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Online Alternatives to In-Person Proctored Exams

Although proctored exams are a common means of assessing student learning, these alternatives are worth considering:

Open-book, take-home exams delivered and scored by Canvas

This method can be especially effective if high-stakes exams are replaced with or broken up into multiple, lower-stakes tests. When questions are drawn randomly from a large pool of test questions, the order of responses to multiple-choice questions is randomized, and the windows for testing are time-limited, opportunities and motivation for academic misconduct are reduced. For guidance on this approach, in addition to our support article on Canvas Quiz Best Practices, see these tips for maximizing quiz security.

Canvas discussion forum assignments

Task students with creating study questions and leading a discussion of answers and solutions. Discussions can be moderated so that students are not able to pull from each others' contributions until the appropriate point. These forums can be used by students to, in effect, test each other on course concepts. Using a Canvas rubric for grading can make assessment of these activities highly efficient.

Student papers and portfolios

Have students submit a traditional class paper, a collected portfolio of coursework (eg, homework assignments), an annotated bibliography, or other written document. Use the Canvas Assignments tool to collect and grade student submissions, and create a rubric in advance to simplify grading.

Multimedia assignments

Students can create advertisements, how-to videos, photo albums, audio-narrated slideshows and share them via Canvas or other online medium.

Online simulations and labs

While the learning curve for some of these tools can be steep, they can provide alternative experiences that expose students to tools, procedures, and collaborative activities. Technology evolves at a rapid pace. For some ideas, see these MERLOT online resources:

Additionally, the following vendors provide online or out-of-class lab experiences:

General Resources for Alternative Assessment Strategies

These resource pages provide further suggestions:

Finally, a number of discipline-specific strategies can often be located via a simple online search using the term "alternative assessment" combined with the name of your discipline or course topic.

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  • 18-Aug-2023