Face-to-face end of year exams have been cancelled at the country's third level colleges in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Students will be asked to self-certify that they are complying with the rules in online assessments and tests that will in many instances replace the exams.

At NUI Galway, students will be asked to sign a disclaimer statement at the start of each online exam.

The university says that staff will reserve the right to follow-up with a student by interview if there was any concern in relation to the integrity of the exam.

The University of Limerick is finalising its Covid-19 assessment plans, but has confirmed that students will need to self-certify compliance in remote assessments and exams.

A spokesperson for the university said lecturers may well employ added security measures, such as the spot calling of students, to ensure that the right person is completing the exam.

There are 140 final year medical students among those completing final year assessments at UL under the new conditions.

They are due to begin on 9 April. UL would normally use actor patients for the students' final clinical assessments, but their use has been cancelled due to the pandemic.

As well as the prioritisation of medical students, UL says it is also prioritising 4th year and Masters students.

Maynooth University is the latest university to announce its plans. Its exams will be replaced with equivalent remote assessment.

The country's Institutes of Technology have also informed students that "amended assessment approaches" are being put in place.

The Technological Higher Education Association said its members were working to ensure that students will not be delayed or disadvantaged by the new measures, and that academic integrity and standards will be maintained.

Third level institutions are attempting to put measures in place to ensure fairness and quality assurance. They are also examining ways of preventing personation.

Colleges are opting for a range of measures, including continuous assessment, "take home" or "open book" exams and online tests.

Open book is where students are given questions or exam scripts and given a period of time, such as 48 hours, within which to complete them at home.

The kind of technology that facilitates remote learning is already embedded in the third level system.

However, colleges say they are cognisant of the fact that not all students have access to good broadband and other facilities.

The timeframe for the completion of assessments, and for online examinations, is also likely to be extended in some cases.

The closure of college libraries, however, is causing difficulties for students, who cannot access books they need to complete assessments and prepare for exams.

Lecturers at Trinity College have been asked to submit lists of up to five books needed for each module that they teach so that the library can purchase electronic versions.

Trinity hopes to be able to inform students of its plans within a week or so.

UL also hopes to have finalised arrangements and be in a position to inform students by the end of the month.