Some students have experienced lost time and work when taking exams because of a setting on our Moodle hosting environment that logs students out of Moodle after 30 minutes of inactivity (which helps maintain server traffic loads for faster speeds).
Other students seeking course material while already in an exam have experienced an error called “invalid sesskey”. All sesskey cases trace back to one easy rule: While taking a Moodle test, never open a new window and login to Moodle an additional time. This has also applied to forum posting.
What does “invalid sesskey” mean?
Each time you log in to Moodle, you’re beginning a session (sess) and you get a unique id (key) for that session. While browsing Moodle, you’d barely notice if a new session started by logging in a second time. When you’re inputting data, a new session can be catastrophic because you can only have one active session at a time. For example, say you’re taking a quiz in one session, then you open a new window and log in again– this starts a new session and negates your other one. All the essay answers you typed or multiple choice questions you chose will not submit in your original session because when you logged in a second time, you ended it. It may sound confusing and technical, but the advice is always the same– just don’t log in to Moodle in the middle of a quiz. If your instructor allows you to look at material in an open-book-style quiz, then save/open all the content you need before you begin the quiz. It’s that easy to avoid such an annoying and time-wasting mistake!
What is “inactivity”?
If a student is on a Quiz page selecting answers for 30 minutes without saving, then they are being inactive and will be logged out. If, however, the student clicks the Save link or the Next button within those 30 minutes, then they are interacting with the server (being active). On the next page, students are then able to return to finish the attempt by clicking the question number where they left off.
As a student, what can I do to protect my time, work, and sanity?
Save your work often— at least every 30 minutes. Moodle has a Quiz Navigation block that contains a link where you can save answers, which says, “Click here to save and review your responses. You will be able to return to this attempt by clicking a question number.” This is essential for essay-based exams and long multiple-choice quizzes. If you stay on one page selecting answers for 20 minutes or so, click the save link, then return to the exam by clicking the number of the question where you left off to continue.
After viewing the video, should you have any questions or need additional assistance, please submit a request or contact the Help Desk at 570-208-5900 ext. 4357.