In the past week, I’ve sent a number of messages related to the implementation of final exams, including how to use online proctoring tools and incorporating an “honesty pledge” to allay the potential for cheating.
Some of you have expressed concerns about the use of online proctoring for a variety of reasons: equity, connectivity, usability, robustness, intellectual property rights, and the Orwellian nature of these tools which may signal that we do not trust our students. Moreover, some courses are simply less conducive to online examination/proctoring than others. At the same time, many students are equally reticent to navigate these uncharted waters, and this can be anxiety-inducing at a time when we should be trying to alleviate stress as much as possible.
All this to say, if you (and your students) are not comfortable with using these sorts of online tools, please feel free to explore alterative forms of assessment – online Canvas quizzes, essays and projects, open-book exams, and so on. We encourage you to use your imagination and share ideas with your peers – anything is fine so long as you are able to fairly assess the degree to which students have met the learning objectives of your course.
The honesty pledge that I sent last week was based on one that is used in the Faculty of Science. Please feel free to use it or not, and/or to modify it in any way. Some of you may find the language of this pledge a little heavy-handed, so I would offer up a more Forestry-friendly version penned by Patrick Culbert for your consideration (used for an open-book exam):
We are taking this exam under unusual (awful) circumstances. We’re all in this together. It is important that this exam is fair to all students, and that no student has an unfair advantage.
With that in mind, please affirm the following:
I affirm that I will neither give assistance to, nor receive assistance from, another student during this exam.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.