Brown DLD Faculty Guides


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As a practical matter, online proctoring systems can only make cheating more difficult. They cannot eliminate it. Furthermore, online proctoring may significantly degrade the student learning experience by increasing test anxiety, exacerbating disparities in technology access, and violating student privacy by requiring recording (likely in their home).

Alternatives to proctoring:

  • Create questions that target higher order thinking or require novel responses, such as providing examples of concepts. Students won't be able to easily look up the answers online.
  • Use more formative assessments, such as lower-stakes quizzes, and less heavily weighted summative assessments which can incentivize cheating due to the high value of the exam.
  • Vary the question type—for example, by using some multiple choice and some short answers, allowing students to demonstrate knowledge in multiple ways and requiring more novel responses.
  • Appeal to students’ sense of integrity: Remind them of the Academic Code of Conduct to which they are bound—and let them know you’re well aware of how students might cheat.
  • Have students provide a rationale for their answer: if a test includes a question or problem whose answer or solution could be found online or shared, have them explain their answer.
  • Use online testing settings in Canvas or Gradescope to limit the test availability, set a maximum time, randomize questions and answers, randomly draw from larger question banks, show one question at a time, lock questions after answering, etc.

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