Encouraging Academic Integrity During Remote Exams

Some faculty may not be comfortable using Respondus Monitor for proctoring their exams, but there are concrete steps you can take both—both technical and pedagogical—to help deter academic integrity violations.

Pedagogical Practices

  • Research suggests that instances of cheating can be reduced if the student is asked if they will comply with academic honesty policies before taking tests. The CTL offers a 1-question Blackboard test that links to UVM’s Code of Academic Integrity (PDF) and asks if the student agrees to download, read, and abide by it. This test file and instructions to import it into Blackboard are on UVM Knowledge Base.
  • If you write questions that pertain to recent events or the current context, it will be difficult to answer using online tools.
  • If students have to explain their reasoning, logic, process, or analysis, it is more difficult for them to collaborate. Consider pairing a multiple choice question with a short answer question asking them to explain their thinking.
  • Multiple choice questions that encourage analysis and higher order thinking will be more difficult to find online.
  • Allow students to take a test more than once, focusing on mastery rather than performance. If using a large pool of questions (see below), the second attempt will not precisely match the first attempt.

Technical Recommendations and Options:

  • Test Options in Blackboard that encourage academic honesty:
    • Set the test timer with reasonable constraints to encourage preparation and study.
    • Randomize the order of questions for each student.
    • Randomize the order of answers for multiple choice and multiple answer questions.
    • Hold back on releasing scores (or at least right/wrong answers) to students until a time when all students have completed the test.
  • Develop “pools” (or question banks). Textbook publishers sometimes offer test banks that are ready to import into Blackboard. You can also import questions from your own tests (in Word documents) or write new questions directly into a pool. Pools can be used to build “Question Sets” in your tests. Question sets can draw upon both pools and other tests according to parameters you set. This allows Blackboard to randomly generate different tests for each student but with your control over the topics, question types, and levels of difficulty.
  • If you do use questions generated by a publisher, you can edit them by changing a few variables or re-ordering words to reduce the likelihood of finding answers on the internet.

For information about Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor as additional solutions to deter cheating, go to the Exam Decisions and choose, “No, I need to give a traditional exam / Open book is not an option.”