9 Alternatives to Proctoring to Boost Academic Integrity

Brennanstewart/ May 6, 2021/ Course Design, Software/ 0 comments

As the university is not renewing our contract for Respondus within its online learning environments, we want to take a brief, birds-eye look at the numerous strategies to ensuring academic integrity when assessing student learning without the use of digital proctoring.

What’s happening?

At the end of Spring 2021 quarter, Respondus LockDown Browser & Respondus Monitor will be disabled within Canvas.

What does that mean for my courses?

If you were planning to proctor your (online) exams with Respondus, alternative solutions will need to be prepared.

What are my options?

There are quite a few, actually. Virtual proctoring is only a small piece to the expansive landscape of digital academic integrity. ETM will continue to provide resources to assist the adoption of any of the methods below. I’ll also acknowledge that each department, discipline, instructor, and exam may have reasons to agree or disagree with any particular alternative below – but each suggestion has their own area for success within the academic landscape of digital education.

  1. Randomizing Quizzes
  2. Variable Numerical Quizzes
  3. Quiz Logs
    • A quick peruse of the Quiz Logs can provide a wealth of information – but it’s important to be careful with jumping to conclusions based solely on this. For further information about what Quiz Logs can show, check out our Wiki article: https://wiki.spu.edu/display/ETMH/Canvas+Quiz+Logs
    • Some examples of odd behavior include navigating away from the quiz page, or spending a large amount of time on one particular question. The latter could signify a student had to take time to look up the answer… or simply needed more time to clear their brain and think through the question. Logs can also be used to support a student claim that they were unable to access portions of the quiz, potentially because of internet problems. One thing to consider: Quiz Logs may raise flags on academic dishonesty, but are not inherent proof in themselves.
  4. Publisher Materials
    • Publisher materials are great in the sense that they make developing quizzes a quick and painless process – but be cautious of these in high-stakes settings (midterms, finals, or any one assessment worth a large portion of the students’ grades). Publisher quiz answers are readily available with a quick copy/paste into a Google search bar.
  5. Open Note & Open Book
    • Open note or open book exams can equip students to be able to process more complex questions and help students utilize the resources they have to find information when needed. If this idea sounds enticing, consider allowing some quizzes to be open note, or even open book. This places a higher value on writing notes throughout the course (thus a side result is elevated retention), while also lowering student pressure leading into an assessment.
    • The fear that students are messaging other classmates or googling the answers is mitigated when they’re allowed other means for integrity-friendly assistance.
  6. Larger Question Pools
  7. Changing Questions on a Regular Basis
    • Quote me on this one: The best way to ensure students haven’t seen an assessment before is to write a new one. The biggest con? It takes time. And it’s a real thing, especially after the burnout we’ve all been experiencing over the past year. If you’re interested in trying this but find yourself struggling to create quality assessments, try taking it one step at a time. Maybe that means only focusing on high-stakes exams (midterms, finals, or anything worth a large portion of the students’ grades). Maybe that means writing new questions every-so-often, instead of every single quarter. The goal here is to avoid burning out before the course even begins!
  8. Authentic Assessments
    • There are a multitude of alternative options besides multiple choice exams. A more authentic assessment may ask students to work through an applicable problem that utilizes course materials and course strategies, without relying on the process of elimination or quick short-form answers.
  9. Self-Attestation
    • Self-attestation questions within an exam extends an atmosphere of trust to your students, which reinforces a strong, positive learning environment for students to return their trust in other ways, such as trusting that course assignments and materials are worth taking their time to study for or try their best on. The self-attestation also acts as a community agreement, which could reference or act as an extension of course policies – not lying solely within your exams, but within course practices in general. In practice, this involves including an element to the assignment where students self-attest that they completed the test or quiz independently, without outside resources. This can either be implemented through a True/False question, or a short-answer where students write or copy/paste a brief statement and type (sign) their name.

As always, ETM is here to work with you on your goals, hopes, and dreams of optimizing the technology you’re using in the ‘classroom,’ physical or virtual. We’d love to answer any questions you have, or talk through what you need to make sure the learner experience runs as smoothly as possible. If you’d like to speak with someone in ETM, feel free to send an email to etmhelp@spu.edu. Let’s get this conversation started!

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