Moving exams online drastically changes the environment in which they will be taken by students. It’s nearly impossible to ensure a proctored environment. There are steps you can take to reduce potential cheating during online exams. In addition to the suggestions below, it might be beneficial to consider the above recommendations of chunked assignments – perhaps offering smaller quizzes instead of larger exams to reduce anxiety and thus the impulse to cheat.
- Assume every exam is open book/open notes. Approach designing the exams like you might approach a take-home exam.
- Use time windows and time limits wisely. Sakai and Canvas allow you to set a time window (during which students can choose to take the exam: for instance, could be any time between Monday, March 30 at 7am and Thursday, April 2 at 8pm) in addition to a time limit for the exam. Although the student can choose to take the exam at any point during the window, the time limit will restrict how long they can spend on the exam. For instance, you can set the timer to limit the student to taking the exam for one hour. After that hour is up, the student will no longer have access even if the window has not closed.
- Use open-ended questions that require higher-order thinking skills when possible. When students have a limited amount of time to compose a response, they’ll have to rely on their knowledge to answer the questions.
Need to use multiple choice questions? Consider the following:
- Avoid using publisher test bank questions. The answers to these are easily found on the Internet.
- Put your questions through the “Google test” – can you find the answer with a quick Google search? Avoid these types of questions.
- Randomize the questions and answer choices. Both Sakai and Canvas allow you to randomize the order in which the questions and answer choices appear so that students do not all see the same exam in the same order. Remember: don’t use “all/none of the above” options if you are randomizing the order of possible responses.
- Use question banks/pools. If you’d like students to answer 25 multiple choice questions, consider creating a bank of 50 from which they will be drawn. This will ensure different students receive different questions on their exam. Both Sakai and Canvas also allow for multiple question banks in one exam (if you want to create different banks based on question difficulty, topic, etc).