Getting Ahead of Respondus Issues

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Student working on a computer

Final exams begin on May 7. If you plan to use Respondus Monitor as an online proctoring solution with eLC and ALEKS testing platforms, here are some tips based on feedback from UGA students and faculty. We hope these suggestions will help you build and deliver virtually proctored exams for your classes and improve the experience for you and your students.

    1. Clearly communicate your testing format. As with written exams, it helps students prepare for online test-taking if you share details about formatting prior to the exam. Will the test be multiple choice or long-form Q&A, how much time will a student have to take the exam, what content will the exam focus on? Knowing these details beforehand helps students focus on what is important – performing well on the exam.
      • Unlike written exams, you may build your online test so that students are unable to return to a previous question once they have completed it and moved forward. Click the “Paging” box below ONLY if you do not want students to be able to go back and check their work. Otherwise, leave it unchecked. If you have good pedagogical reasons to choose this option, let students know in advance that they will not be able to return to a previous question and let them know why you have selected this option.

Respondus screen shot

    • Best practice is to give students all this information as early as possible so they can approach the test in an informed way and will know what to expect. 
  1. Prepare students for the mechanics of taking the exam. Some students are reporting issues when attempting to access their online test, making it difficult for them to proceed in a timely fashion. To help them navigate these situations, provide clear information on what they should do if they have trouble accessing the test. Also, let them know that they must close all other programs before they open Respondus; otherwise, they run the risk of having their computer reboot. Tell them when and how they should contact you if they run into a problem. You may also want to remind them they can contact EITS at 706-542-3106 for assistance.
  2. Consider alternative options for technical mishaps. There are times when students may experience a technical hiccup that can impact the time available to take a test. To minimize this disruption, consider implementing some or all of the following:
    • Create a simple test quiz, administer it to students prior to the final exam, and ask them to share information about any issues they faced. This allows students to test their equipment and for you to adjust if there is a problem with the way the test has been set up.  
    • Consider allowing students to take the exam over a stretch of time, so that if they have trouble getting started, they will still be able to start and finish the test without losing any time. For example, you might allow students to start a timed, two-hour final exam at any time within their final exam slot. That way, if a student experiences a mishap, they will still have adequate time to complete the exam once they have navigated any problem.
    • Create a question pool in eLC to provide a unique but consistent testing experience for different students.

Remember that student stress is already high for final exams, and our current context means that stress levels are even higher. Rather than trying to give students a final exam that pushes them to complete things quickly, it is a better strategy to aim for a test that will allow students to pace themselves and move calmly from question to question.

If you want to avoid giving a proctored online final exam altogether, there are a number of other ways to assess students’ mastery of course learning outcomes. Essays, papers, oral presentations, and portfolios are all effective assessment methods. You can view a full list of proctored exam alternatives on this page or reach out to the Center for Teaching and Learning for additional suggestions and help.