This information has been gathered to help LSA faculty move their current modes of assessment to an online teaching environment. General considerations are on the first tab. For recommendations on which tools to use for which type of assessment, see the Types of Assessment tab. For basic how-tos of Canvas Quizzes or Assignments, see those tabs.
Please note: these suggestions may not meet every need for every class, and you will often find that some of your students do not have the technology or network access to use your first choice solution. If you are unsure of the technologies or options that are best for your specific field or course, please contact LSATechnologyServices@umich.edu to schedule a consultation. Language faculty should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for consultation and assistance.
If you are concerned about the possibility of cheating, first discuss the topic of academic integrity with the students before the exam to help students reflect on their own values and responsibility. Engaging students in direct discussion of academic integrity, and the need to uphold the validity of everyone’s scores, including their own, has been demonstrated to be the most lasting and effective means to deter cheating. For additional suggestions, read The Best Cheating Prevention: Open Discussion about Academic Integrity, the LSA Academic Integrity page and learn about Academic Integrity and Google Translate.
To avoid possible cheating on online exams in remote teaching environments, we encourage faculty to think about different types of exams, rather than fill in short answer or multiple choice tests. Consider the following modes of testing:
For many years, the College of LSA has resisted approaches to academic integrity which rely on technological surveillance or policing. There are many reasons for not utilizing these approaches, but the two most important for us are the ways in which it undermines our existing community of trust and the deep invasions of student intellectual and personal privacy involved. This resistance continues to shape our approach to all evaluation, including online examinations.
Many approaches to evaluating student learning are used within the thousands of courses taught in LSA. Instructors have nearly complete autonomy in choosing modes of evaluation and assignment of grades. Most of our courses utilize authentic student work (papers, essays, analysis) which requires the kinds of contextual originality which discourages academic misconduct. Some, especially among large introductory science courses, utilize exams, including multiple choice exams, which are more likely to prompt misconduct. Even in these cases, surveillance is less effective than strong community standards.
We are currently recommending against using Respondus Lockdown Browser on top of all of the other new technology involved in delivering a class online. In addition, locking down the browser on the test computer doesn’t prevent a student from having their phone open or books open or other resources in front of them while working on the exam. Similarly, if faculty are interested in Lockdown Browser in an attempt to limit the possibility of copying the exam and sharing it with other students, there is nothing preventing students from taking pictures of the exam and texting them to people.
Some faculty may consider videoconference based proctoring. For a very small class, in which the faculty member already has a personal relationship with the student, a faculty member could consider proctoring the exam themselves over videoconferencing -- just as they would in an in-person course in a classroom.
For larger courses some institutions pay proctoring services which hire outside individuals to watch the students take their exams online via webcams. Not only are these services quite expensive, they raise serious concerns around the invasion of personal privacy and undermine existing standards of trust. LSA does not currently have any contracts with paid proctoring services.
LSA does not currently support or sanction the use of anti-plagiarism software such as “TurnItIn”. There are numerous reasons for this, including strong concerns for student intellectual property rights where the detection software companies profit by ingesting student work, without students' permission, into company databases against which other student work is then compared for possible cheating. In addition, plagiarism detection software only reacts after the fact. Many have argued strongly that there are greater benefits from teaching students how to avoid getting into problematic situations and helping faculty take proactive steps in their classes to teach students about plagiarism and how to avoid plagiarism. The Sweetland Center for Writing has a great site to teach students and faculty about plagiarism and how to avoid it.
The Sweetland Center for Writing also has excellent resources to help faculty members create better essay topics so that student work requires creative analysis and can’t just be recycled year after year. Sweetland has long argued that we need to take active steps to help LSA faculty craft better writing assignments which are ill-suited to papers from writing mills or files of past papers. Even in an online environment, Sweetland's suggestions for peer editing and iterative writing assignments, can help students improve their writing skills and outcomes.
The additional tabs on this page (above) provide faculty with strong guidance on alternative approaches to assessment and provide recommendations for tests, quizzes, essays, projects, presentations (synchronous and asynchronous) and exams.
How to best design online exams depends greatly on the type of exam you give. There are some general good practices, however. These include:
Have instructors available by phone or on Zoom, in case of questions while taking the test.
If you limit testing time, make it longer than usual to allow for technical issues and the already high stress levels of this disruption.
Explain clearly to students, in the Quiz or Assignment description, what materials they may need to have on hand to complete the test (e.g. smartphone for scanning hand-written work, microphone or sound pick-up for recording spoken responses).
Do not use Respondus Lockdown Browser for online exams; it is designed for on-site, proctored testing environments and will not help in an online environment.
If you normally hand out paper exams, you can use a Canvas Quiz or a Canvas Assignment. Upload your exam document file into the Files area of your Canvas course. If you use an Assignment, include a link to the exam document in the Assignment description. If you use a Quiz, create a question of the “file upload” type and link the exam document in the question description.
Note: Assignments will give you tools to annotate and mark up the uploaded document in Speedgrader, the online grading tool, while Quizzes will not.
Students will need to download the file, fill it in on their computers/tablets/phones, and upload the completed exam. Assignments allows you to set a test-taking window using the availability dates in the Assignment settings. Do keep in mind, however, that not all your students may be in the same time-zone for remote exams. Quizzes allows you to set a similar availability window, and/or to set the length of time the Quiz can be taken in. This may be more suitable for some exams.
If your exams normally take the form of long essays, we recommend using a Canvas Assignment. You can have students type or paste directly into a text-entry box, or allow them to upload files. Assignments allows you to set a test-taking window using the availability dates in the Assignment settings.
Assignments will also give you tools to annotate and mark up the uploaded document in Speedgrader, the online grading tool. Speedgrader allows you to mark up the document, add comments, record audio comments, use a rubric, and enter the final grade. These will all be viewable to the student in Canvas when grades are published.
Students can upload files to Google Drive when using Canvas Assignments but you will not be able to use the annotation tools in Speedgrader. You will need to download each file, add your own text/comments to the document, save, then reupload to Drive for students to view feedback. You will also need to then enter grades into the Canvas gradebook.
While it is also possible to use a file-upload type question in Canvas Quizzes for bluebook exams, essay exams, and papers, Canvas Quizzes will not offer annotation tools in Speedgrader, for uploaded files. If you use Quizzes for such an exam and want to use the Speedgrader annotation tools, use a text-entry question type and ask students to type or paste their responses in.
How-To Resources: How-to Information on Creating a Canvas Assignment
If your exams are normally multiple choice, fill in the blank, numeric, or short-essay, consider using Canvas Quizzes. You will need to manually enter the questions into the Quiz, but once you have done so, Canvas will grade everything but essay and file-upload questions for you automatically.
If you need to administer a high-stakes exam, use the Quiz tool in Canvas and consider shuffling the answer options, using a strict time limit, hiding student quiz responses, and using question groups.
We do not recommend using Respondus Lockdown Browser with a Quiz given online. Lockdown Browser only prevents students from opening a new window, tab, or application on the testing computer. It will not stop them from looking answers up on a separate phone or different computer, and adds a needless layer of complexity and potential technical issues. If you are concerned about cheating, please read the section on Academic Integrity on the Considerations tab.
LSA does not recommend or support remote proctoring services which hire outside individuals to watch the students take their exams online via webcams. Not only are these services quite expensive, they raise serious concerns around the invasion of personal privacy and undermine existing standards of trust.
If you are accustomed to giving exams, you may also want to think about a different type of assessment during disruptions, for example, using a case study or a writing assignment. These may serve better, to allow students to demonstrate knowledge.
How To Resources: How-to Information on Creating Canvas Quizzes
Examples: Non-Roman Fonts, Drawings, Equations, Formulae, Graphs, etc.
Students with smartphones or tablets can use scanner apps to create a digital copy of their work in PDF or JPG format. If your exam involves handwritten work, you can use either a Canvas Assignment or Quiz with a file-upload question type. Canvas most smoothly facilitates online submission and grading, including marking up submissions with the Speedgrader tool, but you can also use Google Drive or M+Box to collect such work, with considerations associated with each, outlined in the document More Info on Handwritten Work, linked below.
Keep in mind, not all students will have access to smartphones or tablets. You should ask students to contact you so you can identify alternative ways they can demonstrate their learning or submit their work. Some possibilities are outlined in More Info on Handwritten Work, below.
The document below contains considerations and how-to instructions for instructors to create Canvas Assignments and Quizzes ready for file upload in addition to instructions for students to submit their work, based on type of device.
Instructors will find some students have devices with writable surfaces, which students are accustomed to using for their classwork. These students use programs that allow drawing such as digital whiteboards, PowerPoint, or OneNote. Their work can be saved to their computer and uploaded to an assignment link or as an email attachment. You will want to remind your students not wait until the last minute of the exam to do this or the link will be closed.
Create a Canvas Assignment for the exam (important if you want to annotate in Speedgrader).
Attach the exam document using the Rich Text Editor. Note: if you attach a PDF, students may have trouble copying and pasting questions.
In Canvas Settings, select “online submission” and check “file uploads.”
Set the time the exam will open and close, allowing extra time for students to process and upload their work.
After students have taken the exam, go to the Assignment (exam) and open Speedgrader to annotate and assign a grade for each student.
Information for Students: You may prefer to use your device for drawing equations and graphs. You can print the exam or keep the exam open in another window. Number each of your equations as you complete the exam—no need to rewrite the question. Or you may want to copy and paste the questions onto your working document so you can see them as you work. When you are finished with the exam, export your work to a PDF or Word document and attach to the assignment link or email. Make sure you give yourself a few minutes to do this before the exam link expires.
If your exams are entirely oral or presentation-based, you may wish to schedule them within Zoom. You can easily have students present live and share their presentation materials by calling on them during the videoconference and asking them to share their screens.
Please note that this is not an option in the Bluejeans Event platform. If you will be having students present live to a very large class, you will need to work with the Videoconferencing group (LSATechnologyServices@umich.edu or 734-647-1534) to create an Event in which selected students are given Presenter rights.
If your final assessment involves student performances, presentations, or oral recitations, and you have chosen to have students record and submit these (asynchronous) rather than present live (synchronous), we recommend enabling My Media in your Canvas course so students can use Kaltura Capture to record themselves. These recordings can be submitted via the Course Gallery or in a Canvas Assignment.
We also encourage instructors to simplify the approach for this remote class setting. Consider reducing the length of the presentations which must now be recordings, as many students now find themselves with low-bandwidth connections and will have trouble uploading large recordings. In addition, think about how projects that have begun collaboratively can be presented in separate parts, given that it is not practical for students to edit several recordings into a single file under current circumstances.
If you are assigning a Canvas Quiz and wish to include spoken responses within that Quiz, you can use text-entry type questions in Quizzes; those will give students access to the Record Media tool to record their responses on the spot within the Canvas Quiz. Note that the spoken responses should be less than 1 minute to avoid students losing their work to a poor internet connection.
In the document linked below you will find information on ways for students to create their projects, and present them using pre-recorded video. You will also find ideas for structuring these activities, including resources for instructors and students.
For those new to using Canvas, please note that while the test-taking tool is called “Quizzes” it supports all manner of tests, including full length and complex exams!
To create a new Quiz, click on Quizzes in the course menu. Next, click the blue +Quiz button in the top right corner of the page. In the Details tab, enter the name of your quiz and any directions or information that will be necessary. Remember to Save fairly frequently, while creating your quiz, and to Save & Publish when you are ready to share it with students.
Settings are on the Details tab, below the description. You can set the length of the test here, as well as whether and when students are allowed to see their own answers and which questions they got correct. This is also where you can assign a Quiz to a specific group or section, if you are giving different tests to different sections of your course.
Please remember that, if you limit the time students can take the exam in, you allow more time than you normally would. In this time of stress, and especially if students are using unfamiliar tools, it is wise to reduce the extra stress that a timed deadline places on students.
Enter new questions in the Questions tab of a Quiz, using the +New Question button. The Canvas Quizzes tool offers 11 different question types for any given question.
To randomize questions so that each student gets a unique set of questions, you will need to create question groups. You can set how many questions each student gets from each group of questions.
If your students will be recording video or audio responses, use an essay type question. This will give them the Rich Content Editor to create their response, and on-the-spot media recording is one of the options in the Editor.
You can preview the appearance of your Quiz using the Preview button. You will see this on the first page of your Quiz, whenever you are not editing. To take the quiz as a student will see it, go to Settings in the course menu and select the “Student View” button in the stack of buttons at the top right of the first Settings tab. If you do so, you will see “Test Student” appear in your Gradebook, but Test Student is not visible to anyone but instructors.
The Canvas Quizzes tool will automatically generate a grade column in the Gradebook, as well as grade most question types automatically (not essay and file upload types). Use Speedgrader to view all student responses, grade essay questions, and make comments or corrections. You might want to hide grades until all grading is complete. You also have the option to let students see their responses immediately after their attempt, or for a set period of time.
You or your GSI(s) can view and grade file upload submissions from Assignments using Speedgrader, but you will need to download file-upload responses from Quizzes and grade them on your computer.
If you are concerned about the possibility of cheating, first discuss the topic of academic integrity before the exam to help students reflect on their own values and responsibility. Engaging students in direct discussion of academic integrity, and the need to uphold the validity of everyone’s scores, including their own, has been demonstrated to be the most lasting and effective means to deter cheating.
The most foolproof way to deter cheating, after that, is to design questions that require students to apply what they have learned to specific situations/examples, which will generate unique answers that aren’t easily copied and pasted.
Other options to enhance academic integrity include using Question Banks, so that no two students have the same exam content, and shuffling answers. You can set a time limit on the exam, but please be aware that students are under considerable stress during this time and leave more time than you normally would.
What if a student loses the network connection?
Canvas saves continually. If a student gets disconnected from the network, they can log back into Canvas, navigate to the Quiz and select “Resume Quiz.” They should find most/all of their responses have been saved. If there is a longer network outage, students should send a message to the instructor.
What if I want to allow another attempt?
Can I provide extra time?
If you need to provide extra time on quizzes and exams to students who ask for accommodations in using technology. See instructions for granting extra time to assessments in Canvas.
Can I give a practice exam?
Practice exams can be created by selecting Practice Quiz as the Quiz Type. Practice exams do not go into the Canvas Gradebook, but students can still see how they scored.
How do I weight Quizzes?
You can weight your exams by creating Assignment Groups in the Assignments item of the course menu. Each Assignment Group can be given a percentage weight. Drag your Quizzes into the appropriate groups.
How do I copy a Quiz?
To copy a Canvas Quiz, click on the three dots to the right of the Quiz on the main Quizzes page and select “copy to.” From the dropdown that appears, select any of your courses to create a copy of the Quiz in that course (including the one your are currently in).
Canvas assignments may be a better option for certain types of exams, such as longer essay exams and exams that need to be hand-written. This allows students to efficiently compose essay responses on a Word or Google document and then upload to the Assignment. For exams that require hand-writing or drawing, students can print the exam document, write directly on the document, scan the document to PDF with a smartphone or tablet, and upload the PDF to the Assignment. If printing is not possible, students can number and write responses on their own paper. There are several free scanner apps such as Camscanner for cell phones and tablets. In a pinch, students can take a photo with their phones and upload the image, but this will have lower quality and is more prone to upload issues.
To create a new Assignment, go to the Assignments item in the course menu and click the +Assignment button at the top right of the page. You can enter the exam description and link to any documents the students might need to download and fill out. Hit “Save and Publish” when you are ready to share the exam with the students.
In the Assignment settings, below the description area, you can set how many points it is worth, how assignments are to be submitted (e.g. file upload or typed directly into a text entry box), and the availability window.
Remember, when setting availability times, that not all your students may be in the same time zone.
You or your GSI(s) can view and grade file upload submissions from Assignments using Speedgrader, and can use the annotation tools to mark up and comment on uploaded files. It is a good idea to hide grades until all grading is complete.
Can I use Google Drive instead of Assignments?
If you wish, yes. Students can upload files to Google Drive, but if you use Drive you will not be able to use the annotation tools in Speedgrader. You will need to use the commenting tools available in Google instead. You will also need to manually enter grades into the Canvas gradebook.