Taking exams from anywhere
April 30, 2020
With the move to remote instruction in March, instructors across Queen’s worked quickly to find innovative ways to complete their courses without being able to gather in classrooms. Then after the final day of classes, faculty and staff had to move on to another challenge: holding over 400 exams remotely. To offer exams during this unprecedented situation, instructors at Queen’s utilized several digital platforms and worked hard to address student needs.
“Across the university, faculties, programs, and instructors all experimented with various digital platforms and methods to proctor their exams. Staff and faculty have been doing everything that they can to make sure that students can finish their courses and programs successfully. While the majority of remote exams went smoothly, we very much appreciate the patience our students showed as we worked through this unique situation,” says John Pierce, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning).
Remote exam platforms
Instructors experimented with several platforms for remote exams. One of the more common ones turned to was Examity, which several faculties have used successfully for years. While most remote exams occurred without incident, there were a few instances in which problems occurred. In those cases, instructors worked with the students effected to provide an alternative to allow for a fair evaluation and grade assessment.
“The university continues to review the use of technologies such as Examity for their use now and in the future. Queen’s is dedicated to increasing the support for these essential tools, especially in light of the unprecedented need to enable remote instruction and learning,” says Pierce.
Mitigating student stress
Recognizing the unique stresses that the pandemic has placed on students, Queen’s has moved to mitigate student stress where possible. To this end, the university put in place options to drop courses without penalty before final marks are submitted and also to choose a Pass rather than a letter grade for a final mark, even after students have seen what their grade would be.
“We know these are unique and challenging times, and the university is committed to doing all it can to support our students and their academic success,” says Pierce.
For students who are experiencing high levels of stress, Student Wellness Services (SWS) offers different support options. To stay up to date with all services, visit the SWS website.
The SWS website also includes links to other phone and online mental health services available to students – such as the text support offered by Good2Talk, Therapy Assistance Online (TAO), self-directed help, and 24/7 crisis support options.