Skip to Main Content

Online Teaching

Preventing Academic Misconduct on Exams


Unless otherwise noted, adapted by members of the University of Alberta Centre for Teaching and Learning including Ellen Watson, Senior Educational Developer, Janice Miller-Young, Academic Director, and Graeme Pate, Educational Developer.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Adapted from “Teaching Effectively During Times of Disruption, for SIS and PWR.” Feel free to remix for your own institutional contexts!

One of the biggest concerns many instructors have when using online exams is that students may be able to easily cheat. While no type of exam is completely misconduct proof, there are ways to design online exams to minimize these opportunities. Some examples include:

  • adding an honesty check to your exam.
  • shuffling the question order during an exam.
  • randomizing question selection.
  • limiting access to quizzes by adding a password and giving specific time windows for completion.
  • consider giving open-book, take home exams.
    • Unlike some closed-book exams, open-book, take-home exams typically do not use memorize or recall type questions (since students have these answers in front of them) but, instead, tend to rely on questions that ask students to apply their knowledge or synthesize what they have learned to answer complex questions.
    • Despite their advantages in encouraging higher order thinking, students need support in preparing for open book and take home exams. You can help them by giving them formative exercises that mimic this exam format and by teaching them how to create “concise, well-supported answers” (Silverman, 2018).

Silverman, R. (2018). Exam preparation: Strategies for open book exams. Retrieved from