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FACULTY: Proctoring Solutions

March 19, 2020

Dear Faculty,

As we work diligently to move all courses to distance-based instruction while ISU and the rest of the world deal with the COVID-19 crisis, we realize that skill and knowledge evaluation or testing is going to be a large consideration in whatever new instructional format your course takes.  There are a few things to consider while trying to decide how best to complete your course examinations.  

First, we have just encouraged most students to return to their homes or the safest place for them.  For a large majority of students, that means they will not be near any of the ISU campuses. To support the students who are unable to return home, or do not have access to a computer, several computer labs have been reconfigured to allow 10 students at a time in the lab. So while the computer labs and even some potential proctor-able classrooms are available, it isn’t feasible or prudent to require students to come back to campus to take proctored exams.  Second, although we have an online proctoring vendor for eISU courses, that vendor is overrun with requests for service from us and the rest of their clients around the country, and they are not going to be able to provide proctoring service for all the courses at ISU. We have looked at other online proctoring vendors. They are in the same situation and are not taking new clients.

What other solutions are available or feasible?  Moodle ISU can be used for testing, and there are strategies available to help discourage cheating. These include:

  • Randomizing question order on an exam.  
  • Randomizing the answer order of each multiple-choice question.  
  • Setting time limits on an exam.
  • Adding essay questions and including various other question types.
  • Take-home examinations submitted via Moodle.

Options outside of using Moodle ISU for testing might include:

  • Essay submission or even a self-recorded video from each student created on their phone or other device addressing some knowledge or skill you want to evaluate.  
  • Within Zoom, you have the ability to see each student who is participating in the session. You could assign an exam and proctor it remotely yourself while watching the individual video shots of each student.  

We recommend exploring alternative assessment methods to meet your course outcomes such as:

  • Real-world projects.
  • Using essay questions or questions that require considered, researched responses.
  • Assignments focused on your specific course outcomes.
  • Student-recorded presentations.

I’m sure each of you has other ideas as well that might work within your disciplines and courses.

The ITRC instructional design staff remain available to help you with technology as well as ideas and strategies to make your course the best possible version to be delivered at a distance.  Please consult with them if you need ideas or information about what your options are for testing and evaluation of students in this time of disruption.

The ITRC will remain open to help you.  We are available in B17 of the library; via phone (208) 282-5880; email: itrc@isu.edu; and via Zoom (make an appointment).