Online courses

Your assessment accommodations apply online the same as they do face-to-face. Follow these steps to write accommodated online assessments.

Step 1: Release your accommodation letter

Before you can receive your accommodations you must first release your accommodation letter through CAL Online Student Services.

Releasing your letter notifies your instructor about your CAL registration and your assessment accommodations. It is best to do this at the beginning of every term, as you may have other accommodations that your instructor needs to be aware of.

It takes time for accommodations to be added to the online setting. You must release your letter at least one week before your first assessment to have your accommodations in place.

If you need help, try watching our letter release tutorial video. If you still have questions, please contact the CAL Front Desk at or 250-472-4947.

Step 2: Speak to your instructor

Speak to your instructor about how your assessment accommodations will apply to any online assessment. Some accommodations require a discussion. Please contact them and follow the instructions in your accommodation letter.

Note that if you are a student in the Faculty of Law, accommodations will continue to be administered through the Law Student Services office. If you have any questions please contact them at .

Important considerations

Extra time accommodations

If your instructor is providing a time span greater than the intended duration of the exam, and the given time meets or exceeds your additional time accommodation, then additional time generally does not apply. For example:

  • Your instructor is giving the whole class two hours for a test that is intended to take one hour to complete, or
  • Your instructor is giving the whole class 24 hours or longer to complete the exam

If the time span given does not exceed your extra time accommodation, please speak to your instructor.

Adaptive technology

If you have an accommodation to use software like Kurzweil 3000 or Dragon Naturally Speaking, you are responsible for setting up your personal computer to satisfy this accommodation. If you do not have access to adaptive technology you require, please contact your CAL advisor.

If you want to try our your technology in Brightspace, contact CAL's adaptive technologist, Charlie Watson, at . He can add you to a Brightspace course where you can experiment without affecting any of your real courses.

Your environment

  • You may be used to coming to the CAL Exam Centre for a more controlled environment to minimize distractions. If possible, you may want to prepare your space before starting an assessment online.
  • Set up your space before starting your assessment to minimize distractions. Make the environment feel like a testing environment. In other words, don’t decide to eat your lunch while you are taking your assessment or have your television on in the background.
  • Turn off phones. If you have a landline, set the ringer to silent or low.
  • Place a “do not disturb” or “testing in progress” sign on your door.
  • Inform family members that you will be taking an assessment for a specific span of time to minimize interruptions.
  • Have all allowed materials available and organized before starting the assessment.
  • Set up your environment at least 15 minutes before the assessment to make sure you do not have any computer or internet access issues.
  • If fidget toys, music, or sounds help you, make sure you have them available.

General tips

  • Plan ahead! Remember to note your exam dates in your calendar and set yourself a couple of reminders and alarms!
  • Ensure your assessment accommodations have been applied to your exam. It is best to confirm this with your instructor well in advance of the exam date, but we also recommend that you double check right before you begin your assessment. If something doesn’t look right, do not begin the exam and contact your instructor right away. 
  • Know the rules and expectations of taking the assessment online. Is it open book/notes or are students held to the honour system? Are you being proctored remotely by your instructor or a computer program?
  • If you have clarification questions for your instructor, will you be able to reach the instructor? How will you do this? Find out before you take your assessment.
  • How does your instructor want you to manage technical problems during their assessments?
  • Can you start the exam at any time or is the assessment only available during a certain time frame?
  • Find out how many questions are on the assessment and how much time you have so you can plan accordingly. You might want to set a timer to go off 10 minutes before your time is up.
  • Have a clock or timer nearby so you can track how much time you have left.
  • Have scrap paper so that you can note questions you want to revisit.
  • Questions may be presented one at a time making it more difficult to go back to review questions. Write down question numbers and note any questions you may have.