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COVID-19 Faculty Supports & Resources


Below are some strategies for supporting student assessment and maintaining academic integrity in an online environment. For additional resources related to assessment in general, check out the Assessment LibGuide.

Assignments and assessments

Consider your students’ mental health and the impact of a high-anxiety situation on their ability to effectively demonstrate their learning.

  • Consider removing Enforced Time Limits on online exams and quizzes.
  • Be as flexible as possible and avoid creating rigid or narrow time-based expectations for assignments, exams, or participation

Consider modifying your assessment plan.

  • Use ungraded, self-check quizzes for highly technical course content to check student learning and determine whether teaching strategies should be altered.
  • Provide students with assessment options to support engagement and learning, as well as their access to, and comfort with, technology.
  • Use a variety of assessment types to allow students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge/skills in different ways (e.g. artifacts, portfolios, recorded presentations, slideshows, reflective video responses, written responses, data interpretation and analysis).
  • Use self- and peer-assessments to reduce instructor workload, improve student learning experiences, and build community.
  • Use frequent, low-stakes quizzes to reinforce facts and concepts and prepare students for larger assessments.
  • Use short-answer questions and get students to apply new concepts to specific scenarios to increase the difficulty of online assessments.

Consider providing clear and simple instructions.

  • Consider providing more context to learners for assignments and assessments that are now online to provide as much clarity as possible. 
  • Break down complex or multi-part assignments into smaller components and deliver separately (allows for more frequent feedback) (e.g. a larger essay could have three graded components: a proposal, an outline and annotated bibliography, and a final submission).

Open-book and online assessment

Consider open book assessment online if you are assessing learning outcomes that involve higher-order thinking such as application of knowledge and skills, critical thinking, analysis, or evaluation. Considerations when designing open book assessment:

  • Are you assessing interpretation and application of knowledge, comprehension skills, or critical thinking skills rather than basic knowledge recall?
  • Are you designing your questions and exam / paper with the skills and knowledge as stated in the course learning outcomes?
  • Do questions require students to apply and make use of the information from their textbook or notes rather than simply require them to locate and re-write the information?
  • Consider using problem-based scenarios or real-world cases.
  • Refer specifically to course content, lectures, and materials


Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo. (n.d.). Encouraging Academic Integrity Online. Retrieved from

Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE). Keep

University of Windsor (2020). Exams and alternate assessments during disruptions. Retrieved from

Vancouver Island University (2020). Transitioning to remote studies mid-stream: Teaching strategies for student independence and success. Retrieved from

Weleschuk, A., Dyjur, P. & Kelly, P. (2019). Online Assessment in higher education Taylor Institute. University of Calgary. Retrieved from

Western University. (n.d.). Teachology: Evidence-informed answers to your eLearning questions at Western University. Retrieved from