How To Give Handwritten Exams Online
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How To Give Handwritten Exams Online

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Top Five Tips for Giving Handwritten Exams Online


If your exam requires students to write their work by hand (equations, graphs, sketches, etc.) here are some tips for managing this online as smoothly as possible.  

  1. Make the exam: 
  2. Provide a technology-practice exam at least one week earlier with the same page count and need for handwriting legibility. Students can verify that their tech needs and how long the process takes. Configure it so students can take it an unlimited number of times.
  3. Add 20% more time beyond the regular exam time to allow for students to scan or photograph handwritten work. 
  4. Allow for a mix of student technology: Not all students will be able to print your exam. Number the pages and problems so students can do their work on blank paper, using your numbering. 
  5. Copy, adapt, and incorporate the following instructions for students into your own practice exam and real exam instructions. Highlighted sections must be edited or removed as needed in your case.  
  • For this handwritten online exam, students should do the following:
      • Take the practice exam at least one week in advance. Note how long it takes, and any technical issues you need to resolve and take action. Try as many times as you like. 
      • The exam is [X] minutes long. You have been given [Y] extra minutes to digitize and submit your work. Complete your work in the exam time so you have enough time to digitize and submit. 
      • Print out the exam and write directly on it (preferred), or use blank paper. If using blank paper, no need to copy the text of every question or prompt, but do write the page number and question numbers on every page. Make the page-question combination match those on the original exam. 
      • [If the exam is remotely proctored] Direct your web camera at your writing, not your face. Show the front and back of all blank pages you will be using before writing on them.
      • Use a scanner to digitize your work (preferred) or take digital photos with phone, tablet, or web camera. Be sure all writing is legible: One photo for each page, no edges cut off, not too faint or blurry in the photo. Compile all images, in the correct order, into a single document (e.g. MS Word). One image per page is too difficult to read, try one image per question. 
      • Use a distinct name for your document, e.g. “YourFirstName_YourLastName_FinalExam.docx” 
      • If the exam window closes before you can submit, send your work to the instructor by email or Canvas message immediately. This does not guarantee it will be accepted.

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