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Online Library & Learning Services Support during COVID-19

Strategies for supporting student assessment and maintaining academic integrity in an online environment

Assignments and assessments

Consider your students’ mental health and the impact of a high-anxiety situation on their ability to effectively demonstrate their learning.

  • Consider removing Enforced Time Limits on online exams and quizzes.
  • Be as flexible as possible and avoid creating rigid or narrow time-based expectations for assignments, exams, or participation

Consider modifying your assessment plan.

  • Use ungraded, self-check quizzes for highly technical course content to check student learning and determine whether teaching strategies should be altered.
  • Provide students with assessment options to support engagement and learning, as well as their access to, and comfort with, technology.
  • Use a variety of assessment types to allow students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge/skills in different ways (e.g. artifacts, portfolios, recorded presentations, slideshows, reflective video responses, written responses, data interpretation and analysis).
  • Use self- and peer-assessments to reduce instructor workload, improve student learning experiences, and build community.
  • Use frequent, low-stakes quizzes to reinforce facts and concepts and prepare students for larger assessments.
  • Use short-answer questions and get students to apply new concepts to specific scenarios to increase the difficulty of online assessments.

Consider providing clear and simple instructions.

  • Consider providing more context to learners for assignments and assessments that are now online to provide as much clarity as possible. 
  • Break down complex or multi-part assignments into smaller components and deliver separately (allows for more frequent feedback) (e.g. a larger essay could have three graded components: a proposal, an outline and annotated bibliography, and a final submission).

Open-book and online assessment

Consider open book assessment online if you are assessing learning outcomes that involve higher-order thinking such as application of knowledge and skills, critical thinking, analysis, or evaluation. Considerations when designing open book assessment:

  • Are you assessing interpretation and application of knowledge, comprehension skills, or critical thinking skills rather than basic knowledge recall?
  • Are you designing your questions and exam / paper with the skills and knowledge as stated in the course learning outcomes?
  • Do questions require students to apply and make use of the information from their textbook or notes rather than simply require them to locate and re-write the information?
  • Consider using problem-based scenarios or real-world cases.
  • Refer specifically to course content, lectures, and materials

References

Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo. (n.d.). Encouraging Academic Integrity Online. Retrieved from https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/planning-courses/course-design/encouraging-academic-integrity-online

Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE). Keep Teaching.ca

University of Windsor (2020). Exams and alternate assessments during disruptions. Retrieved from http://mediawikibe.uwindsor.ca/wiki/index.php/Exams_and_Alternate_Assessments_During_Disruptions

Vancouver Island University (2020). Transitioning to remote studies mid-stream: Teaching strategies for student independence and success. Retrieved from https://wordpress.viu.ca/ciel/2020/03/14/transitioning-to-remote-studies-mid-stream-teaching-strategies-for-student-independence-and-success/

Weleschuk, A., Dyjur, P. & Kelly, P. (2019). Online Assessment in higher education Taylor Institute. University of Calgary. Retrieved from https://taylorinstitute.ucalgary.ca/sites/default/files/TI%20Guides/Online%20Assessment%20Guide-2019-10-24.pdf

Western University. (n.d.). Teachology: Evidence-informed answers to your eLearning questions at Western University. Retrieved from https://www.teachology.ca/knowledgebase/how-do-i-assess-student-learning-online/