Old Dominion University, Center for Learning and Teaching

Tips for Testing in STEM Courses using Canvas

May 17, 2022 11:25 AM - 11:55 AM

Presented by: Steven Zeil,  

This session will focus on opportunities and challenges that Canvas offers for assessments in courses with a high amount of mathematical or technical content.  Particular attention will be paid to tests where students are limited, by the Lockdown Browser or by a proctoring service, to working entirely within the web browser. for the duration of the test.

Points of discussion:

  • Teaching your students to type mathematics.
  • Providing quick feedback - rubrics for "essay" questions.
  • Drawing diagrams in the Lockdown browser.
  • Bullet-proofing your test settings - somebody's bound to lose their network connection.


Online Only


Faculty attending this session should leave with an understanding that

  • Faculty do not need to put up with submissions of badly photographed images of hand-written mathematics & diagrams.
  • Faculty using the Lockdown Browser or a proctoring service do not need to limit their tests to plain text entries.
  • Although Canvas does not support for individual test questions, faculty can still work with rubrics and use them to provide feedback to students.
  • Canvas's quiz settings can be used to anticipate network connection issues, and the Log can be used to help verify students' stories about them.

[I have proposed this as a presentation, but if there are other faculty interested in doing related presentations, I would be happy to be part of a panel on Canvas testing instead.]

Supplemental Material

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About the Presenter

Steven Zeil

Steve Zeil joined the faculty of the Department of Computer Science in 1988.   Although primarily a researcher in software testing and reliability, he became interested in Internet-based course delivery and oversaw the Department's development of its online BS degree program starting from 1998.  He designed and developed an LMS used for many of those early courses. He has also written multiple software packages for preparing and packaging course websites, and for web-based submission and automatic grading of programming assignments. His most recent project is a web-based diagram editor to support courses in the fundamental mathematical theory of computer science.