4/29: Spring 2020 Exams

To: All Faculty

Elizabeth A. Graddy, Executive Vice Provost
Douglas Shook, Chief Information Officer

Date: April 29, 2020

Subject: Exams

With exams right around the corner, we wanted to let you know about the tools that are available for your testing needs. Information Technology Services (ITS) performed an extensive analysis of our remote testing applications. This review process included a comparison of tools used to administer or proctor an exam, as well as solutions that ensure the overall integrity of final exams at USC.

Our recommendations are outlined below, each meeting different needs and requirements.

Open-Book Exams with Blackboard Turnitin

  • This option is best suited for term papers, essay exams, research assignments and/or any other written product.
  • Final work products can be submitted via Blackboard Turnitin, with Dropbox as an option if desired.
  • Turnitin will check for potentially unoriginal content by comparing submitted papers to several databases using a proprietary algorithm.
  • Instructions for creating and grading Turnitin assessments are found here.

Administer or Proctor Exams with Zoom

  • Zoom allows an instructor (or proctor) to monitor students while they are taking an exam. 
  • The Zoom session should be recorded in the event that follow-up is required.
  • Here are instructions for administering or proctoring an exam in Zoom.

Administer or Proctor Exams with Blackboard

  • Blackboard used with Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor locks down a student’s computer and works with a student’s webcam and advanced video analytics to monitor test taking behavior and flag anomalies during an exam.
  • Instructors can view video footage that is flagged (i.e. suspect behavior is detected) after the test, as needed.
  • To enable this tool, an instructor must activate the test in Blackboard and require that Respondus be used for the test.
  • Students need to download and install the Respondus Lockdown Browser to take the test.

Alternative Exam Format

  • An alternative examination format will be provided for students who face obstacles participating in a scheduled exam.
  • Students must notify the instructor in advance if they will require an alternative exam format.

We encourage you to review these options and the training available for each solution above.

While remote testing is a first for USC, our top priority is to support you and help you to deliver an effective online learning and testing environment. Please let us know how the team in ITS can help make this transition smoother. Click here to let us know how we can support you as we face these challenges together.

Stay safe and healthy. Fight On!