Academic Integrity Strategies 

Alternatives to Proctoring

Academic integrity and rigor are important to instructors regardless of how their course is being taught. Assessments, whether in an on-ground course or online, are important tools that help instructors and students understand how content is being mastered and where there may still be gaps in understanding. While proctoring online assessments is often a go-to strategy to maintain rigor and cut back on cheating, a proctored exam is not always the best way for students to demonstrate their knowledge (Sullivan, 2016) nor is proctoring always beneficial to student success (Daffin & Jones, 2018; Muller et al., 2019). There are a variety of ways instructors can use quality assessment design and evaluation to encourage student honesty and maintain an appropriate level of challenge. Please consider the options below: 

Assessment Techniques

  • Randomized Questions - Create assessments that will distribute a unique set of questions to individual learners.  Doing so can help reduce instances of cheating. eCourseware offers two ways to create randomized questions. Adding a Random Question Pool to a quiz adds a subset of questions from a larger question pool resulting in a different version of the quiz for each student. Question pools can be drawn from a Question Library and/or from questions that are in other quizzes within the course. 

 Tutorial: Create a New Quiz with A Randomized Set of Questions

Video Tutorial: Overview of Canvas Quizzes

Suggested Quiz settings

  • Setting completion time reduces a student’s ability to access the test, look up the answers, or re-enter a test. 
  • Require forced completion on exams so students cannot re-enter a test.

What makes a good quiz or test?

  • When applicable with course objectives, incorporate at least one higher order thinking question or prompt that asks students to synthesize, create, evaluate, or apply concepts and skills. Even if students do use their resources to help answer this type of question, it is very unlikely a textbook, classmate, or Google search would provide the unique answer a well-designed higher order written-response prompt requires.
  • Use a variety of assessment strategies (e.g. quizzes, short and long papers, video presentation submissions, test questions that require the application of theory or concept, written short answer responses where students relate key concepts to real-life, personal experiences).
  • Emphasize assignments that require written work and problem solving (e.g. essays, papers, online discussions).

Evaluation Techniques

  • Use rubrics that detail grading criteria for every written assignment at the beginning of the course. Not only will students understand how their work will be evaluated, rubrics make the grading process easier. To learn more about using rubrics in Canvas, view Rubrics- Overview.
  • Utilize the TurnItIn integration within Canvas, by enabling the setting within the assignment tool. Turnitin is an originality checking system that compares submitted papers to a database of articles, journal, submitted papers, and other web sources. TurnItIn will provide Originality Reports for the student file submissions which highlight key areas, show a breakdown of matching sources, and provide direct links to the matching content.To learn more about using and configuring TurnItIn, view umTech's TurnItIn page
  • Evaluate the research process and the product by requiring students to explain their investigation system, course of study, established facts, and conclusions as well as their rationale for the use of specific materials and/or resources. 
  • Look for whether a written paper reflects the assignment, has changes in tense, includes odd sentences within a well-written paper, is based on references older than three years, refers to past events as current, or uses jargon. 
  • Compare the writing style and expressions in written assignments to the student's posts in discussion boards, blogs, text, or email correspondence. 
  • Ask for a writing sample at the beginning of the semester as a non-graded assignment and compare it to written papers submitted in the middle and at the end of the term. 
  • Make assignments cumulative where students turn in parts of a project or paper at different times throughout the semester. 

Contact UM3D at um3d@memphis.edu to schedule a virtual one-on-one consultation on best practices. 


Check out these resources for more information on creating quality assessments without proctoring:

  • But What If They Cheat? Giving Non-Proctored Online Assessments (December 8, 2017). Retrieved from: FacultyFocus.com
  • Guidelines to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Classes - This document provides general guidelines to prevent and curb cheating in online learning environments, including strategies to thwart cheating on written work and high-stake assessments.
  • For many courses of varying format and size, across many disciplines, reasonable alternatives to traditional tests (i.e., paper-based T/F or Multiple Choice) exist. In fact, oftentimes the alternatives may even be advantageous to promote student learning and be more authentic means of students demonstrating what they have learned at the higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy (synthesis, analysis, evaluation). To learn more, review Alternatives to Traditional Testing powered by UC Berkeley—Center for Teaching & Learning
  • Thwarting online exam cheating without proctor supervision -  This manuscript examines the control issues related to online exams and asserts that the total cost of proctors for online exams (time and money of both students and the institution) exceed potential benefits. Cluskey, G.R., Ehlen, C., Raiborn, M.H. (YYYY). Thwarting online exam cheating without proctor supervision. Journal of Academic and Business Ethics. Pages 1-8.  
  • For information on proctoring via Zoom communication and calls, review this guide from the Fox Business School at Temple.

Pedagogical References:

  • Daffin, Jr., L.W., & Jones, A.A. (2018). Comparing student performance on proctored and non proctored exams in online psychology courses. Online Learning, 22(1), 131-145. doi:10.24059/olj.v22i1.1079
  • Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education. Instructional Technology Council. (June 2009, version 2.0). Link to electronic resource
  • Muller, K., Gradel, K., Deane, S., Forte, M., McCabe, R., Pickett, A. M., Piorkowski, R., Scalzo, K., & Sullivan, R. (2019, October). Assessing student learning in the online modality (Occasional Paper No. 40). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA). Link to electronic resource pages 10-12.
  • Sullivan, D. (2016). An Integrated Approach to Preempt Cheating on Asynchronous, Objective, Online Assessments in Graduate Business Classes. Online Learning, 20(3), 195 - 209. Link to electronic resources.