Student's View on Crowdmark and Other Exam Methods

A student's perspective on the different hand-written online submission tools, from Kate, one of ETO's student interns. 

I'm in my 3rd year of engineering undergrad, and over the past year of strictly online learning, I've written a lot of online tests. Though autograded multiple choice quizzes are quick and relatively painless for everyone involved, the nature of most engineering courses almost always means that students need to show their work to demonstrate their understanding. The three most popular ways for submitting handwritten work for a test are:

Read more about their different features in Select Your Assessment Tool.

I've always been a paranoid student  the type who would dedicate time to film my submission with my phone just in case something goes wrong. Unfortunately, even I had my share of submission disasters this semester. Here, I review the submission process of the three formats from a student perspective. For me at least, Crowdmark is my favourite platform. 

Quercus Quiz

Quercus Quiz is the quiz tool that is available in Quercus, with questions types such as multiple choice, short answer and file upload. To let your students submit handwritten work, instructors would have to enable the file upload question type where students can then upload any file types of their work. 

From a student's perspective, I think Quercus Quiz is great for the autograded multiple choice quizzes but terrifying for submitting files of written work. Once the student upload their file for a specific question, they have no way to verify if that file is correct. The quiz page only shows the name of the uploaded document, but offers nothing in terms of submission preview or a chance to redownload your file to check. Sure, students can uniquely name their files and use a dedicated test folder on their computer, but it would be a lot more conveinient and foolproof to get verification from Quercus!

Quercus Assignments

Quercus Assignments is another tool in Quercus that allows for a timed assessment with handwritten submissions. Instructors can set a time limit to mimic a timed exam setting. To submit, students upload their file(s) to the Assignment page. Unlike Quizzes, after submission, students can redownload their submissions to double check the file and resubmit if time permits. 

I personally enjoy doing online tests as a Quercus Assignment because of the ability to redownload my submission to check. An added bonus is that students who use iPads can easily submit Assignments with the Canvas App, eliminating the middle steps of transferring the document to their computer before submission. Submitting a Quercus assignment is also the least time-consuming option out of the three methods!


This year, FASE acquired a faculty-wide license for Crowdmark, an online grading and assessment platform. Students can upload PDF files or images for each question. Once uploaded, Crowdmark immediately displays the uploaded files and offers them the option to edit before submitting. Students can rotate images, or drag and drop pages in the correct order or into the correct questions. After submission, students can view their submission much more convieniently than Quercus Assignments since the submission is automatically displayed, and students can also edit/resubmit if time permits. 

Out of all three tools, Crowdmark has been the most pain free tool to use. Since I can see my uploaded written work throughout the submission process, I'm not worried about if I submitted the right document and can spend more time checking over my work. As with Quercus Assignments, students who use iPads can also easily submit screenshots of their work through Crowdmark on browser.

Final Notes

Have some time and want to learn more? ETO's Senior Educational Technologist, Anna Limanni, goes over all the assessment tools in-depth in a webinar: Select your online assessment tool: Which tool should you use and why?. Whichever tool you end up going with, I highly encourage instructors to set up mock tests with the same settings so that students can be familiar with format and submission protocols. Students can test the tool on their own time which removes some of the added stress on exam day. 

Have a Quercus (or EdTech) question? Please contact FASE's EdTech Office.