Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Integrated Use of Technology Tools to Simulate Classroom Environment

The course instructor wrote the exam questions in Gradescope, and students logged in to Gradescope to take the exam. Each student joined Zoom with their video on. One TA in the main Zoom room assigned each incoming student to one of the Zoom meeting rooms where they took the exam. Approximately 20 students were assigned to each meeting room. Each of the proctors shared their screen with the students in their Zoom meeting room. The shared screen was a Google Doc shared by the instructors as a virtual whiteboard where clarifications/corrections to questions were shared during the exam. Students were able to ask the instructors private questions in Piazza during the exam. The proctors used Slack to share information about clarifications, updates from their Zoom meeting rooms, etc. The TA in the main Zoom helped to coordinate what was going on in the different proctored rooms including monitoring for consistency with messaging such as announcements regarding time remaining.

  • Advantages: This approach uses accessible tools that are familiar to students and facilitates real-time communication between instructors with Slack and with students through Piazza. Video monitoring via Zoom provides opportunities for instructors to detect any potential academic integrity violations.
  • Limitations: Although it may be tempting to replace messaging in Piazza with the chat messaging in Zoom, instructors should note that private messaging is not possible in Zoom breakout rooms.
  • Implementation considerations: The course instructor should have an alternate plan in the event of technical failure. 
  • Class: SCS 10-701
  • Student tools: laptop, webcam
  • Instructor tools: Google Doc, Gradescope, Slack, Piazza, Zoom
  • Assessment uses: Exams