Before the exam

Last changed: 28 June 2021

Start by identifying what kind of exam you have today.

The most common forms of exams are written (on site) and oral (presentation individually or in a group) or some form of practical exercise. In the options below you find out more about how you can "transform" your exam into an online format.

A. If you have a written exam that will be transformed into one of the following:

Written exam on Canvas (student paper, short essay)

  • Write clear instructions for submission in the instructions prior to the actual exam. Give a specific example on how to name the document (“anonymous code_name of the assignment_date”). Specify what kind of format (Word, pdf etc.).
  • Consider the wording used in the instructions. Keep in mind that questions asking for facts may need to be reframed into more comprehensive and explanatory reasoning since the student has access to course literature at the time of the examination.
  • The time for the exam needs to be adjusted depending on how extensive the exam is. The time allowed for students to complete a written examination at home can range from a few hours up to a week.
  • Remember that anonymous submissions are preferred because of legal rights of the individual. Therefore, you can strengthen and follow up the written assignment with an oral examination via zoom (a seminar, a presentation, a dialogue with the student individually or in a small group).

Oral examination online via Zoom (with recording due to the legal rights of the individual)

  • Inform the student about how the examination will be conducted (individually or in groups, time, scope of the examination).
  • If you have a group exam, it may be appropriate to record it in zoom. If you do so, you need to inform your students in advance.
  • Remind the student to test the technique and to be in good time for the exam to have time to check internet connection and tools.
  • Prepare all documents that the students might need during the exam, and upload the on Canvas.

B. If you have an oral examination that will be transformed to one of the following:

Written examination on Canvas (student paper, short essay)

  • Write clear instructions for submission in the instructions prior to the actual exam. Give a specific example on how to name the document (“anonymous code_name of the assignment_date”). Specify what kind of format (Word, pdf etc.).
  • Consider the wording used in the instructions. Keep in mind that questions asking for facts may need to be reframed into more comprehensive and explanatory reasoning since the student has access to course literature at the time of the examination.
  • The time for the examination needs to be adjusted depending on how extensive the exam is. The time allowed for students to complete a written examination at home can range from a few hours up to a week.
  • Remember that anonymous submissions are preferred because of legal rights of the individual. Therefore, you can strengthen and follow up the written assignment with an oral examination via zoom (a seminar, a presentation, a dialogue with the student individually or in a small group).

Oral examination online via Zoom (with recording due to the legal rights of the individual)

  • Inform the student about how the examination will be conducted (individually or in groups, time, scope of the examination).
  • If you have a group exam, it may be appropriate to record it in zoom. If you do so, you need to inform your students in advance.
  • Remind the student to test the technique and to be in good time for the exam to have time to check internet connection and tools.
  • Prepare all documents that the students might need during the exam, and upload the on Canvas.

C. If you have an assessment of practical knowledge that will be transformed into one of the following:

Home assessment

The assessment of practical knowledge differs from an oral examination in that the focus is on the practical execution of a task. Showing and producing practical knowledge online requires extra flexibility from everyone involved. You might adapt some parts, or the entire examination to an online format. If necessary, you might need to postpone some parts of the examination, or even postpone the entire examination.

  • In preparation for this kind of examination online, consider whether certain parts of the examination can take place at home and be recorded via a mobile phone or any other device. For example, could some instruments that the student should be able to handle be replaced by some other prop? Could they record how they conduct a specific assignment?
  • Would it be possible for the student to use his / her local outdoor environment to show the specific knowledge that is required to pass the exam?
  • Are there any kind of simulations available?
  • Finally, consider how the student will document practical knowledge for the examiner, and also the ethical consideration you need to into account if the examination is recorded. 

Other things to consider

  • No matter what the format of the examination is, it is important to take into account that instructions on assessment (grading matrices, assessment templates, etc.) must be clarified and communicated to the students in advance. It is especially important to take a look at the learning objectives with the students, and give specific examples of what you mean by framings such as “describe”, “explain”, “report” etc.
  • Reflect upon what you expect for the student to show and produce in order to fulfill the learning objectives. How can you convey this clearly?
  • Inform the student when they will receive feedback when assessment is done, when the grading is reported, finally if and when supplementary examination is possible.
  • If there are students with special needs (dyslexia etc), inform them in good time about opportunities for extended submission and other practical aspects of the examination.
Page editor: ld-webb@slu.se