Ohio University


Many assessments can be addressed through Blackboard or email and may need little or no modification. Some formats for assessing student learning include:

  • Proctored exams
  • Open-book exams
  • Research papers
  • Written projects
  • Essays 

NOTE: When considering a possible change to your course, ask yourself if the change has the potential to adversely affect any group of students in your class (e.g., proctoring or internet access, test time frames, etc.). Contact a staff member if you have any questions. 

Online Proctored Examinations

Ohio University offers online proctoring in Blackboard exams only. Students can take a proctored exam on their own device from a location of their choosing at no cost, if their instructor has enabled the feature for their course. To use this service, follow the directions on Help and Resources: Online Proctoring. Students will need to complete an onboarding at least two days prior to taking the test. The Office of Information Technology is happy and ready to help faculty with this should you decide to use this option.

Unproctored Assessment Formats

The following strategies can be applied to an exam to help ensure students maintain academic integrity when course assessments happen outside the classroom.

Open-Book Exam

The open book option allows students to engage with your full exam as you originally intended while incorporating an individual component that reinforces students in practicing academic integrity.

  • Add a section to the exam that requires students to give the course-related sources they used to answer each question, as well as the citation information of any other resources they used.
  • Add a question that asks students to write a short reflection on what they learned from the process of researching the questions.
  • Have students choose one question or problem on the exam that was difficult and explain the process they went through to find the answer and/or to solve it.
  • Ask students to choose the most interesting question or section on the exam and write a short paragraph explaining why they think it was interesting. 
    • A variation on this: Have students choose the question or section of the exam that targets information they feel is most applicable to their future careers and explain why they feel it is valuable for them to know this information.

Alternatives to Multiple-Choice Questions

Consider reducing the number of multiple-choice questions in your assessments in order to add:

  • Short answer questions that have been tailored to information presented in lectures give students a chance to display what they have learned. It also encourages students to maintain academic integrity by tying their responses to what they learned through your class.
  • A metacognition task has students look at errors on a past exam and explain the correct answer to earn a certain number of points determined in advance by the instructor.
  • A transformative reflection. Ask students to write a short reflection about how the course has changed their thinking about the course topic or about a course sub-topic. 
  • Resource recommendations. Have students give a resource recommendation for two scholarly articles, news articles, videos, or other instructional media that they have researched by writing a short explanation of how these pieces could help future students understand the course material.
  • An application task. Have students choose a question from the exam and explain how the knowledge it tests is important when applied to the field.  If the application is something you have not discussed in class, you may want to modify your grading criteria to reflect this.
  • Assign an annotated bibliography. Consider having students choose five to ten key scholarly articles from the course readings and write a short critical summary for each, explaining what the article is about and then giving their assessment of the article’s value to the field.
  • Move to an entirely short-essay exam format. Tailor the questions to your course’s specific content to encourage students to produce their own work and to discourage inappropriate reliance on outside sources. Be sure to let students know the criteria you’ll use to evaluate their responses (e.g., a rubric) before they take the exam.