The purpose of this page is to design online exams that inhibit cheating and unauthorized distribution of exam materials by use of good practices in the following areas:
- Employ the use of browser "lock-down" software to reduce access to other software, applications, and data.
The Respondus LockDown Browser which locks down the browser testing environment is available in the University of Minnesota Moodle. The LockDown Browser prevents students from printing, copying, visiting other websites, or accessing other applications during online exams. This application is not considered to be fool proof, but it can deter most students from cheating. Use Respondus LockDown Browser on your Moodle quizzes.
- Use remote proctor technologies.
Some remote proctoring or "robot" technologies can be purchased to assist in remote proctoring through the use of video or biometric technology. Webcams have also been used to proctor online exams. Some universities have developed their own remote proctoring services for online courses. The UofM currently has not, but you can read more about one of the available technologies, ProctorU here: University of Minnesota ProctorU: Getting Started.
- Hold your exam in a managed lab on campus.
Elliott 121 is an OIT managed computer lab that is primarily used as a testing center. Containing 64 computer terminals, Citrix' XenDesktop virtualization solution provide access to Internet browsers that allow students to take online tests, including tests that are available through Moodle. "Respondus Lockdown Browser" can also be used to lock down the test environment.
Elliott 121 can be scheduled for use by University faculty and staff based on availability and academic priority. An online calendar for Elliott 121 can be found here.
More information about the Elliott 121 Testing Center can be found by contacting OIT's Academic Technology Spaces service owner.
- Adjust the weight of exams relative to the overall grade in the course, while increasing the weight of project and assignment activities.
Assigning higher point values or percentages to assignments and projects helps to offset the grading weight generally associated with exams. If you are using Moodle for your course, you may use the Category Aggregation feature to to adjust exam and assessment weights.
- Require students to agree to an honor statement.
Within the Quiz description in Moodle, you can add an honor code statement similar to what Pharmacy uses in their online quizzes (see below). The description should state that by attempting the quiz, you accept and agree to all statements made within the honor code. Another way to reinforce academic integrity is to have students sign a contract emphasizing the University's academic integrity policy and outlining consequences for violations.
Honor Code used in PharmD online quizzes:
"Each student is bound by the College of Pharmacy Honor Code, which states, "Academic misconduct is any unauthorized act which may give a student an unfair advantage over other students, including but not limited to: falsification, plagiarism, misuse of test materials, receiving unauthorized assistance and giving unauthorized assistance."
You are required to do your own work on this quiz, and any assistance you receive from another student, or any assistance you give to another student will be considered unauthorized, and subject to penalties to be determined by the Honor Council.
By taking this quiz, I certify that I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance."
- Make students aware of Moodle's tracking and logging abilities.
If students understand that their actions within Moodle are recorded in log files, they will be less likely to attempt to circumvent technology. Please contact Moodle Support for questions regarding student tracking and student activity logging. Learn how to use Moodle Reports
- Use question sets to randomly generate quizzes or exams for each student.
Using question sets to randomize quizzes and exams has several advantages. Each student is presented with a unique test which makes it very difficult to collaborate with other students during the exam. It also deters students from copying their question set and passing it along to their peers who may not have started the exam yet. Adding Random Questions in Moodle.
- Limit the duration, number of attempts, and how the questions are delivered.
When you limit the duration of a quiz, it diminishes the time that a student can spend looking up answers. Delivering one question at a time can prevent copying or printing of the exam. Limiting the number of attempts can help prevent collaboration and ensures that students don't have multiple attempts to answer the same question sets.
- Limit the availability period of an exam.
If an exam has a long availability period, it is possible for a few students to take the test early on and share the questions/answers with other students who have not yet taken the exam. Adding/Updating Questions: Time Limits.
- Wait until the exam availability period ends before providing exam feedback.
Prevent students from seeing which questions they missed until all students have taken and submitted the exam. Adding/Updating Questions: Review Options.
- Randomize multiple choice quiz or exam answers for each student
Moodle allows you to randomize the answer order for multiple choice questions. This feature makes it more difficult for students to share answers if they are presented with the same question. Combining question sets and randomization of answers is a very effective technique. Adding/Updating Questions: Shuffle Questions and Answers.
- Use "calculated questions" when applicable
Calculated questions are designed using variables. Random values, based on user specified range, are automatically generated for each variable in the question. Calculated Question type in Moodle.
- Increase the number of open-ended or essay-style exam questions.
Open-ended questions generally require students to have a greater understanding of the material and make cheating more difficult. Moodle Essay Questions.
- Increase the frequency of short notice (pop) quizzes
By providing short notice (pop) quizzes during the semester, students have less time to coordinate the sharing of answers during quizzes.