If you are planning on setting a specific time limit for an online exam or synchronous assessment, such as a live presentation, be prepared to offer a range of time slots to accommodate students in different timezones.
Offering multiple approaches to assessment alternatives will help to ensure that the potential restrictions or access challenges faced by students do not limit them from completing their assessment.
Ensuring that online assessments are equitable with on-campus assessment in terms of academic integrity will also be a key concern. Addressing this concern does not only satisfy quality assurance but will also reassure students that the standards of their course are being maintained.
It is very difficult to guarantee that no student will plagiarise or collude to complete an assessment but the following approaches can help to reduce the likelihood of academic offences:
- Utilise authentic assessment approaches, requiring students to incorporate real-world information, perspectives and reflections into their submissions.
- Scaffold your assessment to observe the performance of learners over the whole course or module rather than only at an endpoint assessment.
- Require an additional audio or video submission for students to describe their approach to the assessment, the sources they used and their reflections on what they have learnt by completing the assessment.
- Require a sample of learners, selected at random, to defend their submission through an online viva to provide an additional level of QA.
These strategies do not resolve some of the common causes of academic offences, such as learners’ feeling under pressure to submit assessments against tight deadlines, lack of clear assessment instructions and study skills support.
Ensuring sufficient time and support is available to your learners will help them make the most of their assessment submissions and will help to avoid last-minute work on their assessments or the possibility of resorting to plagiarism.