In addition to online (W or V) and remote (V1) course sections, all fall 2020 course sections will have the opportunity to offer online final exams since classes will not meet in physical classrooms following the break for the Thanksgiving holiday. The following guidelines are offered as aids in exam planning for those faculty newer to the logistics of implementing online exams. These are suggestions, not requirements. All final exam planning should be carried out in alignment with UCF’s Final Exam Policy: https://policies.ucf.edu/documents/4-400.pdf. (Please note that instructors of course sections with a face-to-face meeting requirement may choose to conduct an assessment before the Thanksgiving break.)
Choose the Window of Final Exam Availability
- The exam window (“availability” in Webcourses@UCF) may be open for one week, 24-48 hours, or for a single hour. A student may take the exam at any point during this window. This requires establishing an open/close date and time for the exam. The exam duration is a separate issue. (Please see section below.)
- The key is to allow students time to schedule the taking of their exam within their other calendar constraints. Schedule exams to resolve during regular work hours to ensure students have access to technical support if needed.
- For course sections with an assigned exam date and time this may be less of an issue than for W/V courses in which a wider window of availability may be appropriate.
- Confirm with students the exact date(s) and open/close times of the availability of the online exam.
Select the Duration of the Exam
- There can be challenges online to strictly adhering to the exam duration offered in the classroom. Technology disruptions during exam-taking can occur. There are also some minor differences with offering the exam through the LMS that slow down the exam-taking process (e.g., page load, pagination of exam, etc.) in comparison to in-classroom exams with paper/pencil. Additionally, some students will face individual technology limitations due to lack of access to adequate devices or network connectivity. Offering an exam duration that is slightly longer (e.g., 15-20%) than would be offered face-to-face is worth considering. [Note: If choosing to present one question at a time in the exam, it may be necessary to extend the exam duration by up to 30% compared to f2f exams.]
Identify Any Barriers to Accessibility
- Accessibility in online exams can be different than f2f and needs to be addressed. Some students registered with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) require extra time to take an exam. This can be addressed individually in the exam settings. (See below.) Also, care should be taken to ensure that exam items do not include any media (i.e., images, audio, video, etc.) that might present an obstacle to some students that wouldn’t have been an issue in the face-to-face setting. For additional information, please see https://sas.sdes.ucf.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/05/Quick-guide_05182020.pdf.
Foster Academic Integrity
- Consider alternatives to multiple choice exam items. An entirely separate “authentic assessment” might be appropriate. These might include papers, essays, or projects that require a unique student contribution difficult to copy from another individual. For additional ideas on authentic assessments, please see https://digitallearning.ucf.edu/newsroom/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/online_assessment_0420-4.pdf.
- If conducting a traditional final exam, writing items at a higher cognitive level can minimize the usefulness of copy-and-paste cheating. For more information on this approach please see https://cdl.ucf.edu/faculty-seminar01/.
- If adopting an online proctoring service, introduce it early in the term, and use it on low stakes assessments so that students have time to get familiar with how it works. Final exams are not the time to introduce new technologies for the first time.
- For additional insights on fostering academic integrity in online exams, please see https://cdl.ucf.edu/faculty-seminar10/ and https://fctl.ucf.edu/teaching-resources/promoting-academic-integrity/.
Decide on Specific Online Quiz Options
- There are many individual settings faculty may employ in online exams. Specific decisions on these may be influenced by decisions on topics such as those addressed above (e.g., exam duration, academic integrity, etc.). For the range of exam (or “quiz”) options available in the Webcourses@UCF (Canvas) LMS, please see https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/What-options-can-I-set-in-a-quiz/ta-p/683.
- For some specific suggestions for online exam settings based upon specific goals, please see https://digitallearning.ucf.edu/newsroom/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/online_assessment_0420-4.pdf and https://cdl.ucf.edu/faculty-seminar10/.
- For instance, if concerned about hindering cheating, shuffling question order or answer order is an option to consider. If a student requires the accommodation of extended time for test-taking, the duration of the exam may be adjusted by “moderating” the quiz for this student.
- For assistance in implementing specific exam settings within Webcourses@UCF, please contact Webcourses@UCF Support at https://cdl.ucf.edu/support/webcourses/.