Administering exams in a fully online class presents several challenges. Should I set time limits? How do I meet student accommodations? How can I ensure academic integrity? Will my students be able to “show their work” on a Blackboard exam? In some cases, this may be an ideal opportunity to consider alternative assessments to traditional exams. Alternative assessments such as student presentations, reflective questions, annotated problem solving, and capstone projects may allow you to gauge student learning while also providing students with a relevant and engaging learning experience.
Below are comprehensive resources from Centers for Teaching and Learning around the country that provide numerous examples of alternative assessments. If you decide you still need to administer a traditional exam in the online environment, we have also provided resources to assist you in doing so in both a proctored and unproctored environment. Please watch the recorded webinar Getting Ready for Finals: Online Testing and Alternative Assessments to learn more.
For alternatives to traditional exams, see these resources from the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning at Indiana University – Bloomington and the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of California – Berkeley:
The Innovative Learning Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology provides strategies for online assessments that are interactive, based in real-world application, contribute to the learning process, and are relevant and aligned to learning outcomes:
The Center for Instructional Technology and Training at the University of Florida provides several discipline-specific examples of alternative assessments and how they might be built within an LMS. Authentic, collaborative, interactive, and scaffolded examples are included:
The Blackboard Tests, Pools, and Surveys tool can be used to create and administer tests to students from within Blackboard.
- Step 1: Create a test or survey and add questions
- Step 2: Make test available to students
Verification of student identity and academic integrity can be challenging in the online environment. If your exam needs to be proctored, consider the following options. An Academy instructional designer can explore possibilities with you.
- Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor: The test is created and administered in Blackboard. Students are unable to open additional browsers on their machine and students with webcams/mics are recorded during the exam. Please share the Student Guide to Respondus Lockdown Browser with your students when using this option. This solution will not work for students using Chromebooks.
- ProctorU: This option should only be used if an online test must be given with a live proctor while the college is closed. Complete the ProctorU Section of the Testing Center’s Test Proctor Request Form in order to assure a smooth test administration. View the ProctorU Manual for details and assistance. Please share the ProctorU FAQ page with your students when using this option. This solution will not work for students using Chromebooks.
- There are limitations associated with proctoring in the online environment. Please watch the recorded webinar Getting Ready for Finals: Online Testing and Alternative Assessments to learn more.
Questions? Need instructional support? Please submit the Online Instruction Support form and an Academy instructional designer will contact you.