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Resources for Finals Planning

As the end of spring quarter comes into view, we have some resources to help with finals and grading. Most importantly, practice using the technology you need ahead of time and communicate clearly and compassionately with your students about your expectations. If you are planning on using Respondus LockDown Browser or Monitor, be sure to read about needed prep in the second part of this article.

Many instructors have adapted their assessments over the last quarter to include alternative assessments like presentations, projects, open-book exams, and more. Extend that creativity when planning how to use Canvas to run your final assessments. For example, Canvas Discussion boards can be a great way to organize presentations and get students to respond to each other’s work. Have groups or individuals post a pre-recorded or visual presentation on a discussion board and include feedback on other presentations as part of the requirement for full credit. This activity is especially suited to classes where students are spread across different time zones and joining a single finals presentation session is difficult. Use what you’ve learned about Canvas and Zoom over the quarter to adapt your finals for remote access.

Not sure what your options are for online exam tools? Read this three-step guide to breaking down what technology you need for an exam. For more general assessment needs, the Keep Teaching Assessment and Grading webpage includes links to tools, grading policies, and other resources.

When you’re finalizing grades in Canvas, use the GradeSync tool to send final grade calculations directly to CAESAR from Canvas. Instructors who use the tool point out that it cuts down on errors when entering grades and saves time. Read our setup instructions.


Accessing Canvas Support

Canvas Support, provided by Canvas vendor Instructure, is available 24/7 for instructors by calling 833-879-0860 or via live chat. Students can also contact Canvas Support at 855-680-0126 or via live chat.

Instructors may also email with NetID issues or Northwestern-specific Canvas questions. Within Canvas, use the automated Canvas Chatbot to search the Canvas Guides or get answers to common questions.


Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor

Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor are proctoring tools that only work in conjunction with the Quizzes tool in Canvas. LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Canvas. Respondus Monitor is an optional, additional service enabled through LockDown Browser that uses the student’s webcam for passive monitoring.

If you are planning to use these tools during your final and have not yet used them in your course, the following three items are crucial to using them successfully.

  1. Faculty must attend one of the daily webinars offered by Respondus before using the tool. Register for a Webinar.  (Links to an external site.)
  2. Faculty must also add a short, no-stakes practice exam for students that uses LockDown Browser and Monitor before giving them a real live exam.
  3. Students must also download Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor before beginning their exam. Share this student download link: (Links to an external site.). Provide the student quick start guide (Links to an external site.) in your Canvas site as well.

NOTE: Students using Chromebooks will not be able to access an exam using LockDown Browser or  Monitor. Additionally, some screen readers are incompatible as well. Students should consult with AccessibleNU regarding screen readers and LockDown Browser and Monitor.

Access more information on these tools and setup instructions.


The Teaching & Learning Technologies team wishes you and your students a successful end to a demanding quarter.