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Hege Library & Learning Technologies

For Faculty: Online Teaching

This guide provides guidance and resources for Guilford College Faculty teaching online classes.

Alternatives to Proctored Exams

The Remote Exams and Assessments site, at Rutgers, discusses some of the drawbacks of proctored exams in an online/remote teaching environment, and offers some suggestions of helpful alternatives, listed below. This presentation by Karen Harris of Rutgers’ Teaching and Learning With Technology, which outlines the options in more detail:

  • "Series of quizzes: offer a low-stakes opportunity for students to demonstrate mastery of material, and give you ongoing information about student understanding. Frequent quizzing has also been shown to reinforce student understanding. Both Canvas and Sakai can randomize questions in quizzes, making cheating more difficult.
  • Student-developed quiz questions: writing quiz questions both builds and demonstrates students’ understanding of the material. This assignment can be structured as a collaborative group activity.
  • Open-book, take-home assessments: many disciplines already have a tradition of take-home exams, typically involving more conceptual or applied questions that students cannot quickly look up in a textbook.
  • Professional presentations or demonstrations: students can create audiovisual presentations using a variety of media, powerpoint, prezi, and other tools.
  • Annotated anthology or bibliography: this project gives students choice in selecting works while assessing their higher-order abilities to evaluate sources, compare multiple perspectives, and provide rationales for their choices.
  • Fact sheet: students create a one-page fact sheet on a topic. Students must select relevant facts and explain them clearly and concisely.
  • Peer- and self-review activity: these allow for personal reflection on learning and peer-to-peer instruction, both of which reinforce and deepen understanding. Students do need instruction in the task of providing constructive feedback. Targeted rubrics laying out expectations for student work are very helpful.
  • E-Portfolio: a student-selected portfolio of work from the semester. Students compile their best or representative work from the semester, writing a critical introduction to the portfolio and a brief introduction to each piece.
  • Non-Traditional Paper or Project: creative assignments work best when they have some “real-world” relevance and offer students some choice in delivery format.
  • Group Project: group projects require students to demonstrate mastery of subject matter and develop their ability to communicate and work collaboratively. It is crucial to make your assessment criteria and grading scheme clear, and to ensure that there are clear, explicit expectations for each team member."

Here are some additional resources for alternative online assessments:

Promoting Academic Integrity

Some faculty worry about cheating when it comes to online quizzes: Students are completing the assessments at home surrounded by resources and the Internet. How can you feel good about a student completing the quiz on their own?

Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Create a question bank with additional questions, creating a pool of 10-20 questions for every five you will use. Use the random feature, in Canvas, to vary which questions each student gets.  
  • Avoid using quiz questions that can easily be Googled for the answer. Consider using scenarios, case studies or examples that require the student to analyze a concept or situation in order to find the answer.  
  • Set the timer to minimize their time to review their resources. Even if your quiz is open book, a timer communicates to the student that they must come to the quiz prepared.
  • Consider shuffling question answers.  Be mindful that this approach would limit answers of "all or none of the above" (though you could use "all or none of these choices").
  • Use different assessments (or questions) for different semesters.

Here are some resources on designing better online quizzes and tests:

Consider alternatives to quizzes and exams in order to promote academic honesty and assess students authentically:

  • Focus on meaningful learning: Explicitly link assignments to learning objectives and show students how it will help them learn the material. Students often cheat on assignments that they see as meaningless or “busy-work.”
  • Scaffold assignments.  Rather than having a research paper due as a single high stakes assignment, consider dividing the assignment into multiple lower stakes steps.  For example, you could have students submit suggested topics for review, then a first draft of the paper, an annotated bibliography, and the final draft.
  • Create authentic assessments.  Rather than having students take multiple choice exams, have them examine or critique case studies, create a budget, or develop journals, writing as an historical or fictional character.  These assessments allow students not only to show what they've learned but to apply their own creativity to them.