Guidelines for Securing Exams and Classes Online

Academic integrity is of course just as important in a virtual learning environment as it is in an in-person class, and teaching remotely means considering a range of familiar and also some possibly new approaches to ensure that all students are bringing that integrity to their work. Below are a few suggestions to consider.

Key Principles for Assessing Students in a Remote Learning Environment

  • Make sure students understand University academic integrity policies and your course-specific expectations:
    1. In your syllabus and during class, communicate with your students about your and the University’s expectations of academic integrity and what constitutes a violation of it. For example, to what extent are students allowed to collaborate on assignments? Are exams going to be open-book or closed-book? Are they going to be timed and/or time-bound? What kinds of resources can they use?
    2. Informally quiz students on your policies. This will give them a chance to make mistakes when the stakes are low, and will help them generate questions about your expectations before it’s time to hand in an assignment or take a test. Having a conversation to field those questions can also help things go more smoothly by simultaneously addressing student questions regarding assignment due dates and other information in the course.
  • Require students’ explicit commitment to academic integrity: Include waivers at the top of tests/online assessments that require a click before the assessment can be submitted; i.e. “I certify that all work on this assessment is entirely my own and does not violate Georgetown’s Academic Integrity policies.”

    1. For online testing, use available software applications to ensure academic integrity for online testing:
      1. For higher-stakes testing, consider using Proctorio, a robust exam proctoring option, available from within Canvas
        1. This provides our most secure testing environment. It provides for student identity verification, video capture, remote proctoring, and web browser lockdown.
        2. Proctorio is not currently available for mobile devices and there are some minimum technological requirements (such as a webcam with 320×240 VGA resolution or better). For students with inadequate technology, consider alternatives (such as those articulated below), or one-off solutions like FaceTiming with a student during an exam.
        3. Some students may feel that software like Proctorio creates an overly protective environment. Others may have privacy concerns–please see [link to document] for information on the privacy protections that Proctorio guarantees.
      2. For lower-stakes testing, consider using Canvas as the testing platform and visual proctoring using zoom.
      3. Deciding on whether to use Proctorio, other means of integrity assurance for online testing, or alternative mechanisms for assessment requires balancing technological and other concerns with the ultimate goal of fair and rigorous assessment. Whether using Proctorio or not, use built-in quiz tools within Canvas to secure your exams:
        1. Randomize questions to make it harder for students to compare notes on an exam. Find out about randomizing questions in Canvas.
        2. Set up an access code for a test in Canvas and only share that password when you are ready to have students begin the test.
        3. Limit the time during which a student can complete an online assessment to something that is reasonable, yet prevents their looking up answers.
    2. Consider assessment mechanisms alternative to online testing. Could an online quiz or exam be replaced with a project, paper, or discussion-based assessment?

Continue to employ usual best practices for written assessments such as student papers or projects, including using Turnitin to check for plagiarism also available within Canvas—and let students know that you’re going to be doing that.

For information about Student Data Privacy, please visit here.

Office Hours

For support with tools and tips for teaching online, CNDLS provides virtual office hours, Monday-Friday. Click here to enter virtual office hours.  Hours of operation: Monday – Thursday, 10 am – 4 pm and Friday between 10 am and 12 pm. After hours, you can reach us at cndls@georgetown.edu.  

Webinars

CNDLS is hosting a series of webinars to help address key questions when teaching at a distance. Please find a list of the webinars below and for more training opportunities, please visit the training page. Recorded sessions are available here.