Here are some recommendations for designing final course assessments during remote teaching.
Given the outcomes/goals faculty had for the final assessment, what alternative assessment formats that work asynchronously would achieve most of those goals? Rutgers' Remote Exams website has 10 alternatives to exams. The special section for open-book assessment in quantitative courses offers suggestions such as show-all-work questions, conceptual questions, and questions in which students identify an error in a proof or computation.
Also, think about James Langs’ (a recent keynote speaker on our campus) suggestions about how to reduce cheating Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, or providing an honor code to your students before the test. Here are two pages from other universities with examples that could be adapted for use with your students.
Some of these suggestions might lead you to craft final assessments that may take slightly longer to grade.
Whenever possible, it is strongly encouraged to offer your final examinations in an asynchronous mode. This flexibility offers many advantages. As our students are managing multiple commitments and constraints, this flexibility will help them substantially if they are in a position to select a ‘good time’ to do such an important part of their coursework; this seems both fair and supportive. It also reduces concerns about potential bandwidth overload, or other technical issues owing to simultaneous student activity. For the same reasons, it is strongly discouraged to set strict completion time limits on your students. Please consider working with the Hub to redesign your synchronous or timed exams.
Guidance about e-proctored exams. Most e-proctored exams, such as ProctorU, charge students directly (approximately $20/hour/exam) thus adding unanticipated educational costs in already strenuous times. Moreover, many students who are not in fully online programs --- which tend to use these software tools more frequently — are demonstrably uncomfortable with what they perceive as an invasion of privacy by e-proctoring solutions. Given the circumstances of this transition to remote teaching, and the multiple stresses our students are experiencing, it is strongly discouraged that faculty resorts to e-proctoring solutions unless they have been using them routinely in programs and courses before this transition and unless the students were made aware of this on the syllabus. On the whole, it is our considered advice, after careful research into various available options by the Office of the Provost and the Hub, that redesigned final assessments as described above will prove more effective and fairer to students now and in the future.
You all will likely have other, more creative ideas, which we hope you will share with the Hub and your colleagues. We have set up a GoogleGroup (‘HowITeach’) where you and your colleagues could post questions or share solutions as a community of practice. As always, remember that the Hub is available and happy to help you redesign your assessments or other aspects of your courses. Feel free to schedule a virtual meeting using the Hub’s meetingbird online scheduling links.