While remote, unsupervised exams are inherently difficult to supervise, there are approaches that can reduce the risk of integrity issues in an online environment. This article explores approaches for enhancing the entirety of remote examinations.
Approaches to enhance overall examination integrity
- Reducing students likelihood of engaging in cheating
- Increasing the difficulty associated with cheating
- Adjusting grading approaches towards activities that are harder to cheat on
Reducing students likelihood of engaging in cheating
Asserting agreement to the honor code
One of the easiest ways of ensuring compliance with an academic honor code may be to have students type their name to affirm acknowledgment, rather than simply displaying the message or a checkmark acknowledgment. Just as it is very easy to acknowledge the terms and conditions on websites without reading them, it can be very easy for students to check the box on an honor code without actually reading the material. Forcing their name to be typed, more in-line with a formal contract, can reduce the likelihood of simply checking the box without thought.
Confirmation to individual components of the honor code
An extension of declaring agreement to an honor code is to individually affirm to individual components of the code. This again reduces the likelihood of students agreeing to the specific components without actually reading them. Moreover, highlight the key points, in addition, or in place of a long document, can help that the specific points are read. Examine components could include:
- That they will not save or share answers
- That they will not use answers or resources from others
- That they will not use notes or any resources (if not an open book exam)
Use of webcam during examinations
One possibility of administering the exam is to have users call into the class with their webcams turned on. While this does not remove the possibility of some issues (they may still be viewing or sharing material), having a video camera monitoring them may nevertheless be a constant reminder that this is an exam and be the deterrence required to avoid cheating.
Increasing the difficulty associated with cheating
Concurrent examination can be one way of increasing the difficulty that answers for exams can be shared between students; if the exam is available to be completed at a time of the students choosing, then one student is able to complete the entire exam, with the potential of discussing it with other students prior to them taking it.
Randomization and question pools
While randomizing question and answer order in classes can be useful to avoid students purposefully or accidentally seeing the answers over the shoulders of other students, in the context of online examining, this helps avoid students being able to save and easily share the entire exam in a format that can easily be read by others. Similarly, using questions pools, and only showing a subset of the questions to each student can help avoid one student being able to share questions and answers with all others.
Avoiding making answers available until after the exam has ended for all students
While it may appear beneficial for students to receive the answers and marks for multiple-choice exams (ie., that can be automatically graded) directly following the exam, if these students are able to take the exam at a timing of their choosing, this can make it particularly easy for students to save the answers and share among the students. Thus, maybe especially if students are able to take the exam in their own time, then it may be best to delay the release of answers until after all students have completed the activity.
Adjusting grading approaches towards activities that are harder to cheat on
Written examination over multiple choice
One of the ways of ensuring that it is difficult to cheat is by avoiding multiple-choice questions where there are unambiguous correct answers. While not immune from cheating shorter or long-form questions are harder to cheat on, given that it is no one right answer and it is possible to identify directly copied answers.
Increased usage of assignments and group work
Another approach for avoiding cheating is to reduce the weighting placed upon formal examinations, with a greater emphasis placed on individual or group assignments. This approach avoids concerns including the questions leaking out and students accessing resources in a closed book exam.
While remotely examinations do pose additional integrity challenges, the impact can be minimized by systematically considering approaches for i) reducing the likelihood that students will be prone to cheat, ii) increasing the difficulty of doing so, potentially through iii) adjusting the form of assessment.
The chat feature on Zoom can sometimes be useful – potentially for sharing links with others – but it can also be distracting when presenting. Getting a flashing notification can interrupt the flow of a presentation, and allowing others to share messages when you are presenting can lead to side-conversations. Learn how to temporarily and permanently disable the chat feature.
One of the most important considerations when teaching online is how to maintain student energy and engagement. This article explores ways of bringing some energy to the class, with a specific focus on online teaching environments.
While maintaining energy and engagement may be some of the most important parts of ensuring the successful delivery of online classes, this is particularly difficult if few students have prepared in advance for the class. Particularly for discussion-focused classes, ensuring that students take steps to engage with the material in advance of the class can go a long way to avoiding situations where the conversations remaining very superficial in nature.
Zoom has quickly become the go-to video conferencing software for online learning. But it is far from perfect, and some much-needed features would make the online learning experience a much more satisfying experience, for students and educators alike. Here is our wish list for features we would love Zoom to have.
Our collection of some of the most popular guides from experienced online and distance learning educators.
For classes that involve any degree of participation, it is important to consider how to manage online discussions. This article explores the options and considerations involved in student participation within online classes.
One of the key benefits of teaching online is being able to review your class recording. This article explores ways of using the recordings to improve your presentation style and class delivery.
If you want to effectively manage a Zoom call it is important to understand Zoom’s controls. In this guide we cover all aspects of the calls – where the buttons are and what they do.
If you need to capture your handwriting as part of presenting online via Zoom, a document camera can be the way to go. This article explores two different ways of sharing your document camera via Zoom.
Although the default settings in Zoom limits the number of thumbnails displayed in the gallery view to 25, this can be increased to 49. This article explains how to increase the number of participants displayed and the technical requirements to do.
This article explores how Masterclass – a platform of professionally produced online instructional material from some of the most respected experts in their fields – can be an invaluable source of inspiration when transitioning online.
Online teaching presents some new difficulties that have the potential of derailing a class. This article explores some possible sources of disruption and considers ways of reducing the likelihood of issues arising, or dealing with such problems should they occur in the class.
If your class incorporates attendance as part of its grading structure, it is useful to be able to download a list of class attendance, rather than have to manually record participation levels – this article describes how to download attendance for each class.
It’s easy to assume that sitting is the best way of teaching on-line – all your students will be sitting down. However, there are some advantages to consider of standing up when delivering your class. This article will explore the benefits of both options.
From connection and internet issues to microphone and webcam problems, there will inevitably be at least some technology issues during your Zoom classes. This article and its accompanying student-companion, is intended to help you to provide support to students who are having issues connecting to your Zoom call.