Online Assessment

Some course assignments, such as papers and projects, may be easily adapted to the online format, simply use the Brightpsace dropbox tool for student submissions. What may need to adapt is your communication of these assignments to students. Adjust deadlines as needed based on your contingency plan and any schedule interruptions. Be clear and consistent in your communication. Think about the questions students normally have when completing the assignment under "normal" circumstances, and address these questions through a detailed assignment sheet. Provide detailed feedback of student performance in the assignment.


Moving tests away from the face-to-face format can be quite stressful for faculty. How can faculty ensure students are not cheating, either by looking up answers online, or by working together to take the test? Without access to proctoring services, this is a very valid concern. However, exams can be formatted in a way to mitigate these issues.

  • Assume students will be working together, accessing the internet, etc. This means you will need to rethink how you ask questions. Fact-based questions are easy to look up. Consider reformatting questions to require students to apply information at a higher level. Assume the exam is “open book” and communicate your expectations and allowed resources. This article offers some recommendations for open book tests.
  • Use the technology to your advantage. Create time limits on the exam, turn off "backwards navigation" so students can't go back to a previous question, and use the randomization option. This link provides resources for how to use Brightspace's quizzing features. These options make it harder for students to work together or to look up information quickly enough in the time allowed. Keep in mind, students who receive accommodations such as extended time on exams will still receive those accommodations in the virtual setting.
  • Include an academic honesty statement at the beginning of each exam. Require students to affirm that they will maintain academic integrity while taking the exam.

Group Work Online

Group work can be conducted quite effectively in the virtual environment.

  • Set specific parameters for group expectations. Are students required to meet, or can they work on the project individually with communication happening via phone or online? What are the roles for each student? How will they be assessed? Etc.
  • Set up a virtual space for group work. This can be a discussion board for each group, or other virtual space.
  • Set goals and "check in" dates. What must be completed, and by when? How will students communicate their progress to you? Keeping tabs on the group progress will allow you to provide timely feedback if they group gets off track.
  • Set up a space for questions, or a process for communication. Are you checking D2L discussion boards daily? Do you expect students will email you with questions? How are you planning to communicate with the groups? Should there be one "point person" for each group who asks questions/submits group work, etc.
  • If needed, schedule conference calls with each group to discuss progress.
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