Article Last Updated April 2020
This article outlines best practices and suggestions for delivering fully remote exams using the eClass quiz activity.
Fully remote online exam delivery poses several challenges including ensuring academic honesty, maintaining exam integrity, and the potential for technical problems. These challenges are discussed in detail in Assessment of Remote Learning under Exceptional Circumstances which recommends that alternative assessments or open-book, flexible eClass quizzes are used. Instructors should consult CTL to restructure assessments for this format and ensure learning outcomes are being met. The following guidelines apply to setting up quizzes for these and other scenarios.
Constructing Quizzes for Remote Exam Delivery
- One question per page where possible
Switching between pages in a quiz forces data to be saved to eClass every time a student navigates between pages, minimizing data loss in the event a student's internet connection drops. Whenever possible, construct quizzes so that there is only question per page. If several questions refer to the same material (for example a diagram, case study, or written problem), these can be constructed as a single page but these should be limited to 3 or 4 questions with a repeated copy of the information provided on a second page for further questions. If long form answers (essay questions) are required for the same material, these should be split onto single pages with the preparatory material repeated on each page.
- Avoid sequential navigation
Under a quiz 'Layout' settings, it is possible to set Navigation to Sequential. This should be avoided as it only allows the students 1 view of a question and they can never navigate back to it. The default (and by far the most commonly used) Navigation selection is Free which allows students to flag questions and return to them if necessary just as they would in a paper exam. Changing this setting to sequential may cause student confusion as they are used to the ability to navigate.
- Add security features
There are a wide range of available security features including honesty checks, question and answer order randomization, password protection, and more.
Practical Considerations for Delivering Remotely
- Set flexible timing
Ensure that the quiz time limit and open/close dates and times provide a buffer to account for technical challenges. Specifying a longer exam time window provides students flexibility for their specific start time, spreads out performance and support load, and generally reduces anxiety. For example, if a quiz time limit is 120 minutes and scheduled for 2PM - 4PM, open the quiz at 1:30PM and close it at 4:30PM. Longer windows, for example providing students with 3 days to complete their exam are also recommended.
- Communicate early with students
Instructors should communicate the exam details such as format and timing, and any other special requirements to students as soon as they can to head off any potential issues. Instructors should also ensure that students review the available tools and tips for taking quizzes on eClass.
- Run a practice quiz
Running a practice quiz with students accessing from wherever they will complete their final exam is essential. Whether students are already familiar with taking quizzes on eClass or not, attempting a quiz from the actual exam-taking locations where bandwidth or firewall issues may occur can prevent these from occurring during the actual exam.
- Prepare for problems
- Establish a communication process for the different kinds of issues that may arise during an exam - eg. for subject matter questions, contact the TAs; for internet outages phone your internet provider (or switch to cellular internet service); for technical issues with your computer contact the IST helpdesk (780-492-9400); for eClass issues contact eClass support (780-492-9372). These tips are also suggested for students here.
- Some available communication options include phone, email, google chat, and eClass messaging. Instructors may also want to create an online meeting room that students can log into during an exam to pose questions.
- Be familiar with the process to extend the attempt deadline for particular students who might be encountering issues.
- Plan a backup solution - for example offering an alternative variation of the exam to be emailed to a student, completed, and returned or shifting students to a deferred exam.