Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology

Teaching with PolyLearn - FAQ

Instructional Continuity

Any one of an array of events can disrupt faculty’s ability to teach courses via on-campus, in-class sessions. Cal Poly’s commitment to students includes making sure that we provide students an opportunity to complete courses despite disruptions, whenever possible. The steady advancement of communication and instructional technologies has greatly enhanced faculty’s opportunities to provide quality online learning experiences in these situations. With  planning, training on selected user-friendly technologies, and available mentoring on effective instruction, faculty can be better prepared to continue instruction through many different forms of instructional disruptions.

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FAQ   |   Exams & Assessments   |   Secure Exams  |   Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor   |

Teaching with PolyLearn - FAQ

Exams & Assessments

PolyLearn provides a variety of assessment tools for your use, depending on your course goals and outcomes:

  • Quizzes: The PolyLearn Quiz tool provides students with a self-graded quiz on what they have just read or reviewed, particularly if it is a quiz they can take multiple times for a low-stakes score, allows students to self-assess and review important concepts. Options for immediate feedback on individual questions.
  • Lessons: The Lesson tool allows instructors to create an embedded quiz or question set within the context of course content. You may allow students to continue through their lesson regardless of the score, or you can force students to correct their understanding of materials as the lesson progresses.
  • Questionnaire: The Questionnaire is a survey tool that allows teachers to create a wide range of questions to get student feedback, e.g., on a course or activities. The purpose is to gather data, rather than assess learning. 
  • Discussion Forum: The Discussion Forum tool allows instructors to set up an area for organized course-related discussions. Students are able to create posts as well as respond to posts from other students. The instructor acts as a moderator.
  • Question and Answer Forum: Instructors can create a discussion forum for the purpose of clarifying instruction for students. Students can post questions they have about course-related activities, and the instructor, or other students, can answer the questions. Everyone has access to the questions and answers, so everyone benefits.
  • Assignment: The Assignment tool allows instructors to collect student work and provide grades and feedback. This tool can be used for either formative or summative assessment. Rubrics are available in the "Advanced Grading" option of the Assignment. These are scoring tools that explicitly describe performance expectations for an assignment.
  • Wiki: The Wiki tool allows instructors to set up pages that are editable by anyone and allows students to collaborate with one another (as well as the instructor) for learning. Pages can be added to the Wiki to organize and can be commented on to offer suggestions, feedback, etc. The instructor can see all the activity that occurs in the Wiki.


How can I quickly get my exam questions into the PolyLearn Quiz tool?
Use the AIKEN format. You can create multiple choice questions in Word, NotePad, or TextPad and import them into PolyLearn. How to create a Quiz using the AIKEN import (Video).

How do I create a Quiz in PolyLearn?
Please see our support siteHow to create a Quiz (Video).

Creating Secure Exams

What are the Quiz settings that help create a successful student experience?

  • Create a Practice Quiz for your students with all the same settings (earlier date/time) with one simple question. Give the students access to it early before the final. This will give the students a quiz to try and work out any bugs before they click on your Final.
  • Institute an honor code with your students. Add a True/False question at the end "I swear on my honor that I have neither given or received aid on this exam".
  • Do not curve exams, since it may be an unfair advantage over students who follow academic integrity.
  • Keep the default setting - Open attempts are submitted automatically so if a student leaves the quiz, PolyLearn will submit the quiz. This will allow the system to Grade the quiz. If a Quiz is not submitted, then it will not appear for the faculty. 
    open attempts submit auto
  • Make sure you have multiple pages for your quiz. The Next button will connect to PolyLearn, save, and move on. If all the questions are on one page, the connect can get lost and the student looses all their entries. 

    PL Question Pages
  • Allow Open and Close to have multiple hours but set the Time Limit to the quiz timing. Having a longer Open and Close timeline allows the students to be more successful in completing the quiz.

    Quiz Timing
  • Shuffle the questions, so each quiz is different for each student. 

    question behavior
  • Using Question Banks can allow you to randomize questions within topic categories. 
  • If DRC students need more time, you can set individual times for students. This also works for students that may need another attempt. 

What Review Options can I use to support my online final?
While LMS quizzes are perfect for formative assessments, today we need to create online finals (summative assessments). The Review Options can prevent students from having access to questions after they complete the quiz. 
Review Options
Click on the (?) icons to view what options are provided for each. 
Students would see the points, but can not see the quiz again.
Student view

I decided to make my final optional. How can I reflect that in the PolyLearn Gradebook?
Faculty can Exclude the final for individual students. From the Grades > Single View...select the Final, then click on the Exclude check box for each student and Save.
excludePL grade

LockDown Monitor (Online Proctoring tool)

Please read first about how you can use the LMS Exam Options & Secure Exams before you just jump into Test Proctoring. 


Before you start - Your students will need:

  • They need a computer (not phone or IOS device like Chromebook).
  • They will need reliable internet.
  • They will need a web camera.
  • Antivirus or security software can prevent students from installing downloaded software.
  • Some students may not have admin access to the computer they are using to install software. 

Be aware that if the student has family or roommates living with them, there may be "false positives".  


If your students do NOT have the tools, you will need to provide accommodations. Students can also receive technical resources either by their departments or  https://techrentals.calpoly.edu/.


1st - How to enable Respondus LockDown Browser / Monitor in PolyLearn.

Monitor provides online proctoring via an AI that will record the students while taking their exams. It will provide a risk list for faculty. The Risk list will have clips and the full video for reviewing later. 

Respondus Support Site


We can help you via email (polylearnsuport.calpoly.edu), scheduled consultations, and walk-in zoom sessions. 

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