Fall 2020 In-Person and Online Exam Updates

The Academic Continuity Working Group’s Classroom Scheduling subcommittee has worked collaboratively across campus to identify options to help support faculty plans for examinations and assessments Fall semester. The committee acknowledges that many courses will be taught using different formats from previous semesters, which might affect examinations. The following summarizes information regarding Fall semester exam options, including existing and new resources that will be available. 

Online Exams

Online exams could be taken in the ISU Testing Center, in traditional classrooms, in auxiliary exam space, or remotely in spaces selected by students. CELT has developed several resources to guide instructors in the development of online exams for each of these environments. See the CELT Instructional Strategies page, then review the recommendations for Achieving Academic Integrity.

Online Proctoring 

Online proctoring has challenges that require instructors to carefully consider whether the benefits outweigh the limitations. Available tools rely on the use of a webcam and microphone and include the following: Respondus MonitorWebex, and Zoom. Instructors considering the use of online proctoring tools should carefully review the links provided.

Auxiliary Exam Space

A system for instructors to reserve space to give physical exams is in development. It is intended that this will be used for courses that are otherwise online or scheduled in classrooms in which not all students can attend on the same day. Information on how to reserve such spaces will be provided by the end of July and will be posted on the Academic Programs website. Exam spaces will be available during days and evenings both on central campus and at the athletic complex. Special transportation to/from the athletic complex is being considered. Instructors will be responsible for proctoring their students in these auxiliary spaces.

Night Examinations

Night examinations provide a common exam period for a multi-section course. The courses which were previously approved for these exams can continue as before. The Registrar has contacted these instructors to update the schedule since the semester calendar changed. No additional requests are being accepted via this system; instructors with additional requests are asked to use the Auxiliary Exam Space system described above.

Testing Center

The ISU Testing Center provides a place for proctored computer-based exams. Due to reduced capacity in order to follow university health and safety protocols, the Testing Center will only be able to support a portion of the courses they have previously supported, and they cannot accept new courses. To maximize capacity, a number of changes will be implemented for Fall 2020 such as: limits on exam length, the number of retakes, limitation on how many exams per course, and the need for students to schedule time slots. No paper exams will be proctored by the Testing Center. The Testing Center will provide additional details to the instructors of courses that have previously used the facility.

Exam Accommodations

The Exam Accommodation Center (EAC) proctors exams for students who need accommodations during exams as determined by the Student Accessibility Office. Instructors are encouraged, as before, to provide accommodations in their local spaces, as the EAC has a limited capacity. Note that the hours available in the EAC may be limited, so faculty might need to be flexible on timing.

Exams if Students are in Self-Isolation or Quarantine

Students in self-isolation (due to testing positive) or in quarantine (due to significant exposure) will not be able to take exams in person, similar to other medical conditions in previous semesters. These students will be asked to notify their instructors of their situation. The Dean of Students will follow their normal communication protocols and would notify faculty only if a student is unable to contact the instructor due to their medical situation. While faculty have the ability to ask for documentation when students are absent, it is important to acknowledge many students in this situation may not be able to produce documentation. Students in self-isolation may or may not feel well enough to take the exam at or near the same time as the in-class exam is being given; online proctoring may be an option for these situations. Faculty are asked to be flexible and be guided by the Faculty Handbook discussion of excusable absences (Section 10.4.3) as they work with students who are unable to take an exam due to illness or quarantine.

Final Exams

Final exams for Fall 2020 are scheduled for the Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday immediately preceding Thanksgiving (November 21, 23-25). Each semester a final exam schedule is determined based on face-to-face class meeting schedules, and established to minimize students having multiple exams on a given day.

For courses that meet face-to-face, the final exam date and time will be determined by the final exam schedule. If a course meets in a classroom that cannot hold all of the enrolled students at the same time because of physical distancing, the instructor should request additional space through the Auxiliary Exam Space system for in-person exams.

For courses that have been changed from face-to-face to online, the date and time the course was originally scheduled to meet will still be used to determine the final exam date and time via the final exam schedule. If physical space is desired for exams in an otherwise online course it should be requested through the Auxiliary Exam Space system.