Complications & Connections
Complications: It’s easy to have a closed-book exam in a classroom where you can easily set parameters, and where students aren’t always already connected to the internet. In online courses, it can be hard to lock students out of the internet, and it can feel inauthentic even to try (why should students pretend there is no internet when they have to use it just to access the exam?).
Connections to ACE: Part of being adaptable is not just replicating your face-to-face course online, but truly adapting it. This means rethinking assessment, not just uploading your assessments. As you work to build connection with your students and encourage them to connect with their world, consider the cost of demonstrating distrust via the use of proctoring software and the cost of closing down the internet’s ability to link them out of the classroom; these costs may run counter to your pedagogical aims. In a time where surveillance and policing are clearly violent and alienating to many of our students, especially students of color, we should use the lens of equity to examine the approaches we take in the name of curtailing cheating.
Alternatives to Surveillance-Oriented Assessment
One way to avoid surveillant assessments is to redesign your assessments so they are more authentic. Understanding the ways that surveillance affects your classroom dynamics and the ethics of the software companies that you use in your courses is a good start; even better is learning how to design assessments that allow your students to continue learning as they engage in them. The following resources will help you learn more about the pitfalls of surveillant edtech and get started on designing more authentic assessments.
- Conference on College Composition & Communication’s statement on academic integrity and the use of plagiarism detection services.
- A cautionary article on algorithmic test proctoring in Higher Ed.
- This short article about why online courses shouldn’t use remote proctoring tools has a few quick tips that you may find helpful.
- This webinar on academic integrity has a significant section on authentic assessment in online environments.
- This is a helpful pocket guide on developing authentic assessments.
- This Summary of Online Assessments and Best Practices was created for faculty in UC-Denver’s engineering program.
- Learn more about Scenario-Based Learning (SBL), one kind of authentic assessment.
- Tips for teachers on Authentic Assessment.
If You Still Need Remote Proctoring
There are many software programs (such as Proctorio and Respondus) designed to prevent cheating on exams, and many other platforms (such as Turn-it-In) that focus on plagiarism or other kinds of academic dishonesty. Plymouth State (for example) has institutional accounts with some of these. If you don’t plan to retool your curriculum to make these technologies irrelevant, contact an academic technologist at your institution for help finding and learning the software that is best for your situation.