Academic integrity & online open book quiz exams

Assessment design & assessment security 

Online exams will not be invigilated, effectively making them an open-book exam. Students, however, should approach them as they would any other invigilated closed book exam. Your exam should therefore be written knowing that students may access texts and other resources during the allotted exam time. This may require you to re-think the style or nature of the questions you are asking.  

For all high-stakes assessments, such as an exam, we encourage you to reconsider the need to assess low level outcomes (recall-based questions or those that have ‘one right answer’). Focus on questions and tasks which demand higher order activities, requiring students to demonstrate how they use information. See Writing exam questions for more information. 

Reconsider the use of textbook derived questions as many of these questions are already in the public domain and accessible via a Google search or student ‘study’ sites like  

Note that questions written for an online exam in learnonline cannot and should not be re-used in subsequent exams including supplementary and deferred exams as these questions will technically be in the ‘public’ domain and may be shared during, or after, the exam.  

Students say they are least likely to cheat on assessments that involve personalized and unique tasks, reflections on practicums, and vivas (or oral exam). 

Some strategies include: 

  • Discuss with students prior to the exam the “authenticity” of the exam tasks; that is, their relevance to students’ learning progress and future professional life.  
  • Check via an internet search that your questions/scenarios aren’t already available and/or answered online. 
  • Develop scenarios & questions that relate to very recent issues or require the use of a recent source or specific course content and activities. This can make it harder for students to find pre-existing answer content online. 
  • Develop assessment questions that relate to, or build on, a previously completed assessment or problem/practice-based activity (e.g. data collection) in the course. This may help in confirming authorship.  
  • Add a reflective process or component to a task/question, e.g. ask students to explain their answers or reflect on a tutorial discussion. 
  • For courses with a small number of students (< 50) consider online time-limited oral presentations/video uploads as a response to questions. Make sure students have been given sufficient practice opportunities and support resources across the study period to meet the expectations of such assessments. 
  • Consider asking for a portfolio of materials (e.g. images showing how a problem was worked out). 

Make academic integrity visible

Academic integrity means a commitment to act with honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, respect and responsibility in all academic work including online exams. Whilst the online exams in learnonline are not invigilated, students should approach them as they would any other invigilated closed book exam. 

Management of academic integrity starts with good assessment design. Book an Academic Developer consultation – for support around changing the type or mode of your assessment. 

UniSA is not viewing or recording students writing their exams, however, we are able to collect information about where they are completing their exam and if others are completing it with them. The learnonline system records how long each student spends on their exam questions, and we can monitor plagiarism via text matching software like Turnitin for assignment questions, although expectations regarding referencing, etc., are obviously very different in examinations. A student submitting someone else’s work as their own, or asking others to complete or help them complete their exam, is in breach of the UniSA academic integrity policy, Section 9 of the APPM, and an Academic Integrity Officer should be contacted. 

It is important you talk with teaching teams and markers about cheating and integrity in digital assessment. Being alerted to the possibility of cheating informs assessment design and increases detection rates. Furthermore, discuss with students the value of adhering to principles of academic integrity in your discipline, what is academic misconduct and the dangers of cheating.  

More information about academic integrity and what constitutes academic misconduct can be found in Section 9 of the APPM. The Academic Integrity Module explains in more detail how students can work with integrity at UniSA. 

Not all cheating is deliberate. Students are often unclear about when and how they can collaborate when it comes to assessment. Is it “cheating” to talk with friends or tutors, look up books and past lectures, or look at the course site? Ensure class/course time to discuss the pitfalls of “sharing” behaviours (see Collaborating with Integrity from the Contract Cheating and Assessment Design project). Be explicit with students, explain what collusion is and why an individual approach needs to be taken when carrying out tasks and completing questions. Some potential wording, includes: 

  • Ensure that you work independently on your exam and that all work submitted is your own original work, except where acknowledgement of sources is made.  
  • This exam is open book meaning you can consult your notes and other material as you respond to the questions.  

Make expectations clear to students before the exam and in the exam instructions. This includes providing opportunities for practice and feedback prior to the exam. Include clearly articulated and annotated exemplar responses. Break formative, practice tasks up into sequential components, ideally submitted over time to support feedback and monitoring of comprehension and progress.