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Distance Learning Exam and Online Proctoring Policies

The University of North Florida expects its instructors and students to uphold academic integrity standards, whether a course is delivered in a classroom or via distance learning. Instructors are encouraged to review best practices for assessment in online environments while developing distance learning courses and to implement strategies that have been shown to reduce academic misconduct.

A comprehensive approach to academic integrity in distance learning courses includes purposeful course design as well as clearly communicated expectations to deter academic misbehavior. Technical tools can also be implemented to deter and detect academic dishonesty during online exams.

Proctoring Tools

To minimize incidents of academic dishonesty, specific practices for distance learning exams should include the following:

  • authenticating the identity of the test taker
  • preventing unauthorized collaboration with other students, friends, or paid helpers
  • preventing the use of unauthorized materials, such as a textbook, notes, or the internet.

Online proctoring tools can deter and detect these behaviors.

The University of North Florida provides online proctoring services for distance learning courses. These services use record and review tools, artificial intelligence, and live proctor support to identify and address potential testing violations. Instructional Designers in CIRT can consult with instructors to develop the best assessment approach for their course, and if online proctoring will be used, CIRT can help instructors identify the strategy that will best meet their needs.  Online proctoring services are only available for courses coded as Distance Learning on the University course schedule.

University Guidance for Distance Learning Exams and Proctoring

Instructors teaching distance learning courses are expected to follow all University policies when delivering distance learning exams, and the required scheduling and proctoring policies identified here. These policies are intended to protect students and ensure consistent treatment, not to interfere with an instructor’s right and responsibility to determine methods of assessment, including whether an online assessment requires proctoring. In addition to following the required policies, instructors are encouraged to adopt the best practices listed below when designing and implementing Distance Learning exams.

Required Scheduling and Proctoring Practices for Distance Learning Exams

Required Scheduling Practices for Distance Learning Exams

  • Required meeting times for distance learning courses must be published on the University course schedule, including meeting times for synchronous (i.e., all students are expected to take the exam at the same time) exams, whether in person or online.
  • Students must be informed at the beginning of the semester via the course syllabus that those times will be used for exams.
  • All final exams, regardless of course modality, must take place within the Final Exam week identified on the academic calendar. See the Final Exam policy for additional information.
  • Student Accessibility Services requirements for registered students who require accommodation, including extended testing windows, must be provided in the online environment.

Required Proctoring Practices for Distance Learning Exams

  • Requirements for proctored distance learning exams must be clearly stated in the course syllabus, including specific details about technical, environmental, and identity requirements for testing.
  • Identity verification is required for all proctored distance learning exams.
  • If an instructor determines that room scans are required for a proctored distance learning exam, that requirement must apply to all students enrolled in the course.

Colleges and departments may establish additional distance learning exam and proctoring rules specific to their disciplinary requirements.

Best Practices for Scheduling and Designing Distance Learning Exams

Scheduling Exams:

  • Asynchronous exam periods (i.e., students are not expected to all take the exam simultaneously) are preferable in asynchronous distance learning courses to accommodate students in different time zones and to avoid conflicts with other school, work, or family commitments that students may have.
  • Asynchronous exams should be available for a minimum of 24 hours to provide flexibility for accommodating students' schedules and potential technical issues.
  • If an exam is only available synchronously or for a narrow window of time, the instructor should have a backup plan in case of technical issues or student conflicts.

Designing Exams:

  • Instructors can utilize test structure strategies that discourage academic dishonesty, such as:
    • exam time limits
    • randomization of question order
    • variance in question type
    • showing one question at a time
    • test banks that present different question sets so that each student has a unique exam.
  • Instructors are encouraged to use subjective questions (e.g., short answer, essay) that draw on higher-order thinking skills and require students to display a greater depth of knowledge where appropriate, particularly if proctoring tools are not used.
  • Instructors are encouraged to include an academic integrity pledge as part of the exam process.