemed “not beneficial,” such as Grace Period and Allow students to continue working but automatically score zero to further streamline the process of quiz creation. With this update, the older settings are automatically updated to the following new behavior:
    • A quiz that previously had a grace period now uses the time limit set on the quiz.
    • A quiz that previously scored a quiz at 0 when the time limit was exceeded now sets the quiz to submit the learner’s quiz attempt automatically. 
  • The Timing & Display section displays comprehensive summary information in either collapsed or expanded view, helping instructors to find errors and to understand which settings they could change.

Figure: The collapsed view of a quiz with an enforced time limit in the Timing & Display section shows instructors a summary of their settings.


The July 2023 update to Brightspace also made the following improved Quiz Timing options available for students:
  • Option to show/hide the timer to reduce anxiety during quiz taking and display warnings at certain times to support awareness of time left. The following warnings are available: 1 minute remaining on the quiz, 5 minutes remaining (only available on quizzes with 10 minutes or longer quiz time limit), and half of the elapsed time (only available on quizzes with a 20 minutes or longer quiz time limit).


Note: Once a learner sets their preference, the setting preserves across all quizzes.

Figure: Click the Hide Timer button beside the quiz timer to hide the timer from the view.

Figure: The Timer Warning dialog indicates how much longer a learner has in a quiz.


  • Simplified the Quiz Results page that appears when a learner completes a quiz attempt or returns later to view their quiz results (previously known as Submission View).

Figure: The Quiz Results page shows learners the status of their quiz and their score.


  • Students now have the option to review quiz instructions and details without leaving the quiz.

Figure: Click the Quiz Information option on the quiz page to view instructions and other information. This does not leave the quiz.


The next big update came in the recent September monthly update and allows for better in-class or synchronous quiz timing.

In this update, the Quiz Creation experience for instructors and learners added a new synchronous quiz option.

With this release, instructors can facilitate quizzes where learners take their attempts simultaneously, which is convenient for in-class sessions. The new addition of synchronous quizzes enables instructors to set up a quiz where the quiz timer starts on the start date for all learners rather than when the learner launches the quiz (asynchronous). For a synchronous quiz, the quiz timer then ends for all learners at the same time regardless of when they start the quiz.


To set up a synchronous quiz:

  1. From a create/edit quiz page, expand the Timing & Display area.
  2. Click Timer Settings.
  3. In the Timing dialog, under Quiz Start, select Synchronous: Timer starts on the start date.
  4. Click OK.

Figure: Set up a synchronous quiz.

Note: If no start date and time is set for the synchronous quiz, the No Start date set alert appears under the selected option, and you cannot save the quiz. The Due Date option is disabled for synchronous quizzes.


To ensure that learners are aware of upcoming synchronous quizzes, instructors can create instructional or manual solutions:

  • Make a synchronous quiz visible in the calendar:
    • Instructors can select Add availability dates to Calendar or set up an event showing the whole time.
    • Instructors should use the Start Date parameter when setting up a synchronous quiz and leave the End Date field empty.
  • Create an announcement with information about the synchronous quiz.
  • Set up an event and give a link to the quiz to provide more context.

Instructors must modify or review quizzes one by one to avoid accidentally modifying quiz availability dates for synchronous quizzes.


A synchronous quiz starts at the Start Date and ends when the time limit has lapsed, regardless of any action taken by the learner. For example, if a learner clicks Start Quiz! 15 minutes after the start date on a 1-hour synchronous quiz, they will only have 45 minutes left to complete that quiz. To indicate when a quiz becomes available, learners have a countdown timer on the Quiz Information and Start Quiz pages. The Start Quiz! button becomes available when the start date and time is reached.

Figure: A countdown timer on the Start Quiz page.


For a walkthrough of this process, here’s a video from D2L showing how to setup a synchronous quiz for students. 


For more information on recent Quiz timing changes, you can read the full breakdown on D2L’s community site.

Quiz Timing Improvements – Summary

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