CBTF Information for Instructors

|

Instructor FAQ

The CBTF is not a generalized proctoring service. It is a facility and service enabling students to take computer-administered exams in a controlled proctored environment, under specific constraints and circumstances designed to enable operation at scale. You may find that these constraints do not fit your needs, though we’ll be happy to talk to you about it! Therefore, many of the policies below are designed to make the CBTF reasonable to operate at scale and using standardized streamlined procedures. We’re more than happy to talk to you about how to achieve your course’s assessment goals with the policies in place. (If the answer to a question below is “No” and you want to understand the rationale, envision a testing center that’s open 7 days a week, many hours per day, with students from many different courses taking exams simultaneously and supervised by proctors who are not TAs and who are not in general connected to any of the courses using the CBTF.)

tl;dr

  • Your assessment must be 100% delivered online. (See below for policies about turning in scratch paper.) It does not necessarily need to be machine-graded. Various tools can be used to deliver it, though we have found PrairieLearn exceptionally useful. Gradescope is also possible. bCourses is possible but with many caveats, such as there being no way to block access to non-exam bCourses content during the exam (other than by “un-publishing” or hiding it entirely even for students not in the CBTF).
  • In general the CBTF schedules one-hour “sessions” (really 50 minutes with a 10-minute “shift change”). Longer exams can bridge across consecutive sessions.
  • You’ll designate a window of 1-3 days over which several sessions will be available for student self-scheduling at fixed times to take the assessment. The assessment must be designed so that its integrity is not compromised by this fact.
  • There are mechanisms for dealing with some but not all DSP accommodations that largely relieve you of scheduling responsibility, although advance coordination is required.
  • The two physical spaces as of May 2024 are Evans B3A (25 seats) and Wheeler 210 (28 seats). We hope SDH 200 (30-40 seats) will be online soon.

Uses of the CBTF

  • Can students take pencil-and-paper exams in the CBTF?
    • No.
  • What software is available for authoring the exams?
    • We’re currently using PrairieLearn, but we expect to support Gradescope, bCourses, and (if CS61A wants it) possibly examtool.
  • What restrictions are there on software/network access on the CBTF computers?
    • We do not have “lockdown browsers” such as Respondus, but the firewalls limit Internet access only to the exam server itself. However, with bCourses, students may also have access to other non-exam bCourses materials; this is a limitation of bCourses, not of the CBTF.
  • Is there training and/or funding available to create computer-based assessments for my course?
    • Yes for EECS; possibly for other departments. Ask us.
  • Can I provide my own proctors, e.g. from my course staff, to staff a CBTF session dedicated to my course?
    • No. Our proctors on onboarded in the use of the software and are centrally hired, paid, scheduled, monitored, and trained on incident-reporting procedures. There are many advantages to proctors who are explicitly not course staff. For that matter, you cannot in general have a session dedicated to your course—the space may be shared with other course(s) whose exams overlap yours.
  • Can I “reserve” one or more sessions solely for my course?
    • If no other courses have exam windows that overlap yours, it might be possible, but in general it won’t be: students will self-schedule on a first-come basis, so you should assume your students will be mixed in with students from other courses.
  • Given the modest room capacities, does this mean my students may not all take the exam at the same time?
    • Correct. You must design your exam so that its integrity is not compromised by being asynchronous. There are various ways to do this, including the use of randomization  for short-item exams, having different versions of the exam, or others. Reach out to us to discuss your situation!
  • Can your staff proctor my exams in my classroom or somewhere other than the CBTF?
    • No. They are exclusively there to work in the CBTF.
  • Can your staff proctor my Zoom exams?
    • No. They are exclusively there to work in the CBTF.
  • Can I specify which specific physical facility will be available for my exam?
    • No. All three are outfitted the same way, and availability depends on proctor staffing and other factors. When students self-schedule, they can choose slots in any available physical facility.

DSP-related considerations

  • What if I have students requiring extra-time accommodations?
    • Have your staff work with ours to identify the students and the accommodations and we’ll update the self-scheduling software to allow those students to “straddle” exam shifts and adjust their exam times accordingly. No further action from you will be needed.
  • What if I have students requiring a reduced-distraction environment?
    • In the near future we hope to have facilities within the CBTF specifically catering to such students, but for now, we can arrange an underfilled room for such students, with enough advance notice. (Give us plenty.)
  • What if I have students requiring special accommodations such as a scribe, special assistive hardware or software, etc.?
    • We cannot yet support such requests but we’re working on it.

Exam environment and facilities

  • Can students bring their own computers (e.g. with special courseware on them) into the CBTF?
    • No, all students in the CBTF use CBTF-configured computers. Talk to us about special software needs and we’ll see what we can do to make it available on those systems.
  • Can the CBTF computers have special software installed for my exam?
    • No, your exam must be available via a Web browser. If it’s not one of the supported frameworks above, we may be able to adjust the firewall rules with enough advance notice. But we cannot install software on the computers themselves; only a Web browser is available.
  • Are tablets available for students to hand-draw/hand-enter responses that are too awkward to do with keyboard and mouse?
    • Not at this time. But you’d be surprised what is possible with a keyboard and mouse. Talk to us about your assessment goals and we’ll help you brainstorm a solution that doesn’t require specialized hardware.
  • Can students bring cheatsheets or other study aids to the exam with them?
    • No. Outside paper, devices, books, notes, etc. are never allowed on the exam desk, since proctors can’t keep track of different rules for every course. Students can use the built-in Windows Calculator app if they wish. It is easy to embed a cheatsheet within most exam software, including PrairieLearn, that the students can access while taking the exam.
  • I believe in cheatsheets because there is pedagogical value in having a student spend time making them.
    • They can still do so, and realize that value. They just can’t bring it into the CBTF. Sorry.
  • What about scratch paper?
    • Proctors have a supply of scratch paper for student use that is color-coded to each exam room and session. Students may not bring their own. No paper enters or leaves the room.
  • Can students turn in their scratch paper for possible partial-credit or manual grading later?
    • You can choose to do this, but we don’t advise it. Since our proctors are not connected to your course, this responsibility cannot devolve onto them. Therefore, someone from your course staff must deliver a box or other container at the beginning of each test session that will be used to collect scratch paper for your course (remember that students from other courses may be taking their exams in the same room at the same time), and someone from your course staff must be present at the end of each exam session in which any of your students have made reservations to collect the sheets. Proctors will not deliver scratch paper anywhere. Since there are many proctors, any course staff who will be doing this must be introduced to all proctors who might be proctoring a session that includes students from that course, since proctors will not release such turned-in scratch paper to anyone not in your course staff. Proctors cannot enforce that everyone turn in scratch paper, nor that everyone remember to put their identifying information on them, so you should place these instructions inside the exam itself. If your staff person doesn’t show up to collect the scratch paper, proctors are not responsible for preserving it and may need to discard it for reasons of academic integrity. Proctors can (and must) give out the actual scratch paper. If a student or your staff later reports an issue of any kind regarding student scratch paper, the responsibility for resolving it will be entirely on your staff, not on CBTF proctors or the CBTF manager. These are just a few of the things that can go wrong; we strongly suggest you find alternate ways of achieving the goal underlying this request, and we’re happy to discuss possibilities with you.
  • Can students take their scratch paper out of the room with them and turn it in to us themselves?
    • No. Absolutely no scratch paper leaves the room with a student, no exceptions. Proctors will only turn over scratch paper to course staff that have been previously introduced and identified as such.

Other

  • Who pays for/supports this?
    • At the moment, the operational costs of this effort, including paying the proctors, IT operations, etc., are funded as part of a larger research project on Mastery Learning. The project is homed in EECS, but we hope this element of the project can find a long term sustainable operating model at the CoE, CDSS, or University level. We hope that positive participation from other faculty will help make that case, and so we’re willing to host non-EECS/non-CoE courses as resources allow, in order to increase awareness of this (in our opinion) much better testing model.
Other questions? Email Armando Fox (ACELab PI) and we’ll add the answers here.