As you consider your options for delivering exams while teaching virtually, remember to exhibit equity, kindness, generosity and patience with your students.
There are several options for you to rethink or deliver your exams via virtual instruction. You may want to consider one or multiple of these recommendations.
What do you want students to be able to do by the end of your course? What skill should they have or knowledge attained? Try to design an assessment that measures that skill or knowledge.
How can your assessment be a learning experience in itself? How could the process of completing the assessment give students a deeper understanding of the material and concepts?
What kind of assessment could you efficiently create? How many students do you have, how many would you have to grade? Can rubrics assist and guide your assessment?
Instead of using a formal examination, consider other ways that you could assess whether students have met the course objectives.
Because it may be difficult to restrict students from using other resources while they are taking an exam, you could think of it as an open book or take home exam.
When you have to adjust your schedule or approach mid-semester, you may be concerned about how students will respond to the changes and whether they will be able to complete the assessment. One strategy is to give students control of their assessments by offering multiple ways they could demonstrate their learning and allowing them to choose which method is best for them.
Having students deliver presentations online is a great assessment strategy, whether that was your original plan for your face-to-face course or an alternative assessment in lieu of an exam. Students can deliver presentations live, or they can record a presentation to share with you and their classmates.
Some tools to consider for students to deliver presentations:
It requires creativity to alter performance-based assessments for virtual instruction. This category includes dance, theater, and musical performances along with other physical skills, like athletics, laboratory procedures, and medical techniques.
Some strategies you might consider:
The best choice is to use Blackboard Tests to deliver exams. Blackboard Tests can include a wide variety of question types, including objective and open-ended questions. Many question types are automatically-graded, such as multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, and matching. You can also include short answer and essay questions for open-ended questions. Blackboard Tests can include a timer, which can be extended for students with accommodation needs, and can be limited to a single attempt or allow multiple attempts.
You control if and when students see their results, including which questions they got correct, the answer they submitted, and the correct answer (if applicable).
NIU provides access to Qualtrics for all faculty, staff, and students. You can enable scoring on a survey to make it a test with multiple choice, matrix, slider, or text entry (fill-in-the-blank) question types. The test can be delivered to students via a single anonymous link or distributed via email invitations. Be aware that Qualtrics surveys delivered via email are often routed to the Junk folder in Outlook, and you may need to direct students to look for the email there. You can choose whether to display the results to students.
NIU's license of Office 365 includes the use of Microsoft Forms, which can be used to deliver a quiz. Question types include Choice, Text, Rating, Ranking, and File Upload. You can send the Form as a single link or via individual emails to students. You can view the results online or download to analyze in Excel.
If you use online exams, there are several steps you can take that can promote academic integrity.
Remote proctoring can provide a more secure testing environment, but there are some significant considerations you need to address before adopting online proctoring.
Online proctoring is a process whereby students take a proctored exam online. Exams can be proctored synchronously (a live proctor supervises the exam in real time) or asynchronously (a video of the student taking the exam is recorded and reviewed for compliance). Online proctoring services can be used to verify the identity of students prior to completing an online exam and to promote academic integrity while students complete an online exam.
NIU has established agreements with two proctoring vendors and is working with a third to make them available for NIU courses.
Respondus Monitor is a proctoring solution that is built upon an in-person proctoring solution called Respondus Browser. Respondus Browser is a proprietary web browser (i.e. an alternative to Chrome, Firefox, etc.) that strictly limits students' ability to do anything but take an exam in the browser/PC. Monitor adds an automated proctoring service to the Respondus Browser in place of the in-person proctor. The University has an existing relationship with Respondus, so is able to take advantage of an offer of free use of Respondus Monitor. While free and functional, Respondus Monitor is particularly susceptible to technical, software, and Internet connectivity issues. Daily online training sessions are available and highly encouraged for any faculty considering use of Respondus.
Examity also offers two primary solutions, live proctoring and fully automated proctoring. The cost for Examity proctored exam ranges from $4 for a basic, fully automated exam to $15 per hour for live proctoring. Examity does not appear to be offering any discounts currently. Examity was recently selected by an academic unit to replace ProctorU.
ProctorU offers two solutions that work at NIU, live proctoring and a hybrid live/automated proctoring. The cost ranges from $10-$60 per hour per exam depending on the length and type of exam. They do not appear to be currently offering any discounts. NIU does have an active contract with ProctorU. Service and support have been an issue, with at least one academic unit moving away from ProctorU in Fall 2020.
Learn more about each online proctoring tool available at NIU.
This work was created by the NIU Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.