Remote Exam Guidance
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 exams at USC.
Our recommendations are outlined below. Each recommendation meets 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. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Inclusive Online Teaching Policy Questions
Yes. All class sessions must be recorded, with audio transcripts, whether you use Zoom or another platform. Zoom is already set to transcribe video recordings. If you wish to check your settings, here is a CET Document that shows you how to do that.
During the COVID-19 mitigation efforts around the country, faculty and students have been displaced, and some do not have access to the typical support structures they need to teach or take their courses. With the “Stay Home” restrictions, many of us are facing new challenges that make it difficult for everyone to be present at the same time for a live (synchronous) class. These challenges include: caregiving responsibilities, unstable or inaccessible internet connections, time zone differences, and unfortunately illness. Equally important is our commitment to providing an equitable learning experience for our students who need accommodations.
There are two things we all can and must do to address this:
- Record all lectures/class sessions, with audio transcripts, and make the recordings and transcripts available to students asynchronously (at any time outside of class time).
- Make all course materials, including those used during lectures and class sessions (such as faculty notes or slides), available to students asynchronously.
Links to all lecture/class session recordings and transcripts should be made available to all students in your course. There will be students who need asynchronous access to your course who are too uncomfortable, or may not be able to tell you that they need access to a recording due to illness or internet access challenges. USC’s priority is to provide high quality, inclusive instruction, within a stable and predictable structure. This is especially important during these unpredictable times. Every student should have access to all learning options at all times.
There are students and faculty who have connectivity challenges in their homes, which makes video conferencing, or even watching a video online, a challenge. Providing the course materials in more than one way, accessible at any time, helps alleviate these challenges.
Faculty control access to the links of their class recordings and transcripts in Zoom, which is the platform centrally supported by USC. If your school uses a different platform, please consult your school’s IT department for answers.
In Zoom, once recordings and transcripts are processed and available, faculty must manually make recording and transcript files available to all of their students. Once you have done this, please communicate with your students about where to find and how to view the recordings. Here is a CET document that shows you how to do this.
Students will have access to three files for each class: A video recording, an audio recording, and a written transcript.
In Zoom, recording and transcript files are automatically removed after one year. Zoom allows you to delete them at any time; however, you should keep them throughout your course so that students can access them at any time.
If you also wish to keep your recorded lectures or class sessions in your personal archive, you can download them to your computer. Here is a CET document that shows you how to do this.
Faculty can delete their recording and transcript files after their course is over and final grades have been submitted. Here is a CET document that shows you how to do this.
What if I want to share my unpublished scholarly work with my class? How can I ensure that it remains private if the class recording is shared with students?
USC will notify students through Blackboard that they may not share class recordings or transcripts outside of their classes. Faculty should remind them of their ethical responsibility as emerging professionals to keep this information private.
However, if you are concerned about protecting any unpublished scholarship, out of an abundance of caution, you may decide not to include that information in your recorded classes during the remote teaching period. You may also wish to consult with colleagues who teach online about how they typically manage this concern.
What if my students share personal information in class? How will that information be kept private if the class recording is shared with students?
Students are notified in advance that classes are being recorded and are given the option of muting their own audio/video. Students will also be instructed through Blackboard that the recordings may not be shared with anyone outside the class. Faculty should remind students that the class is being recorded and the options available to them, as well as of their ethical responsibility as emerging professionals to keep personal information shared in class private.
There is a Zoom function that allows faculty to trim the beginning and end of the recording in case private conversations with students after class are picked up on video. Please reach out to ITS (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information on this.
The purpose of asking all faculty to record their classes is to ensure that all of our students have access to our lectures and class discussions—and not to evaluate our faculty. If you normally teach your course on ground, and are teaching online due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, the university will not be accessing your recordings to evaluate your teaching.
However, if you typically teach online, and review of recorded class sessions is part of the normal peer evaluation process in your school, that process is not changed by this policy. Faculty who teach in online programs during normal operations should consult their schools about how video recordings of those classes are used in faculty development or evaluation.
What if I have students with disabilities in my class? How can I support them during online learning?
We have asked students to work with their instructors if they require any special technical accommodations or support, and we are fully committed to supporting all of our students’ diverse needs. If you have students with accommodations provided by DSP (Disability Services and Programs), they are still relevant when a course is delivered online. However, it might not be easy to translate the accommodation from the classroom setting to the online setting. Please contact DSP (email@example.com) directly with any questions about applying student accommodations to online courses.
The USC Libraries offer extensive resources and expertise that support online teaching, research, and learning – even if the physical buildings remain closed for now.
Subscription journals and databases, digital collections, remote research help, and many other library services and programs remain available. The libraries also make available several streaming services, including music and film collections.
Faculty may schedule information literacy and other library instruction for their classes, and subject specialists can help students with research projects and other coursework via Zoom.
The most current information on USC Libraries’ services, collections, and programs is available at libraries.usc.edu/coronavirus. Students and faculty with questions about library resources can contact the libraries remotely through email and chat services.
Please view the latest updates from USC's Office of Research.
Zoombombing is a new form of trolling where a participant uses Zoom’s screensharing feature to interrupt and disrupt meetings and classes. Please view resources to prevent Zoombombing during your classes.
Should Zoombombing occur during your class, please alert your Dean of Faculty. Students, staff, and faculty who are impacted by protected class (like race, sex, gender, religion or national origin) misconduct during Zoom sessions should be referred to firstname.lastname@example.org (students) or email@example.com (staff and faculty) for supportive resources and reporting options.
Yes, please view additional guidance from USC ITS to ensure a safe, protected and inclusive online learning environment.
Students: Please view academic FAQs for students.