The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may be the greatest disruptor to higher education in over a century. This interruption touched every aspect of campus life - residence halls shuttered, dining facilities turned to take-out only, and academic classes had to find a way to continue to be delivered with accuracy and efficiency in a remote platform. Antiquated hardware and software, technology inadequacies to handle an increased online load, and faculty and administration inexperience with such disturbance contributed to the academic chaos. However, future planning and investment present an opportunity in many aspects of the college experience, to bring together the academic community during pandemic or catastrophic disruption.
The COVID-19 global pandemic was perhaps the greatest single disrupter to higher education in over a century. At the time of this writing, the United States had 4,280,135 total cases of COVID-19 and 147,672 deaths (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). During the spring 2020 semester, faculty across the country, at all levels (K-12 and college/university) were forced to “flip the switch” as stay-at-home orders and other measures were taken to stem the tide of the spread of Coronavirus. While these “flip the switch” measures were both necessary and prudent, the lack of preparation and ability to plan threw the spring semester into a tailspin.
While discussions were taking place among administrators over several weeks, faculty at many institutions had only a few days to plan and implement a transition to online course delivery. This unprecedented call to action yielded successful outcomes, abject failures, unintended consequences, and everything in between. At Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU), the implications of converting to a completely online delivery format were swift and severe. Southeastern Louisiana University is a traditional undergraduate, 4-year, public institution with a total of seven programs (10.7%) offered online at the graduate and undergraduate level. While online course delivery had not been discouraged at Southeastern, it had not previously been a point of emphasis. The university’s strategic plan, Vision 2025, does include the following strategic priority: “To expand Southeastern's distance education offerings in response to student and programmatic needs.”
Southeastern Louisiana University has an enrollment of just over 14,000 students and offers 44 baccalaureate degree programs, 19 master’s degrees, and two doctoral programs. Of these, two undergraduate programs are fully online (BA Criminal Justice and RN-BSN in Nursing), as well as two post master’s certificates (Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner), one master’s degree (Child Life), and one doctoral degree (Doctor of Nursing Practice). The College of Nursing and Health Science (CNHS) houses the Department of Health and Human Sciences, the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies, and the School of Nursing. CNHS has the largest number of online program offerings in the university. Notably, the College enrolls the largest number of undergraduate and graduate students and has two of the largest three departments on campus.
In mid-March 2020, faculty were alerted that all face-to-face courses immediately transition to remote instruction. With this notice, faculty had three working days to make the necessary adjustments to deliver their courses remotely for an indefinite period of time. On March 22, 2020, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a state-wide stay-at-home order which immediately closed all state office buildings to the public, except for those deemed essential to continue (State of Louisiana). As a result of the Executive Order, all academic units, and most support units, transitioned to working from home.
This paper will examine the range of faculty experiences and challenges during the pandemic as well as explore the implications for administrators in allied health fields. Now, more than ever, faculty and administrators in higher education must be adept and abreast of best practices in online teaching and learning. This paper will explore these latter concepts from an administrator’s perspective as programs continue to grapple with the effects of COVID-19 on higher education and content delivery.
Online Learning in CNHS
During the spring semester 2020, the CNHS Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies offered 108 courses, and of those, only seven were online (6.5%). In the Health and Human Sciences Department, 126 courses were offered and, of those, 42 were online (33.3%). The School of Nursing offered 12 out of 191 (6%), with the graduate nursing program offering all 44 courses in the program, 100% online.
One immediate challenge in CNHS was the lack of prior training in online teaching and learning methodologies. Only 30% of CNHS faculty and lecturers held the university certification through the Office of Online Learning. Despite this fact, the CNHS is the leader in online coursework at the university and a significant number of faculty were impacted by the almost immediate shift to online learning in the spring semester.
Once the decision was made that coursework would be delivered remotely for an indefinite period of time, faculty in CNHS were required to attend a mandatory half-day training session facilitated by those deemed as online teaching “experts” in the College. The training consisted of a session on “Best Practices in Online Teaching” which covered strategies for ensuring student engagement with one another, with the instructor, and with the content. Research has shown that one of the negative aspects of distance learning reported by students is a lack of meaningful interaction with their professors (Croxton, 2014). In addition, this session covered student expectations in an online environment, strategies for recording mini-lectures and uploading scripts, Moodle activity ideas, as well as strategic use of discussion boards, case studies, quizzes, and other online teaching strategies. The best practices session was designed to be a refresher for those who had already completed the online training offered by SLU and a crash course in going online for those who had not. For several weeks during the transition, expert faculty volunteered by staffing a “Peer Pop-Up Help Desk.”
The mandatory training session also featured robust instruction on Google Meet as the Google platform is used by Southeastern for various online applications. This presentation focused on how to continue holding class synchronously for those who were teaching face-to-face or hybrid courses. Prior to COVID-19, the university did not have a license for Google Meet that would allow large numbers of enrolled students to participate in live streaming or videoconferencing. Like hundreds of other universities, Southeastern took advantage of Google’s offer to obtain the free upgraded version, available through September 2020. Faculty were encouraged to continue meeting their classes remotely at the same scheduled time, and deliver class lectures using Google Meet. Google Meet was heavily utilized as faculty transitioned their courses to remote instruction. In addition, recorded lectures in Moodle were also a popular strategy for delivering content to students remotely.
Experiences and Challenges During the Pandemic
Faculty experiences and challenges during the switch to online learning in the spring of 2020 was highly varied, but many consistent themes emerged when faculty feedback was examined. Early reactions to the almost immediate switch to online delivery ranged from “it can’t be done” to “we will do the best we can.” Ultimately, the “it can’t be done” mentality shifted to “it has to be done” and, at that point, faculty moved forward doing the best they could for their students. Based on student opinions of teaching (student evaluation of courses) at the end of the semester, student experiences were certainly impacted by their instructors’ level of familiarity with and degree of training in online learning and online course delivery. Those with little or no training struggled to find effective ways to deliver difficult content in meaningful ways. Many instructors also struggled with the basics of the technologies available like Google Meet. However, these challenges lessened over time as faculty became more familiar with these modalities as the stay-at-home order continued to be in effect.
Another significant pedagogical challenge centered on how to teach skills-based labs and techniques via online means. Hands-on labs in allied health fields are critically important, often tied to accreditation standards, and provide a partial basis for evaluation on state and national licensure and certification exams. Nursing students were no longer able to go to clinical placement; athletic training students were not able to have hands on labs for taping and other modalities; and student teachers were sent home and relegated to watching videos of teaching and avatars with classroom-based scenarios, to which they would have to react and respond. None of these methods were ideal and only time will tell if there is a skills gap for the students in allied health professions who had to learn highly hands-on techniques in a remote environment will need some form of remediation to close any learning gaps identified.
An additional challenge for higher education faculty was the shift to completely online advising. In the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, over 3400 majors had to be advised virtually. For faculty who had previously relied exclusively on a paper-pencil and face-to-face advising process, this was a significant disruptor and took extraordinary resources of time. In CNHS, the “normal” advising process starts with students making an appointment with their advisor, usually by signing up on a sign-up sheet that is posted on the faculty members door. The advisor will then go to the front office to “pull the folder” of the students they are advising that particular day. The advising folder is contains paper copies of previous advising appointments and suggested course schedules. A new advising form (paper) is completed and a copy is retained in the student’s folder. At the end of the day (or week, or semester), the faculty member returns the advising folder to the main office to be filed back in the advising filing cabinet for the next time.
While seemingly antiquated, the authors acknowledge that this manual “paper-and-pencil” process, is also used in many other institutions of higher learning. For many programs, college is about the face-to-face interactions that provide lifelong bonds between students, faculty, and staff. Fully automated advising systems are often expensive and require resources beyond the scope of what a regional institution might be able to provide, and often do not allow for the personal interactions that can be critical to student success. Unfortunately, the timing of the stay-at-home order in March 2020 came just before the advising period began at Southeastern Louisiana University. While faculty were struggling to address the needs of students and deliver a quality learning experience online, they had the added burden of finding a way to advise an average of 50 (or more) students during the two-week intensive advising period.
Tech experts on campus scrambled to address processes that had never previously been automated on the campus. Course substitution forms, course wait lists, and other “paper” processes had to go online as well. Faculty who were more adept with technology fared better with advising via Google Meet and using the Leonet registration system to advise students. Several “How Do I?” guides were prepared and shared with faculty to ease the burden of online advising, but those who were not tech savvy still struggled to navigate yet another new online process.
The time required to learn new technologies like Google Meet was one added stressor for faculty. Another significant challenge for faculty and administrators was the lack of technology, in both hardware and software forms. Many faculty in CNHS had not been issued a laptop and were reliant on only a desktop computer in their office (hardwired to the Ethernet cord for internet). Those who had laptops issued by the university were often working with devices that were at least four or more years old, and the “checkout” laptops available through the department were so antiquated, that they did not have webcam or microphone capability. Essentially, the laptops available to faculty for checkout during the pandemic were barely functional, and certainly contributed to the stress and challenge of delivering online courses and remote advising for students.
Initially, hopes were high that by spring break, all courses could revert to their original delivery modality. However, the stay-at-home order was held in place, well beyond just the spring semester. Southeastern Louisiana University finished out the semester remotely, assessed grade accommodations (e.g. late withdrawals and the option for a “P” grade for classes where a C or better was earned), conducted finals, thesis defenses, DNP defenses, and comprehensive exams remotely. With the exception of the graduate nursing program, which has long used proctoring services for high stake exams, proctoring services were not administratively available for faculty to utilize. Trying to find ways to proctor exams or graduate student comps, with no additional funding for a proctoring contract, was a significant challenge. Since no one anticipated a pandemic when the semester began, students were not notified of any additional fees or expenses related to proctoring exams, as this situation was completed unprecedented and wholly unexpected. Since the fees were not addressed at the time of registration, faculty could not ask students to pay for proctoring mid-semester.
The College Dean and department heads began troubleshooting and then creating guidelines for how to use a smart phone, a computer with a web-cam, and Google Meet to verify students’ identity, to scan their surroundings, and to monitor their actions in real time while taking high stakes exams. The draft was distributed to faculty and used as a starting reference point for creating variations to support “manual” remote proctoring (see Appendix A). Faculty quickly became very creative in having students use Google Meet on their cell phone to act as “proctor” while the student took an exam or comps on their laptop or desktop computer. Though certainly not ideal, faculty were left with no other more viable alternatives. Though faculty felt strongly that proctoring was needed to ensure the integrity of exams, there has been emphasis by the President and the Provost for the need to reexamine how course objectives are evaluated. The Office of Online Learning at SLU has been in existence for less than one year and future plans are underway to provide support for more varied evaluation methods in online courses.
One technology with which most faculty were reasonably comfortable and familiar with at the outset was Moodle, the Learning Management System at SLU. However, Moodle was not without its issues over the course of the initial semester during the pandemic. Unfortunately, as many others may have experienced, the extraordinary, and unexpected load placed on Moodle, was often problematic and resulted in the LMS functioning more slowly than usual, or sometimes, not working at all. As of March 2020, 50,000 new Moodle sites were registered to schools and educational institutions (Moodle, 2020) and Moodle use is up four times as much as this same time last year. In addition, the Moodle cloud had 453,000 users last year compared to 1,670,000 this year (Moodle, 2020). Moodle has been an incredibly helpful tool for SLU faculty in delivering remote and online instruction, but the skyrocketing usage caused the platform to be unusually slow and would often result in significant technological challenges like shutting down in the middle of an online exam. Instructors always had to have a backup plan if they were using Moodle for any type of high stakes testing or a time bound project of significant point value. When challenges emerged with the LMS, dealing with the issue taxed an already overburdened system of services like the Help Desk, the Center for Faculty Excellence which supports Moodle, and the Office of Online Learning, which is responsible for all facets of online teaching and learning for students and faculty.
Finally, for a college like Nursing and Health Sciences, there were significant challenges related to delivering healthcare related content knowledge, practical skills, and handling situations that normally would not be conducive to online environments. Learning how to be HIPAA compliant in an online environment, and transitioning labs and other hands-on experiences that are crucial for allied health professionals was often the greatest test for most (USDHHS, n.d.; USDHSS, 2021). Pre-professional programs where actual hands-on learning is critical to student success as clinicians was especially chaotic during the early days of the pandemic. The faculty could develop a plan for “squeezing in” student exposure to these tactile skills, but as medical recommendations and governmental restrictions were changing daily, so were the plans. As the procedures for rapid deployment of supplies needed to perform skills as home were developed (e.g., athletic training taping and wrappings supplies), they were quickly scrapped and alternate plans were quickly developed. This develop/modify/re-develop cycle of skills instruction and assessment happened daily over the first few weeks of the pandemic and was increasingly discouraging. The final skills plan developed for one program was to demonstrate the skills via Google Meet, send a recorded version of the skills via YouTube, ask for questions regarding the skills, have the students review the skills over the summer, and then review and assess the skills face-to-face at the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester before another potential class disruption. At time of this writing, the SLU campus was open enough that students could safely be assessed via a “skills blitz” just before the Fall semester started. The skills blitz included hours of review, practice, and assessment to be sure students could successfully progress to the next clinical skills level.
All allied health programs had significant pedagogical challenges with how to teach skills-based labs and techniques via online means. Hands-on labs in allied health fields are critically important and provide the basis for evaluation on state and national licensure exams. While lecture courses and on-campus labs were held remotely, internships, practicum, and clinical courses continued until the agencies suspended their activities. In the case of undergraduate nursing, academic leadership chose to suspend all sections of clinicals once three of the major local health systems suspended the ability to be assigned patients. Counseling, social work, communication speech pathology, and graduate nursing internships and clinical worked with agencies to provide telehealth services.
At the time, CNHS looked to the relevant accrediting bodies for guidance regarding what would count toward required practices hours. In some cases, specific, and helpful, guidance could be attained; however, other accrediting bodies gave very little helpful information, or refused to adjust any standards during the semester of pandemic. In all situations, there was no reduction in the required practice hours. In the case of Athletic Training, CAATE (Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education) communicated an increase in the percent of simulation time that could count toward clinical hours. However, because of the stay-at-home orders, faculty and students were not allowed to be on campus where simulation would normally be offered.
The CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) nor the state board of nursing gave constructive guidance on how to use simulation to support students progressing in the nursing program. At the direction of the Dean and department head, the nursing curriculum committee held an emergency meeting to map out the competencies in each course and to determine which delivery method could be used to accomplish goals. Skills were demonstrated by remote return demonstrations on family members or stuffed animals from the students’ home environment. After consulting with other deans across the state, it was evident that virtual simulation products, which when available are expensive, could then be used to satisfy clinical competencies. The university provided $54,000 to support these products, used in place of actual clinical hours caring for patients. Otherwise, students would not have graduated on time. A survey, conducted by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing, indicated 13 programs in the state anticipated delayed graduation dates due to incomplete grades at the end of spring semester. To the credit of Southeastern’s upper administration, all nursing students who were eligible to do so graduated on time. Of those who have taken the NCLEX-RN exam, while slightly lower than previous semesters, SLU nursing students are passing with averages above the state and national average.
The CNHS counseling program is a 60-hour graduate program which had significant challenges with converting to TeleCounseling. The licensing board required all student counselors and practitioners to complete 9 continuing education hours prior to using technology to provide services. Thankfully, the professional organizations for counseling provided these hours via webinars and at no charge. Certainly, none of these methods were ideal and only time will tell if there is a skills gap for the students in allied health professions who had to learn critical hands on techniques in a remote environment.
Implications for Administrators
Upon learning that classes would shift to an online delivery format, it became immediately clear that the main role of the higher education administrator, in this case Department Heads and the Dean, was to simply manage the chaos that ensued - survive not thrive. The first several hours, and even days, were filled with a level of panic and trepidation, along with the “my class can’t go online” mindset. Suddenly administrators were both dealing with a significant health crisis on their own campuses and in their own communities, but they were also trying to help faculty reimagine the ways in which they would deliver content online. At the time, everyone assumed this change would perhaps be for a couple of weeks, and then students and faculty could return to campus. At the time, there was no way to know that no one would return to campus for almost five months.
In the midst of the chaos, there was also an extraordinary sense of community and reliance on one another. Faculty members who were more comfortable with learning technologies were helping those who had never before used Google Meet or given a quiz in Moodle. Others quickly learned the most efficient way to conduct online advising sessions and began mentoring their colleagues who were less adept at conducting remote advising sessions.
One of the greatest challenges faced by administrators was in securing needed resources for faculty who needed new or upgraded technology. Many faculty in CNHS had either no laptop issued by the college or they were using their own personal equipment. Either way, not having up-to-date equipment to support online instruction was a significant issue. Immediately prior to the stay-at-home order, administrators were quickly trying to order equipment online such as webcams, wireless mics, and other accessories that could support online teaching from home. However, these items were quickly relegated to being on backorder with a potential delivery date that was so far in the future that the equipment would be of no help at that point. With both K-12 and higher ed faculty all over the country needing the same equipment at the same time, supply chain becomes a serious issue. In addition, faculty often found themselves having to share their hardware (laptop, iPad, desktop computer) at home with their children who were also required to participate in online learning at the K-12 level. Higher ed, and K-12 faculty members, were now trying to juggle their own teaching with the needs of their children, whom were also now enrolled fully in online learning.
The lessons learned for administrators in the initial semester of pandemic were innumerable. Being prepared ahead of time is perhaps the biggest lesson of all. For programs that prepare allied health professionals, the “flip of a switch” to online learning can present significant challenges. One way we can be more prepared in the future is to ensure that faculty have some level of required training in best practices for online teaching and learning. At Southeastern Louisiana University, this training was not required before the pandemic. The “Teaching Online at Southeastern” training is now required for all faculty members who have not already completed the training. The training course is online, asynchronous, and delivered to faculty via Moodle.
Another proactive step administrators can take before a crisis hits—is to ensure that all faculty in their area of responsibility have current equipment, with the required technologies, to deliver their classes remotely and on short notice. While updating laptops and other equipment is costly, the investment over time will significantly reduce the burden that both faculty and students are under when a significant disruptor occurs. This funding might come in the form of grants, alumni, or private industry that see a value in investing in the university. While we may never experience another pandemic in our lifetime, there are certainly other disruptions that can occur which would necessitate a switch to online learning.
The semester of pandemic also made it clear that faculty would be well served to have a teaching contingency plan. For the fall semester, faculty in CNHS have been asked to prepare their classes as if we will be under a stay-at-home order again in the future. For planning purposes, faculty should ensure that each class session could be delivered remotely with the least amount of disruption possible. For courses that are already coded as hybrid, there is less planning for a contingency. However, courses that are delivered face-to-face may require a significant overhaul for online learning, as we experienced in the spring 2020 semester. If anything, our experiences in March through May of 2020 have demonstrated to the campus, that it is possible to deliver our courses online, both synchronously and asynchronously. It may not be the preferred delivery method of some faculty and students, but it is attainable. With the appropriate professional development and training, online learning can also be done extremely well.
Academic leaders in the College worked to stay connected to their faculty acknowledging that they were at home, juggling work and home crises, and trying to avoid and later mitigate exposure to COVID-19. There was a high level of commitment at SLU to staying “connected”. Department heads reached out to faculty routinely and held online program meetings on a regular and as-needed basis. Faculty, often seasoned, expert, and well-regarded professionals, also had to learn what it means to “extend grace”. Faculty who in prior years would never consider accepting late assignments, graciously worked with students to get assignments turned in, even if they were not on time. In the long run, multiple strategies were used to communicate with faculty who were dedicated to ensuring student support and success.
While there were numerous challenges, there were a few positive outcomes as well. Faculty learned that conducting class remotely could be done effectively, with measurable faculty and student satisfaction levels. Faculty with grit and resilience also learned to be creative in the face of adversity. While there were few instances where faculty “went dark” and refused to interact with students or administrators outside of normal university hours, by and large most faculty did a herculean job at using technology to quickly convert and deliver courses and lab experiences.
At many times during the pandemic, there were overwhelming feelings of togetherness and community because faculty knew they were not the only ones trying to overcome the immense challenges that COVID-19 posed. However, there were often feelings of extreme isolation between having to work at home, trying to learn new technologies and pedagogical methods under extreme duress, and for many faculty, having to suddenly home school their own children and caring for other family and neighbors in “at risk” age brackets, all the while managing a full teaching load.
Through our shared experiences with the pandemic and resolve to meet the challenges of online learning adoption at SLU, Figure 1below offers a method for Contingency Planning for Higher Ed administrators. From the lessons learned during the pandemic, faculty and administrators realized the importance of contingency planning prior to an emergency situation. Once administrators were allowed to return to campus, a retrospective evaluation took place immediately and is still ongoing as we prepare to return the campus to more normal operations. Administrator experiences, student evaluation of teaching during the pandemic, and campus response and resources were all reviewed. It is anticipated that some pandemic-related practices may be retained as part of normal operations in the future (i.e. using Google Meet for campus meetings, recording lectures for students who have an excused class absence, etc.).
Before, During, and After the Pandemic
The stay-at-home order meant students did not get to participate in campus life. Honor’s Convocation, annual end of the semester family banquets, student organization meetings, career fairs, Hooding ceremonies and commencement were canceled. In some cases, a virtual version was scheduled. In the case of Nursing’s end of semester Pinning Ceremony, the SLU administration approved a drive through pinning ceremony. Sixty-nine students, driving decorated vehicles, along with family members, drove through the most historical section of campus stopping to receive a commemorative bag with a poster, their pin, cookies, and a big thank you note. Faculty cheered from the adjacent parking lot, with signs and well wishes. On reflection, faculty and their families as well as students and their families all suffered so many losses; senior ballgames, high school graduation, prom, end of year celebrations. In this one instance of the Pinning Ceremony, it was nice to experience the pride we all feel at the end of the semester.
Those who teach online courses or in online programs should receive ongoing technological and curriculum support and training to ensure best practices. During the semester of pandemic, the initial question for academic leadership was, how to best help faculty, who for many years had only ever lectured face-to-face. A secondary concern was the fact these same faculty would be on the front lines for helping orient students to online delivery of courses. Scheduling a mandatory training, on a Friday morning no less, was a first in the history of our college. Recognizing the need for peer support led to several strategies to organize Pop-up Peer mentoring sessions and peer outreach. Daily, academic leadership asked faculty, staff, and students, for help in areas unimaginable before this pandemic. Other work of university life was suspended and now there are challenges around resuming any semblance of routine. Leaders are asking faculty to teach using alternate formats transitioning to the fall semester. With slightly more support for online delivery, expectations by administrators are much greater. All faculty must be trained in online delivery and courses must meet Quality Matters standards. As we look toward the fall semester, SLU now has an annual license for the upgraded Google Meet as well as Panopto. Most classes, but not labs, have webcams to live stream face-to-face classes. The College is supporting a limited number of licenses of Zoom to conduct group work in clinical/practicum courses where HIPAA standards must be met. On reflection, there was great solidarity in helping each other and our students finish the spring 2020 semester successfully. We are not just stronger as a result of these shared experiences, we are stronger together. Thankfully, faculty have returned to fall semester duty with smiles and determination, knowing this semester will be equally unpredictable. No profession in the world is more dedicated to ensuring the success of students than Allied Health faculty and it’s administrators.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, July 29). CDC COVID Data Tracker.https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/91200/cdc_91200_DS1.pdf
Croxton, R.A. (2014). The role of interactivity in student satisfaction and persistence in online learning. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching,10 (2), 314-324.
Moodle. (2020, July 29). Moodle in numbers during COVID-19. https://moodle.com/news/moodle-in-numbers-during-covid-19/
State of Louisiana. (2020, July 31). Proclamation number 22 JBE 2020: Additional measures for COVID-19 stay at home. https://gov.louisiana.gov/assets/Proclamations/2020/JBE-33-2020.pdf
United States Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). FAQs on telehealth and HIPAA during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/telehealth-faqs-508.pdf
United States Department of Health and Human Services. (2021). Notification of enforcement discretion for telehealth remote communications during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/emergency-preparedness/notification-enforcement-discretion-telehealth/index.html
Visually Proctoring an Exam Using Google Meet
(Note: These instructions are for visually proctoring an exam using a second device, such as a smartphone/tablet, while giving an exam via Moodle and using the Respondus Lockdown Browser.)
Instructions for Proctors
BEFORE THE EXAM:
- Each proctor will be responsible for viewing 4-8 students (four is ideal since all four students can be seen on the Google Meet screen using the “tile” view).
- Create a Google Meet link to send to your assigned group of students as well as the course instructor(s)
- Note: Set-up the Google Meet link in the Google Calendar associated with the department’s Google Mail account.
- Set the start time of the Google Meet 15-25 minutes prior to the exam depending on the number of students in the group. For example, to allow 15 minutes for check-in, if the exam begins a 9:00 am, set the Google Meet start time for 8:45 am.
- On average, allow 20-25 minutes for checking in 7-8 students and 15 minutes for checking in 4-6 students
- Students must join the Google Meet from their smartphone/tablet (a different device than the one being used for the exam)
- Students will need to join Google Meet 15-25 minutes prior to the start time of the exam.
- Begin recording the proctoring session during student check-in.
- Students will need to verify themselves using a photo ID.
- Ask each student, one at a time, to show their photo ID. Verify the student’s name against the roster and verbally confirm when complete.
- Next, ask the student to use the smartphone/tablet to scan the room 360 degrees (no one should be in the same room as the test taker), and the top, sides and under the table where the computer or laptop is located.
- Instruct the student to then prop their smartphone or tablet to their left or right side, in a position that allows you to see their face and hands, the table top surface, and their keyboard and monitor/laptop.
- Instruct the student to turn down their smartphone/tablet volume so they will not be easily distracted by sounds during the exam, but will still be able to hear you if needed.
- Repeat the above steps with each student during the check-in process.
- Once all students are checked-in and ready to begin the exam notify the instructor by a chat message. The instructor will wait to get the ready message from each group before opening the exam
- Mute your microphone.
- Note: If you need to communicate with a student during the exam, be aware all students in the group will hear. If a student has their volume turned too low, be prepared to communicate via chat or using a hand written sign.
DURING THE EXAM:
- Keep your microphone muted throughout the session unless you need to speak to one of the students.
- Double check to make sure the meeting is being recorded.
- Set the Google Meet screen layout to the “tile” setting to see four students on the screen. If you are proctoring more than 4 students, you will need to use the participant list and randomly view each student throughout the exam session.
- Use the chat function to communicate with the instructor if there is a question or problem with the exam.
- Note: It is a good idea for the proctor and the instructor(s) to have one another’s cell phone. Calling or messaging one another via cell phone is the best way to communicate privately during the exam. Remember, chat messages on Google Meet can be seen by students.
AFTER THE EXAM:
- Once each student completes and submits the exam, have them take a photo of the computer screen showing the exam was submitted.
- Instruct the student to exit Moodle and to email the photo to their instructor.
- Instruct the student to leave the Google Meet session.
- Continue monitoring the exam until all students have completed, and then stop the recording.
Visual Proctoring During an Exam Using Google Meet
Instructions for Students
BEFORE THE EXAM:
- Please make sure you:
- Accept the Google Calendar invite you will receive via your Southeastern email. (Note: Accepting the invitation adds the Google Meet and log in link to the Google Calendar associated with your email account.)
- Use the restroom prior to checking-in
- Get a babysitter if necessary
- Have your driver’s license or a photo ID ready
- Are prepared to login to Google Meet using a smartphone/tablet (Note: It is easiest to login to Google Meet using the link in your Google Calendar, if you have previously accepted the calendar invite via email.)
- Are prepared to set up your smartphone/tablet on your right or left side so the proctor can view your face and hands, table top surface, and your computer keyboard and monitor (or laptop).
- Are prepared to secure your smartphone/laptop to prevent it from falling or moving during the exam
- Are alone in the room during the exam (this includes pets)
- Understand the exam session via Google Meet will be recorded
- Contact your instructor PRIOR to the exam if you are unable to do any of the above
- Note: If you need to communicate with a student during the exam, be aware all students in the group will hear. If a student has their volume turned too low, be prepared to communicate via chat or using a hand written sign.
CHECKING-IN WITH YOUR PROCTOR:
- Login to your course Moodle site using your computer/laptop and locate the link to start the exam. Do this 25 minutes before the scheduled start time of the exam. (Note: Do not attempt to start the exam until it is made available by your instructor. The exam will be made available once all students have checked-in. If the start of the exam is delayed due to check-in, you will be given the full amount of time to complete the exam as scheduled - usually 1 or 2 hours.)
- At the designated time (15-25 minutes prior to the start of the exam) click on the link to join the Google Meet using your smartphone/tablet. Make sure your camera is facing you and you are visible on the screen.
- When asked by the proctor, hold your photo ID next to you face so both are visible to the proctor (see photo below). The proctor may also ask you to hold your photo ID closer to the camera.
- The proctor will ask you to use your smartphone/tablet to scan the room 360 degrees - no one should be in the same room, including pets
- The proctor will also ask you to use your smartphone/tablet to scan the top, sides and under the table where your computer/laptop is located.
- After the proctor views your testing area, turn down the volume of your smartphone/tablet speakers to a lower setting. You do not want noises from other students to distract you during the exam, but you want the volume loud enough to hear the proctor should they need to communicate with you during the exam.
- Securely prop your smartphone/tablet on your right or left side so the proctor can view your face and hands, table top surface, and your computer keyboard and monitor (or laptop).
- Wait quietly while the proctor checks-in the other students in your testing group.
DURING THE EXAM:
- START the exam once it is made available by the instructor.
- If you have any technical problems during the exam, communicate with the proctor, either verbally of by using the Google Meet chat function. (Note: anything you say can be heard by all other students in your testing group, and they can read messages sent via chat.)
AFTER THE EXAM:
- Once you complete and submit the test, use your smartphone/tablet to focus on the computer screen.
- Take a photo of the screen showing you submitted the exam.
- Log out of Moodle.
- Log out of Google Meet
- Email the photo of the exam submission screen to your class instructor