We now know that remote teaching will continue through the end of the semester. It’s important to start thinking about how you will handle remote assessments and final exams.
Traditional timed, proctored exams are possible using the tools available in Canvas and Sakai and remote proctoring tools like ProctorTrack. However, proctored remote exams have several drawbacks:
- They are often even more stressful for students than in-person proctored exams, which can negatively impact student performance.
- They require substantial planning and setup on the part of the instructor and the student, and proctortrack can generate many “false positive” flags that must be reviewed by an instructor after the exam.
- Not all students have access to the appropriate technology to use services like ProctorTrack; instructors will have to make accommodations for such students. Please keep in mind that Chromebooks are not currently supported for remote proctored exams.
- The technical infrastructure of services like ProctorTrack has not been utilized at this scale before, so planning must include what to do if the proctoring service crashes during the exam.
- Students may have privacy concerns about third-party recorded remote proctoring. Unlike when students agree to the use of such systems when they register for online courses, students did not agree to remote instruction when they registered for spring 2020 and instructors will need to make accommodations for these students.
- Since the transition to remote instruction, we have routinely received reports that students find remote proctoring systems relatively easy to circumvent.
For these reasons, during this time we recommend using alternatives to timed, proctored exams wherever possible. Large courses reliant on in-person exams should consider open-book exams or frequent low-stakes assessments as alternative assessment strategies that are relatively easy to grade. See the sections below for details and advice.
Alternatives to Proctored Exams
Your learning goals are an excellent place to start when considering alternative assessments: what do you hope students will be able to do by the end of your course, and in what ways can they demonstrate what they know?
These sites present many more ideas for alternatives to traditional final exams:
- UC Berkeley Alternatives to Traditional Testing
- IU Bloomington Alternatives to Traditional Exams and Papers
- IU Bloomington Handling Exams When Your Course Unexpectedly Moves Online
- Faculty Focus: Fourteen Simple Strategies to Reduce Cheating on Online Examinations