4 factors to prepare for remote assessments (Teaching Tip)

So much of the spring semester 2020 is different. As you prepare for your final exams, consider the following factors, and consult the CELT Remote Assessments page for more information.

1. Determine the acceptable evidence of learning

  • Your learning goals are an excellent place to start when considering alternative assessments. Consider:
  • What can I do to promote student learning while we all are coping with COVID-19?
  • What do I hope students will be able to do by the end of my course?
  • What ways can they demonstrate what they know?
  • How can I make it more meaningful/authentic?
  • How can I incorporate knowledge creation?
  • How can I leverage the online context?

2. Consider the impact of proctored exams at this time

Traditional timed, proctored exams are possible using the tools available in Canvas along with remote proctoring tools (e.g., Lockdown Browser with Respondus Monitor) or proctor it yourself with Webex. However, proctored remote exams have several drawbacks, including increased stress and setup challenges (Woldeab & Brothen, 2019). Consider Canvas exams (quizzes), open-book exams, or the other assessment strategies (listed below) that are relatively easy to grade.

3. Choose the suitable remote assessment method

Changing a course from face-to-face to online teaching poses particular challenges. Go to the CELT Remote Assessments page and review the following options as alternatives to proctored assessments:

  • Annotated anthology or bibliography
  • e-Portfolio
  • Fact sheet
  • Group project
  • Non-traditional paper (essay)
  • Open Book or “Take-home” Exam
  • Peer- and self-review activity
  • Professional presentation or demonstration
  • Series of quizzes
  • Student-developed quiz question

4. Finally, be sure to communicate clearly your expectations to students!

Provide an announcement that contains information about the exam and ensure that students contact you with any questions. Use the guiding questions on the CELT Remote Assessments page to help outline your communication with them, clarify essential details, along with promoting academic integrity.

With a joy for teaching,

Sara Marcketti, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching


  • Woldeab, D., & Brothen, T. (2019). 21st Century Assessment: Online Proctoring, Test Anxiety, and Student Performance. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 34(1), 1-10.
  • Information adapted from Rutger’s University Remote Exams and Assessments website.

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: 4 factors to prepare for remote assessments (April 21, 2020 – Constant Contact) website.

Prefer a Print version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for April 21, 2020 (PDF).