The vast majority of online assessments will be carried out using tools and software readily available to all UCC staff and students. The platforms most likely to be used for assessment are listed below along with examples of the types of assessment possible on each and links to support resources available to UCC staff.
- Canvas is UCC’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and every module listed in the book of Modules and DMIS is represented on Canvas. You’re probably already familiar with Canvas from posting teaching materials, resources, and announcements for your students. With regard to assessment in CANVAS , you can set up submission areas for assignments (including final essays and projects) and create timed quizzes and exams. The CDE have a number of recorded training sessions available online (click here to see what’s available) and the Canvas Instructor Guides.
- Teams is UCC’s recommended platform for live (online) teaching sessions and virtual meetings but can also be used for assessments such as student presentations or debates. Running these sessions is much the same as for a live meeting or class session and you can learn more from the Teams Cheat-Sheet from IT Services. Please note that Teams is not appropriate for timed or exam-format assessments and is best for assessments that require interaction (e.g. presentations with Q&A or debates). If you're planning to use Teams for assessment, make sure to give yourself and your students a chance to practice before the deadline and also be sure to have a backup plan in case of tech failure on the day.
- Panopto is UCC’s lecture capture platform and you’re probably familiar with using it to record and share recordings with your students. What’s less well-known, though, is that students also have access to Panopto and can make their own recordings (such as presentations, multimedia projects, etc.). Additionally, you can create a folder in Panopto for students to submit recordings made on other platforms. For more information on Canvas, please see the overview of Panopto from AVMS which includes links to more detailed resources.
In addition to the platform-specific resources linked above, staff are encouraged to visit the Teaching with Technology course on Canvas for step-by-step instructions on using Canvas, Teams, and Panopto. If you run into issues, the Teaching with Technology Support Service on Teams is a great starting point. It is monitored by staff from IT Services, the LTU, AVMS, and the CDE as well as having many active participants from across the University who may well have run into (and solved!) whatever problem you’re facing. If you’re unsure where to start or want to discuss ways to design online assessment that best fit your discipline and teaching style, you might want to schedule a consultation with a CDE Instructional Designer.
These are learning points to be taken into consideration by Academic Units when designing time constrained formats of online examination. They are abstracted from the experience of examination appeals that were adjudicated on by the Examination Appeals Committee following the Summer and Autumn College Examination Boards. This note outlines the key learning that
1.There is a vital need for examiners to check examination submissions to Canvas immediately on the end of the examination. This does not mean merely checking that there is a submission but opening the submission to check:
- That the file is not corrupt
- That a complete examination paper has been submitted
- That the declaration form has been submitted (where deemed necessary)
- That (in the case of multiple submissions) that the same page has not been uploaded on multiple occasions
Students should be contacted immediately should any of the above occur
2.There is a need for examiners to check emails and all other modes of communication with students during the examination and immediately following the examination to ensure that if a student is indicating that they are having difficulties uploading that a solution can be found.
It is highly recommended that examiners use a ‘buddy’ system with another member of Academic Unit staff to support the above where there is a large cohort of students.
3.The key times that Academic Units need to bear in mind (in order of importance) are:
i) The time that the examination was completed (examiners should review the timestamp for the last time that the examination was edited). If this time is no later than the submission time of the examination, the Academic Unit should correct the examination even if the examination is not fully uploaded by the scheduled submission time.
ii) The time that the student attempt to upload the examination (examiners should request a screenshot of the Canvas page displaying when the student attempted to upload the examination). If this time is no later than the submission time of the examination, the Academic Unit should correct the examination even if the examination is not fully uploaded by the scheduled submission time.
4.Time Constrained Online Examination Design
The format of time constrained online examinations needs, a priori, to take sufficient account of the readily foreseeable potentiality for specific and acute connectivity issues during a time constrained online examination.
Of particular concern are online examination formats that:
i) Require the uploading of ‘pictures’ via Microsoft Lens.
The size of these files, especially if, candidates, mistakenly or in believing that they have no choice, attempt to upload multiple pages of an examination as opposed to one document. Notable issues are: i) examinations being uploaded incorrectly and; ii) examinations not being uploaded by the submission time.
The points outlined in 1-3 in this note set out what needs to be taken into account when designing such time constrained online examination formats.
ii) Have examination questions that;
1) may only be viewed one at a time for a specific period within the examination;
2) the candidate must answer that question to progress to the next question;
3) it is not possible for candidates to return to previous questions.
This design format a priori falls foul of the distractive influence of connectivity issues and concurrent human error. If this format is deemed the most appropriate and necessary to assess achievement of specific learning outcomes, it is important that:
1) a process for enabling candidates for completing this format of an examination
2) an alternative, equivalent format of assessment is available
for candidates who alert the Academic Unit that they are detrimentally impacted by connectivity issues during the examination period that is outside of their control and cannot be resolved with immediacy during the examination period.
5.Prior to the examination students should be advised to:
i) Save a local copy of their examination paper
ii) Save their examination papers on a regular basis during the examination (or ideally use the autosave function).
iii) Take screenshots of when they commence uploading their examination paper to Canvas.
iv) Take screenshots of the time that Canvas indicate that their examination paper has been uploaded.
v) Not to open or alter in any way the local copy of the examination paper following the final deadline for the submission of their examination.
vi) Ensure that they have the relevant contact details of the module examiner.
vii) Ensure that they contact the module examiner immediately when they note a problem with connectivity, uploading their examination paper etc – They are not to wait.
Supporting DSS Students
Reasonable Accommodations are crucial for students with a disability/learning difficulty in any education environment. All students registered with the Disability Support Service will attend a Needs Assessment with a Disability Advisor, this identify the supports students will need during their studies in UCC. Exam Accommodations are identified for many students but not for all students.
Detail of students registered with Disability Support Service as well as their reasonable accommodations can be accessed on DMIS. Guide to viewing DSS student information on DMIS
Report #1 will provide a list of students registered with the DSS in a module. Not all students registered with the DSS avail of exam accommodations so it is it is important to look at the detail in Report #2 or #3 to see the detail of the reasonable accommodations as well as the Disability Advisor who supports the student.
- Report #1- DSS Registrations (pg 15)
- Report #2 - DSS Advisor & Exam Info – By Module (pg 16 & 17)
- Report #3 - DSS Advisor & Exam Info – By Qualification (pg 18)
Students can register with the DSS at any point during the academic year or at any point during their studies in UCC so class lists must be run in advance of all exams to ensure that the detail is up to date and exam accommodations identified for a student are put in place.
Accessibility of Online Assessment in Canvas
Ensuring that the assessment content is accessible is critical for all students that need to use text to speech software/screen reader. We recommend that students use either of the following depending on the format of the exam
- Immersive Reader - built into Microsoft (What is Immersive Reader)
- Claroread - students are provided with a home license by the DSS (Claro Software)
Additional resources for creating accessible assessments:
The public health measures required to help keep us safe during the current pandemic means that students have been taking examinations on-line. The use of our virtual learning environment, Canvas, for both learning and for taking examinations is by now familiar. Using this platform for taking examinations has been successful and will continue.
For a small number of examinations in two Schools a further tool will be used in some examinations to provide invigilation online. The two Schools are the School of Mathematical Sciences and the School of Medicine. The intention is that the use of online invigilation will help meet the requirements for programmes or modules aligned with accrediting bodies.
Only some students in those two schools, those taking examinations aligned with specific accredited programmes, will be using this additional tool. If you are one of those students, your School will have already communicated directly with you. If you are a student in either of these two Schools and you have not had a communication on this issue, your examination will proceed without online invigilation.
What do you need to do now?
If you are not a student of either of these Schools, then online invigilation will not apply to you and there are no further steps for you to take.