Final exam coordination

Students taking online courses can be anywhere in the world, may be on a co-op term, may be studying part-time, and may be taking multiple courses across faculties, which can make exam invigilation complicated. 

Depending where they live, students can write on-campus, with Accessibility Services, at an external exam centre, or with an individual proctor.

Currently, most examinations are paper-based, and the Centre for Extended Learning (CEL) has the ability to get exams to students wherever they may be, and have them returned to you for marking in a timely manner. We take academic integrity very seriously and have measures in place to adhere to all of Waterloo's policies.

Download the Spring 2023 exam schedule for online courses (Excel) for most exams written on-campus and at external exam centres.

Your responsibilities:

Develop the examination(s) 

  • Create the exam(s). If you need assistance, our project team would be happy to help.
  • Early in the term, our Examinations Specialist will ask you to upload your exam masters, preferably two versions, to Odyssey. You can find instructions on how to upload the exam in the IST Knowledge Base. Different versions help with academic integrity as not all of your students will write their exams at the same time or day. Exam masters are due by July 14; this allows time for printing, sorting and distribution to the various locations around the world.  
  • Proof-read the exams thoroughly, including instructions, numbering and formatting. We do not check your exams before printing.

The exam session and missed exams

  • Visit the Exam Dates and Locations page for exam dates, including those for exam centres and individually proctored exams. Individual students may have made alternate arrangements, depending on their circumstances. We will connect with you for approval of any irregularities. We will change exam dates and/or times when students have two exams at the same time or two exams in back to back sessions, as per Waterloo policy. 
  • Students should be directed to Odyssey to see their personal exam details in July.
  • Please consider attending the on-campus exam session for your course. Once the exam schedule is released by the Registrar's Office we will let you know the date and location. You are welcome to collect the exams immediately following the exam session if you wish to start marking right away.
  • Starting Spring 2023 proctors will receive exams digitally via secure distibution with Sharepoint.
  • If a student misses a final exam for a valid reason, and is able to write in the exam period, we can work with you to schedule them into our makeup session which is listed on our Exam Dates and Locations page. The registrar is also holding multiple examinations sessions for missed exams. These are a good use of an alternate exam. Students should follow the appropriate process in your faculty to notify you of missed exams.

Mark the exam(s)

  • If you cannot attend the exam session, you will need to pick up the exams from the CEL exams office located in East Campus 3 (EC3). We will email you when they are available, usually within 5 business days. We have a convenient 30 minute free parking spot available at our Shipping/Receiving door.
  • Exam centres usually return the exams within a week, so it's likely you can pick up all exams at once.
  • Starting Spring 2023 proctors will be returning exams digitally, so we expect them to arrive shortly after the exams are written. We will send you instructions on how to download the electronic copy.
  • Mark and upload the grades into Quest as happens with on-campus courses. If an exam is not written for whatever reason, you should make appropriate arrangements with the student.
  • If you need assistance coordinating a makeup exam in a future term, please contact us as soon as possible. Details can be found in the Registrar's Resources page.

CEL's responsibilities

  • We coordinate the scheduling, printing, distribution, proctor verification and collection of in-person exams for Waterloo's online courses.
  • We create an exam schedule in conjunction with the on-campus exam schedule, and communicate with students to coordinate their exam locations.
  • We assist when students need relief from back-to-back exams, as per university policy. These exams are written with Accessibility Services.
  • We collect and sort the exams as they are returned to us, and let you know when you can pick them up or can access them in SharePoint.
  • If you wish, we can also work with you to reschedule missed and deferred exams. We schedule one alternate exam session on campus to accommodate exams missed due to illness, students with conflicts, or exams that were not written due to other reasons. On occasion, exams must be postponed until the next term or the next offering of the course, and we are happy to facilitate that as well.  

Visit our Write exams page for details about student responsibilities, proctors and exam centres.


Physical Activities Centre before exam session

The PAC just before students enter for an exam session.