Eliciting Original Work from Students

Many course instructors are concerned about students copying, Googling, or sharing their answers while they write their online final exams.

There are options for reducing academic misconduct (using software to aid in invigilation, reminding students of consequences of academic misconduct). We encourage you to consider options for fostering academic integrity and for reducing the need for (and benefit of) copying others’ answers.

Multiple Versions of the Exam

Just like with Assignments and Quizzes, you can deploy multiple versions of your exam to your students. For example, you could create three exams then deploy each exam to a separate set of students (such as those with last names A-G, H-P, and R-Z). The exams can be run simultaneously through Canvas; students will only see the version of the exam that they have been assigned to. Use the Assign To setting in the Quiz Details to assign each quiz to selected students.


Scrambled and Random Exam Questions

If there are multiple-choice questions on your exam, Canvas can:

  • Randomly scramble the answer choices so each student gets the same questions but with differently ordered choices. Be careful with questions where one of the choices is “all of the above” or “none of the above” as those will not generally be the last choice in the list.
  • Randomly select multiple-choice questions from a question bank or question group. For example, if you have a bank of 40 multiple-choice questions, Canvas can randomly pick 10 for each student by using question groups.

Some textbooks come with question banks where the questions have parameters (like the mass of an object) that are different for each student. The question assesses the same concept but each student has a different answer. Consult the website for your textbook for more information.

Personalized Questions

Each student has unique experience and opinions. Consider asking questions that require students to provide their own personal interpretation or relate concepts to their own experiences so that each student will have a different response. This may make marking more challenging, of course.

  • Give an example of an object in your house or apartment with characteristic X.
  • What part of concept X is closest to your own experience?
  • Have you ever visited a city where concept X exists?
  • Make up an exam question (and give the answer) that tests concept X. (Yes, the assessment question is, make up an assessment question.)
  • Which principle – X, Y, or Z – do you think is most important for someone studying to be a (nurse, social worker, engineer, physiotherapist, psychologist, chemist, writer,…)

Each student also has a unique student ID. Are there clever ways you can “seed” the exam question with the students ID?

  • The input temperature of the turbine is the first 3 digits of your student ID. Find…
  • The mass of a wooden block is the last 2 digits of your student ID. Find…
  • Take the first 2 digits of your student ID, xy and consider the year 18xy. For example, if your student ID begins 89… then consider the year 1889. What event occurred in that decade that…
  • Let N be the first 4 digits of your student ID. Find…

  • Be careful certain values do not turn a question from possible to impossible.

In order to utilize these types of questions in a Canvas quiz, you will need to collect the answers within an Essay question.

ⓘ More information:
How do I create an Essay quiz question?

Request Assistance from an Educational Consultant

If you would like assistance on learning how to create assessments that elicit original work from students, contact the CTL Helpdesk to connect with an Educational Consultant.