Proctering Exams in Distance Learning

Understanding the increased role distance education will have within CUNY, please know that we will establish a system-wide task force including members from our Committee on Academic Technology, Council of Academic Affairs, University Faculty Senate, and Council of Chief Information Officers to review and provide forward-looking recommendations on this issue.
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Acadmic Intergrity

Whether teaching in person, or online, it is important to consider approaches to assessment that discourage academic dishonesty. The following are some additional tips to help deter cheating in your courses:

  • Remind students about the university’s academic policy.  Include a statement in your syllabus and let students know what your expectations are. Calling attention to plagiarism increases student awareness and may deter the behavior.(See “Rational Ignorance in Education: A Field Experiment in Student Plagiarism” by Thomas Dee and Brian Jacob). 
  • Implement testing practices that deter cheating:
    • Use Question Pools: Create multiple questions grouped in question pools so that each student receives a randomized set of questions. 
    • Randomize Questions and Answers.
    • Restrict Feedback: Sharing immediate feedback on correct/incorrect responses makes it easier for students to share with others right away.
    • Set Time Restrictions: Using a timer can help reduce the window of time students have to consult materials and other sources of information to help answer questions on the test. 
    • Display Questions One-at-a-time to prevent students from taking a screen capture or printing the full test. 
    • Use a Variety of Assessment Types: 
      • Use authentic and application based assessments such as projects, and presentations. 
      • Use frequent low stakes assessments rather than a few high stakes tests.
      • Incorporate group work into assignments. This can help students hold each other accountable for work done. 
    • Check for Plagiarism using SafeAssign.
    • Use Discussion Assignments and other personalized forms of student work. 

    Dr. Shi Jin, Professor of Chemistry, shared some valuable tips on how to prevent cheating in the Synchronous/Asynchronous workshop on April 28th, 2020:

    • Frequent, low-stake online quizzes, equipped with feedback
    • Always record on-line classes
    • Use screen-sharing function (instead of uploading/converting files) for better illustration, which is further enhanced by the use of a drawing tablet for annotation/drawing/writing
    • Harden online tests that students have little motivation to cheat 
    • Use question sets instead of questions in a test, so that each student will see a question randomly drawn from a set of questions targeting the same concept in a question set
    • Display one question at a time, randomize the order and prohibit back-tracking
    • Time a test so that students won’t have time to cheat
    • Make a test link only available for a short period of time (at most a few minutes).

    Additional resources:


  • Reasonable Accommodations: A Faculty Guide for Teaching Students with Disabilities resource was developed specifically for CUNY faculty to provide them with information and best practices to be most effective in meeting the needs of students with disabilities and achieving the goal of equal access. This guide includes helpful information in accommodating students with disabilities in distance learning, including the following two sections:

Blackboard Faculty and Student Quick-Start Guides

Using Blackboard and Blackboard Collaborate on Chromebooks

As you know, several Blackboard Administrators and faculty have expressed concerns that Blackboard Collaborate would not work on the Chromebooks that CUNY has attained for designated students, staff and faculty.  CUNY CIS received today official assurances from Blackboard, Inc. that Blackboard Collaborate is indeed compatible with Chromebooks.  CIS staff have also tested Collaborate on the Chromebook from both the instructor and student perspective and found that it works smoothly.  We also validated operations such as using the whiteboard, polling, uploading PowerPoint and breakout rooms.  Additionally, Blackboard Learn student and instructor Chromebook browser tests indicate overall compatibility with the exception that the pop-up blocker should be disabled. 

These instructions will also be posted on the Blackboard support page  and on a support site for those receiving Chromebooks and iPads

  • Blackboard Collaborate mobile app web conferencing allows users of Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing to connect to their sessions on the Apple iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone devices.
  • Blackboard student app, can be used to access classes, and for students that prefer to use the browser, they should install Google Chrome to properly access Blackboard on the iPads (the built-in Safari browser will not work correctly with Blackboard)

After Hour Support for Faculty, Staff, and Students

Starting tonight (3/20/2020), students and faculty with a pressing Blackboard question can call Blackboard for assistance in using Blackboard when campus help desks and Blackboard administrators are unavailable. This after hours Blackboard support will be available by telephone:

  • weeknights - between 8:00pm and 8:00 the next morning
  • weekends – all day and night on Saturdays and Sunday

CUNY has contracted with Blackboard to provide this telephone support as an additional service to our students and faculty to ensure coverage when the campus help desks are closed and Blackboard administrator support to students and faculty is unavailable.  Please see After Hours Blackboard Support for information on how to access this after hours support service as well as examples of the Blackboard support provided.

Contingency plan to temporarily disable specific Blackboard Collaborate features to sustain unprecedented global adoption

We have been carefully monitoring Collaborate as more schools and organizations increase their use, and we have already taken specific measures to optimize its reliability.  In the coming weeks, we are projecting an unprecedented increase in the use of Collaborate in different regions around the world. Out of an abundance of caution, and in order to maintain the highest continuity of service possible, we have made the decision to disable specific features that can impact overall system stability. These features are:

  • Timer (a countdown timer that helps with classroom time management)
  • Chat typing indicator (a visual indicator that someone is typing but have not yet completed their thought. The chat feature itself will still be available.)
  • Netstats indicator (a visual indicator of connection quality next to each user)
  • Reducing the number of video thumbnails from 4 to 2 (this is the maximum number of thumbnails visible in the grid view) 

We believe that the removal of these features will not significantly impact the overall Collaborate user experience, which will still include video, screen sharing, chat, a virtual whiteboard, and other favorite features. We believe that disabling them is in the best interest of our global client community. Consistent, reliable service is our top priority. We expect to reinstate these features once we have more information about how the system is performing and we continue to make improvements.

Training and Technology Support

Contact Information and After Hours Support: 

  • Computer labs are currently closed: Visit our Virtual Computer Lab  Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 8:00pm for assistance . 
  • Information Technology: We continue to actively monitor emails and voicemails. For fastest response, we encourage you to email a detailed message to or Someone will get back to you during regular business hours. 
  • Training (; 718.982.2348)
  • Faculty Center (; 718.982.3909)   
  • Modern Languages (  718.982.4155)
  •  Blackboard Support will be provided by Blackboard @ After Hours Blackboard Support
  • Information Technology Health Check 

Additional Resources: 


Free internet service 

  • The Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Connection website has a number of resources including tips to prepare for and implement robust digital learning plans and Verizon’s partner Digital Promise has helpful COVID-19 online learning resources and FAQs.
  • Altice USA and Charter Communications both announced on March 13, 2020 that they would offer free broadband services and Wi-Fi for 60 days to students taking online classes.  Both providers cover different parts of New York City.
Charter Communications  Eligible students can call 844.488.8395 to enroll For more information   
Altice USA Eligible students can call 866.200.9522 to enroll For more information

In addition, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and Comcast have announced additional services during the coronavirus outbreak, such as the removal of data caps and waiver of late fees.  Students should check with their individual carriers for these arrangements.

Adobe: The free licensing for all has been extended through July 6, 2020. More information is available  here:

Students having problems accessing the Adobe downloads? Students MUST use their credentials for AdobeDropbox, and WebEx .Visit  IT Resources for Remote Work & Teaching for additional information.

Student Helpful Links

Coronavirus College Contacts / Health and Wellness

For further questions about preventative measures, please consult online resources available from the NYC Department of Health, New York State Department of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. 

Coronavirus Intake Form

Coronavirus Steering Committee and Task Force

Coronavirus Steering Committee Coronavirus Task Force
Hope Berte Hope Berte – Facilities
Jennifer Borrero Jennifer Borrero
Stephen Ferst Ann Booth - Counseling
William Fritz Jessica Collura - HR
Ken Iwama Linda Conte – Health Center
Patricia Kahn Terrianne Darragh – Health Center
Jane Marcus Delgado Danielle Dimitrov (in case Jennifer cannot attend)
Michael Parrish Jennifer Durando – Advising
Robert Wallace Catherine Ferrara – Diversity and Compliance
  Stephen Ferst – Center for Global Engagement
  Ken Iwama – to represent Auxiliary Services
  Linda John – OIT
  Patty Kahn
  Michael Lederhandler – Public Safety
  Terry Mares – Institutional Advancement
  Jodi Merendino – Dining
  Spozmi Nouri – Housing
  Michael Parrish
  Ralf Peetz
  Keith Pisons – Facilities
  Amy Stempler - Library