As you think through your options for end-of-term assessment, we would encourage you to engage thoughtfully with the question of “grading in a pandemic”: What was your understanding of academic rigor in teaching and learning prior to this moment? How does that understanding hold up, and what is most important for assessment, in the face of a global health emergency?
Institutions and individual faculty across the country and the globe are adopting a variety of approaches to end-of-term assessment, including open-book exams, pass/fail opportunities, and extended availability of timed exams.
As you plan, we’d encourage you to begin by reviewing the How to Handle Final Exams document, from Liz Markovitz of the Teaching and Learning Initiative and Tiffany Espinosa from Professional and Graduate Education. They have laid out some ways to make sense of your possible approaches to assessment during this unprecedented time.
Varying student learning conditions under current circumstances mean that in the majority of cases, a timed exam or assessment is less equitable than an untimed one. In Moodle, the Assignment tool is a powerful way to create assessments, especially open-book, untimed assessments. It functions as a type of “dropbox,” into which students can submit a written document or some other evidence of their work.
Consider distributing your final assessment to students in the form of a Word document or Google doc, into which they can insert their answers. They can submit a fresh copy with their responses to you via the Assignment tool.
The Moodle Assignment activity can have a due date, and can be made available to students at a specific date and time, but it cannot be limited to a length of time measured from when the student opens their exam. Give your students a reasonable amount of time to open and attempt the assignment; don’t assume that they’ll all be able to do it immediately.
If a timed assessment is crucial to your pedagogy, please consider asking your students to time themselves and make use of our honor system, rather than using technology to set deadlines.
While timed assessments are likely to be less equitable under our current learning conditions, you can use the Moodle Quiz tool to create them. You can set the dates the quiz will be available, the amount of time a student has to complete it, and the number of attempts they are able to make. You can also extend the timing for individual users, to ensure that learners with documented accommodations are well-served.
While Moodle calls this type of timed assessment a Quiz, please note that you can use this tool fairly flexibly, to create an assessment made up of a series of questions. Questions can be delivered in a wide variety of formats, ranging from true/false, to drag-and-drop, to essay; a full list is available here.
Moodle Quizzes are made up of two components - a bank of questions and a specific quiz instance. Once you create questions within a Quiz, you can have them present in different orders for different students, or create a large bank and have a subset of questions appear. For questions with a straightforwardly “correct” answer (such as multiple choice or short answer questions), Moodle will require you to identify which answer is correct, enter a point value for that correct answer, and even include feedback for your students to view if you desire.
If you’re new to Quizzes, we find these two videos from Wisconsin Lutheran College cover the essential highlights. They also use the same theme in Moodle that we do, making it easier to find the tools in question:
Moodle needs your guidance regarding quiz timing, and will default to an untimed state unless you elect specific options. If you are unsure of what you can and cannot do with regard to timed assessments, please start by reviewing the official Moodle documentation on quiz timing. The MHC Moodle Help team is also happy to take your questions on Quizzes at email@example.com.
Be aware that all timed assessments offered through our learning management system are unproctored. The College does not provide support for remote proctoring at this time. If you find that self-proctoring a timed assessment is essential to your course, you could potentially ask students to take a Moodle Quiz while on a Zoom call, but it won’t be possible to monitor their screens or work areas while they are completing said quiz.
Note: You can also use Google Forms to create a quiz. One of the benefits of this tool might be the aggregation of answers in a single Google Sheet, potentially allowing for speedier assessment. For more, see Create and Grade Quizzes With Google Forms. Please note, however, that like all Google products, this will be inaccessible to students studying in China.
Need help with Moodle? A variety of tools are at your disposal. These include: