In the face of COVID-19 campus closures, professors are finding innovative ways to adapt to remote teaching and learning environments. A key challenge, however, is how to deliver exams and other assessments remotely. To support educators and students in completing the semester, Top Hat offers two types of remote summative assessments: open-book tests and remotely proctored exams. Keep reading to determine which is best for you and your students.

Remote Open-Book Exams

Many instructors are looking at different options beyond the traditional summative assessment. While far from a panacea, open-book exams offer much-needed flexibility at a time when so much of faculty and student life has been upended. 

A well-constructed assessment provides interesting opportunities to test more than rote memorization. According to the Center for Teaching at Learning at UC Berkeley, open-book exams are particularly effective when it comes to incorporating questions that focus students on using synthesis, analysis and evaluation to assess what they know. The ability to include digital reference materials like images, video and audio clips also allows for more freedom and creativity in constructing an exam than ever before. 

Pages is a functionality within Top Hat that allows you to develop interactive digital documents with pictures and videos embedded alongside your test questions. Creating an open-book test with Pages provides a  significant amount of flexibility when it comes to creating assessments for an online environment. For example, the use of multimedia and other reference content allows students to discuss an argument from a source given to them within the assessment or analyze a diagram and its findings.

Through Pages, you also have access to a variety of easy-to-use question types. This includes matching, sorting, fill-in-the-blank, long-form answer and click-on-target (with multiple targets) questions. The sequence of the questions on your test can also be randomized so that each student will view the questions in a different order. You can also assign items with specific due dates to keep students on task while also tracking their progress remotely. 

Proctored Tests and Exams

In many cases, open-book assessments are simply not an option. In response to the need to deliver traditional summative assessments remotely, Top Hat is now offering secure proctored tests and exams students can take on their own computers, at a pre-set time and from any location. By ensuring the integrity of remote tests and final exams, students are able to receive the same high-quality assessment experience delivered in a secure, remote environment.

Professors can easily run an exam with a specific start and end time and can prevent academic integrity issues by verifying students’ identity online to ensure that the right students are taking the test. The data collected is converted into an easy-to-understand proctor report that flags potentially concerning student behavior. 

Using a variety of question types—multiple choice, word answer, fill in the blank, matching and long answer—instructors can provide students with an assessment that tests their knowledge as well their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Student performance is automatically graded upon submission, making the turnaround time for student feedback much faster than manual grading. 

End of semester exams have always been a stressful time for students and faculty. Campus closures and the rapid shift to remote assessments have only added to the burden. Top Hat is the only solution that brings active learning to virtual, blended and in-person classrooms, and maintains course quality and engagement, wherever your students are We are also providing a number of digital and in-person support resources to make the transition as seamless as possible. 

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