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For Faculty
Course Delivery & Management

Course Delivery & Management

Teaching online is not bounded by in-class time. The instructor's time management and resources is very important to both the instructor and the student. These sections will provide information on the expectations of our online instructors before, during and after the semester.

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Learning Management System

Course & Program Evaluation

Maintaining high quality and an emphasis on continual improvement is important to provide the best most relevant courses to our students. This section reviews how we evaluate quality in our courses.

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Course information

Required Course Materials

Review the most updated list of required material and software for your online course.

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Proctored Exams

Academic integrity is of utmost importance to our programs. We use Examity to proctor our online exams.

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Online Teaching Tips

Online Teaching Tips

Review the list of online teaching tips, many of which have been shared by our own faculty.

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Canvas Best Practices: Faculty

Check out these tips for using Canvas in your online course.

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Course & Program Evaluation

Course & Program Evaluation

In every course, we teach and as a part of the administration of our programs of study, utilizing opportunities and mechanisms that help us reflect on the effectiveness and value of our course offerings is essential part of our improvement process.

Use the links below and in the navigation to the left to find information on some of the activities and mechanisms that we have in place to help us maintain a quality program.

For more details and additional links see The Penn State Quality Assurance e-Learning Design Standards.

12 quality assurance standards that all Penn State WEB courses should include.

  1. Navigation
    The course has a consistent and intuitive navigation system enabling students to quickly locate course information and materials.
  2. Student Orientation
    A course orientation is used to familiarize the students with the course.
  3. Syllabus
    Students have easy access to a course syllabus which contains crucial course information and requirements they need to know about the course prior to starting.
  4. Instructor Response and Availability
    Instructor response time and availability are clearly communicated to the student.
  5. Course Resource Requirements
    Hardware, software, or specialized resources required are clearly communicated to the students.
  6. Technical Support
    Information regarding access to technical support is clearly communicated to the students.
  7. Accessibility Requirements
    The course adheres to University policies and guidelines regarding accessibility.
  8. Learning Objectives
    The course contains learning goals and objectives.
  9. Learning Activities and Assessment
    The course learning activities and assessment serve to stimulate student interactions with the course content and determine how well student performance achieves the course goals and learning objectives.
  10. Copyright Requirements
    The online course adheres to the current University policies for the use of third-party copyrighted material or is able to provide evidence of appropriate copyright clearance.
  11. Course Functionality
    All aspects of the course perform properly and support student progress.
  12. Student Input for Course Improvements
    Opportunities are provided to gather input from students on an on-going basis in order to inform course improvements.


Review of courses and the overall curriculum is a part of the department's strategic initiatives for the growth of sustainable online programs. The MAS online program will benefit from formalized and rigorous scrutiny of the topics covered as well as the manner in which these are covered and build on each other from course to course throughout the program.


Each semester, a small number of courses will be identified for review and will involve examination of aspects of the overall course as well as the content and approaches taken in each of the course lessons as depicted below. An instructional designer facilitates this course/curriculum review process.

Typically three faculty who are currently teaching the course or have recently taught the course will be assigned as reviewers. Ideally, one of these faculty might also be teaching this same course in residence. These faculty will meet on a regular basis throughout the semester to discuss the lessons as they are presented in the course. Meeting throughout the semester, as the course is instructed, keeps reviewers close to the materials and student use of these. Not only are overall course topics and issues discussed but each lesson also is reviewed. The faculty reviewer's work results in recommendations for the course and individual lessons.

At some point in the semester additional faculty are assigned as 'Link Reviewers'. Typically these are faculty that are currently teaching or have recently taught a course that leads up to or a course that builds on the course under review. These faculty, having a vested interest in the associated course, looks for topics that set a foundation for or need foundational understanding from the prerequisite course. The recommendations of where these links should exist and the degree to which these links are supported are added to the recommendations to the course.


  1. The recommendations from the faculty course reviewers and the faculty link reviewers is used to generate a list of development tasks that are needed to revise the course. As much as is possible, these changes are put in place immediately. Should the amount of revision warrant, supplemental contracts for faculty development of these items will be offered.
  2. A list of concepts, topics, methods and/or procedures are developed that will articulate what a student must know or be able to do as a result of participating successfully in the course. Consequently, these then become the basis of coverage for the problems that are given on the final exam in the course.

Peer review of teaching—like the peer review of research—is a widely accepted mechanism for promoting and assuring quality academic work, and is required for the purpose of promotion and tenure at Penn State. For provisional faculty (not yet tenured), it is recommended that peer reviews should occur at least once per year and in a variety of courses. For faculty being reviewed for promotion, it is better to have a series of peer reviews over time rather than several in the fall immediately preceding the review. The peer review process in resident instruction typically involves a faculty reviewer observing a peer’s classroom. The reviewer then summarizes their observations in a document that is to be included in the reviewee’s dossier. As there are no online sessions to observe, we utilize a peer review guide.

The Masters of Applied Statistics program as well as instructors teaching other online courses through the Department of Statistics will use a version of the Quality Matters Rubric for evaluating online courses that has been adapted to meet the needs of our courses. The process involves three steps once the Director of Online Programs has assigned peer reviewers to review teaching in a specific course.

Peer Review Process

  1. Reviewee completes input form.

    The Peer Review instructor Input Form is completed by the instructor and sent to the reviewer in advance of the peer review. 
  2. Reviewer completes peer review guide for online teaching at Penn State.

    After reviewing the completed “Peer Review Instructor Input Form,” the peer reviewer uses the Peer Review Guide for Online Teaching to work through the online course and complete the rubric. Please provide notes and evidence of each standard.

    NOTE: Reviewers should feel free to ask questions of the instructor any time clarification or information is needed during the review process. Email and video conference meetings can be used to communicate throughout the process.

  3. Reviewer submits summary.

    As noted in the Peer Review Guide above, both the peer reviewer and the course instructor discuss the instructor’s involvement in the course, using the notes from the "Peer Review Guide for Online Courses" as the basis for this conversation. The peer reviewer submits their completed rubric to a Box folder where the Director of Online programs will access these.

Course Delivery & Management

Course Delivery & Management

Course delivery and management involves getting ready to teach online, strategies to teach online as well as working with the various technologies related to education at a distance.

Use the links below and to the left to read through and think about how you might use some these ideas, strategies or technologies in your own online courses!

Managing the Online Course

Managing the Online Course

Expectations for Online Instructors

  • Be responsive, reliable and helpful week in and week out.
  • Respond to queries as soon as possible never leaving the students waiting for a reply.
  • Share explanations that are clear and encouraging.
  • Break down complex material into plain English.
  • Use a blend of videos and animations where needed.
  • Grade homework, quizzes and exams predictably and post results promptly.

Weekly Routines

The guide below is an adaptation of the guide maintained by the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. Please see their Managing Your Online Class page for additional suggestions and tips.


  • Interact in course discussion forums
  • Respond to course email
  • Grade assignments


  • Introduce topics and post weekly announcements
  • Summarize the topics presented that week and the discussion forum conversations in the announcements
  • Update course schedule
  • Hold 'office hours' (find a way to connect effectively with students that have questions)


You can view the checklist below or download the document: 

Managing Your Course Checklist

Online Teaching Resources

Online Teaching Resources

There are a number of resources that instructors can connect with to get a sense of what teaching online is like or to reflect upon the skills they already bring to the online learning environment.

  • Web Learning@Penn State

    The official Web presence of the Penn State Online community.  Find out about what online learning options Penn State offers, how online learning at Penn State is governed, resources for faculty development, and what the e-Learning Cooperative is all about.

  • World Campus Online Faculty Development

    Outreach at Penn State offers a number of free short courses that focus on Teaching and Learning online. Among the short courses offered at the link above are:

    OL 1000: Overview of Teaching and Learning Online
    OL 1200: Welcome to the World Campus
    OL 2000: Effective Online Teaching
    OL 2600: Course Authoring Accessibility Basics
    OL 3000: Supporting Accessibility for Online Learners

    You need to register to take these courses. Use the link above for information about when they are being offered.

    As always, if you have any questions about any of these resources, or would like to suggest additional resources to list here, please contact John Haubrick.

Syllabus Template

Syllabus Template

The online and resident courses must adhere to the syllabus policies as outlined by University Faculty Senate policy 43-00.

Click on the following links to see specifics for required and optional topics for your syllabus.

PSU General Syllabus Policies

For the most recent list of required statement view the policy:

Course Information


  • Course Number and Title
  • Semester
  • Instructor: (e.g. name, contact information office hours)
  • Instructor availability & communication (e.g. response times, how to email, Zoom information if applicable)
  • Teaching assistant information (if applicable)
  • Course overview
  • Course goals
  • Course topics
  • Prerequisites (if applicable)



  • Textbooks and other materials for purchase (full citation including ISBN if applicable)
  • Free materials that are required for the course
  • Technology (free or paid) that is required for the course
    • Information on how to download, access or purchase the technology


  • Web materials links (e.g. online notes link, other external sites)

Technical Requirements

Optional (recommended)

  • Technical requirements for online courses on the Dept of Statistics website
  • Examity technical requirements (if applicable)

Student Expectations

Optional (recommended)

  • Participation (what is meant by 'participation' in your course, is it graded?)
  • Weekly cadence (what is the suggested weekly path through the lessons? (e.g. ...Monday: Read lesson notes and book, Tuesday: Start lab...))
  • Student responsibilities (what are they responsible for? reading all announcements? letting you know ahead of time of scheduling issues?)



  • Assessment plan
    • Assignments (what are the major categories? provide general overviews of each category)
    • Exams (how many?, which ones?, general overviews, are they proctored?)
  • Exam proctoring notice



  • Grading scale
  • Assignment category weighting

Optional (recommended)

  • Late and missing submission policy

Additional Policies


  • Disability accommodation statement
  • Counseling and psychological services statement
  • Educational equity/report bias
  • Academic integrity
  • Course copyright
  • Help resources

Optional (recommended)

  • Student responsibilities and conduct
  • Military personnel
  • Netiquette
  • Subject to change statement

Syllabus Template

Preview and download the accessible syllabus template in Microsoft Word.

Technical Competencies

Technical Competencies


Online instructors need to be proficient users of a range of applications related to teaching and learning online. Here is a basic checklist of tools and competencies involved:

Course Space

  • Add a variety of content types (files, links, pages, etc.)
  • Create and manage assessments (quizzes, exams, surveys, etc.)
  • Can rearrange content in Modules
  • Create an accessible home page
  • Can use the Calendar
  • Create and manage groups

Assessment & Grading

  • Can use Assignments and Quizzes to grade and provide feedback via Speedgrader
  • Can create and manage gradebook
  • Use reports to inquire into student activities
  • Can assist students with special learning needs


  • Can use Canvas conversations (Canvas Inbox)
  • Can use discussion forums
  • Can use Announcements
  • Can use live Chat

Live Meetings (Zoom)

  • Can use live office hours (Zoom
  • Can host synchronous sessions with chat in Zoom
  • Can share whiteboard
  • Can share computer screen
  • Can record and post meetings
  • Can use the telephone! (don't forget this one!)

Creating Videos

  • Can create screen captures via Zoom, Kaltura or some other technology
  • Can use Kaltura within Canvas to create quick videos
  • Can post the video to Box, YouTube or some other video host to share with students
  • Can use the Canvas video capture tool in Canvas for discussions, announcements, or grading feedback

File Sharing

If you need assistance with any of these technologies (or are just plain curious), please do not hesitate to contact John Haubrick.



What is Starfish?

According the PSU Starfish website...

Starfish is an enterprise advising tool that integrates with LionPATH to deliver advising notes, early progress reports (EPRs), and online scheduling of advising appointments. Starfish offers the Penn State community—including faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students—access to a robust student success system that can flag students at risk, pinpoint areas of concern, and connect students with valuable services and early interventions.

Every section at Penn State has an accompanying section in Starfish. We highly encourage the usage of Starfish to notify advisors of the student's progress.

Starfish Resources

Penn State provides a robust set of tutorials for using Starfish within your courses. Use the links below to view the various how-to's and demos.

Login to Starfish

Use Cases

Online Teaching Tips

Online Teaching Tips

This pages contains various teaching tips and best practices developed by the online STAT instructors.

Click on the links below to expand the selection.

Teaching Tips and Best Practices

Canvas File Upload Assignments can be graded in Speedgrader - BUT there is no timer connected to these assignments.

Canvas Quizzes have a timer. Canvas Quizzes can include a File Upload question type.

We use Canvas Quizzes for assessments. Often there is only one question in the quiz. The one question is a File Upload question. When the student enters the quiz, the timer starts and the student is presented in the first question of the quiz which has a a link to download the Word document with the questions to work on. When finished, they select the filled-in Word file and upload this back into the question. Once they get the message that their file has been submitted, THEN they can submit and exit the quiz. The time the student took to complete this one question is recorded.

Grading File Upload Questions

When you open the Speedgrader for these types of One-Question File Upload quizzes you see the results of the one question - the student's file that they uploaded. The Speedgrader will allow you to enter the points received for this one question but does NOT open the Word document online for comments.

Instead, here is one way to make the grading process efficient.

Grading using the Adobe Acrobat Reader App

  • Enter the Speedgrader and click on the link on the right for Download Submissions. You should now have all of the students submissions in one folder on your computer.
  • Use the web service Online 2 pdf ( to convert all the submitted word files into .pdf files if not already. This site will allow you to drag multiple files at once. If you convert multiple files, make sure you select Convert Files Separately for the Mode.
  • Copy all of your files into a folder in DropBox.
  • On the iPad download and install two free apps from the App Store: the Adobe Acrobat Reader app and Dropbox app.
  • In the Adobe Acrobat Reader app - look for the ability to connect this to your DropBox account.
  • Open the student .pdf files in you DropBox account through the Adobe Acrobat Reader app. Here you can use your stylus to grade the papers just as you would if they were printed out. Be sure to save before scrolling.
  • Once you have graded through all of the papers, they can be uploaded back into Canvas for each student.

Here is a quick overview of what this looks like.

Instructors teaching STAT online courses were asked to describe what their weekly work schedule looks like, a schedule that helps them routinely communicate and interact with students. Below are their responses. Obviously this may change from semester to semester based on the course that is being taught or the students in the course. However, the idea here is to share a basic understanding of what blocks of time are necessary for completing work as an online instructor.

Instructor Testimonials

Below are a few testimonials from the Department of Statistics online faculty.

"I work Monday through Saturday – various times of each day, though I log on at least 3 times a day to check for questions. I let the students know at the beginning of the semester that I will not log on Sunday. Assignments are usually due Sunday so I also request that they try to ask questions for the week before noon on Saturday to receive a response from me before the deadline. Each Monday I send an e-mail out discussing the current weeks events. I check my discussion forum and then e-mail to encourage more use of the forum rather than e-mail. If a day is light with questions, I work on adding material to the course, writing exams, or updating assignments."
"At a minimum, I check in at the beginning and end of each work day. This takes between thirty minutes and an hour in the morning and another half hour in the evening. I also look in sometime Saturday and Sunday morning, if I get a chance, and again early Sunday evening, as that is when assignments are due. This includes both Angel email and the discussion boards. Then, I usually spend most of Monday grading. If I have other conflicts on Monday, this gets pushed into Tuesday. This is important, because the students need feedback before they get too far into the next lesson. If I am going to be any later with the grading, I send a message to the class. Similarly, if I am going to be out of touch due to travel, I also send a note and push back deadlines if necessary."
"In my case, the lessons and assessments are posted during the weekend and collected on Monday, one week later. So, most of the students’ questions come in on the weekends. A daily breakdown for me would be as follows:
  • Sunday: new material is already posted; frequent student questions about the assessment on the current lesson due the following day; 2-3 hours are spent over the course of the day answering questions.
  • Monday: moderate level of student questions over current material due later that day; 1-2 hours spent answering questions; I also post an introductory message about the new material for that week.
  • Tuesday: solutions for assessment just turned in are prepared, along with grader instructions for partial credit; 1-2 hours are spent for this; there few questions over the new material at this point.
  • Wednesday: few questions over the material; 1-2 hours at most spent for this; on weeks of midterms, this day and Thursday are usually spent grading and working on solutions, which would be around 6-8 hours.
  • Thursday: few questions over the material; 1-2 hours at most spent for this.
  • Friday: new week’s folder and assessment are prepared, 2-3 hours spent for this. Saturday: any changes to new material yet to be posted are made at this point, frequent student questions about current material, probably 2-3 hours are spent over the course of the day."
"I usually open a new lesson on Sunday, the day before the previous lesson is due. That gets me working in ANGEL at the same time that many of my students are trying to complete their work that’s due Monday, so I’m more likely to be able to respond to emails quickly. During the week, I check email and contribute to the discussion boards around midday. Students who emailed late the night before or in the morning seem to get responses in a reasonable amount of time that way. I do most of my grading in the early mornings or late evenings when students tend not to be working. I don’t think that there’s any particular advantage to this, it’s just more convenient for me to do more substantive work when it doesn’t conflict with my full-time job."
"This is a rough breakdown for the time I spend teaching online each week:
  • Monday: 2 - 5 hours to grade and give feedback for the weekly lab activity and maybe 1 hour to answer any emails that may come in.
  • Tuesday: 1 hour throughout the day to answer e-mails
  • Wednesday: 2 hours to set up and record my office hours in Adobe Connect. 1 hour to answer e-mails.
  • Thursday & Friday: 1 hour throughout the day to answer emails.
  • Saturday: The assignment is due Sunday, so the volume of emails increases, so I spend maybe 2 hours throughout the day answering emails.
  • Sunday: This is the assignment due date, and try as I might to dissuade them, many of my student let their assignments go until the last day. This results in me spending maybe 3 hours throughout the day answering emails.

Note: When I’m answering emails, I use text if the problem is simple, and video if they ask a more in-depth problem, so I may spend more or less time responding to students depending on the material of the week."

"I check emails several times a day, including weekends, and I pay close attention when the deadline for assignments approaches (Monday night). I try to open up assignments a few weeks prior in case students want to get ahead. In a typical week, if the lessons warrant it, early-to-mid week I create and post one or more short (no more than 15 min) videos covering lesson concepts and working through examples. I then grade the labs completed from the previous lesson (this takes the most time). Weekends are spent mostly answering to student questions. There are other non-regular duties, like creating the midterms, updating the labs, responding to discussion posts, adding resources, etc."
"I check my e-mail at least once in the morning, noon, afternoon, and evening daily to see if I need to answer any question or concern. If I need to send a reminder I send them. If I see a student’s comment or concern is valuable, I share that with the entire class. I check discussion forum once a day to see I need address any issue. I have set office hours Tuesday and Thursday 12:00-1:25, and students call in for any question or comments. If a student calls in other times and leaves a message, I return the call. I do grading Sunday evening, all day Monday and Tuesday afternoons."

Interaction between and among students and the instructor is an important component of any online course. In a discussion all can see and learn from the give and take. How do we encourage discussion in the courses we teach?

Best Practices from Colleagues

For more about the tools to use for online discussion visit Communicating Online

Working with TAs is 90% about communication! Here are comments from experienced instructors:

During the First Few Weeks

Below are a few testimonials from the Department of Statistics online faculty.

"My first email to the grader should is a general description of what to expect over the semester. I add their name to the Canvas roster and provide a weekly schedule of topics and due dates."
"I ask about their experience with Canvas and adding comments in the drop box or Speedgrader. It’s not safe to assume that they know all about grading in Canvas."
"I prepare a short document that introduces the grader/TA to the course and lists your expectations."
"In the first few weeks, I review the way my grader/TA is correcting assignments, and make sure I agree with their point assignment and level of detail given in their feedback for the student."

As the Semester Progresses

"I send my grader a weekly note to let them know specific things you are looking for in that week's assignments. Periodically, and for some of the more complicated assignments, I review their grading and comments."
"I copy my TA when communicating in email. They don’t usually log on as regularly. So use this to keep communication open."
"It is very important for the grader to post scores promptly each week, so the students know when to expect them, especially before an exam."

Also Important to Note

"I provide solutions for the grader and then describe with a point-by-point breakdown what to look for and how to assign partial credit for each question. If anything is unclear, I encourage the grader to ask me about it. Students also appreciate comments whenever any deduction is made---or even if no deduction is made. I ask the grader to make such comments available to the students for every submission."
"I stress the importance of detailed comments – even with solutions available. The TA is often the main point of communication with many of the students."

Proctored Exams

Proctored Exams

World Campus Courses

The exam proctoring process is managed through Examity® for all online courses delivered through World Campus. Examity® is Examity Logoa company that specializes in proctoring exams for many institutions of higher education. (For all University Park web-based course sections that have proctored exams, the management of the proctoring of exams is the responsibility of the instructor.). Here is information about the proctoring process with Examity® as it is shared with students: O.3 What is a Proctored Exam?

Before the Semester

Prior to the semester the department faculty will determine a range of dates or 'window' for when proctored exams will take place.  In addition, department faculty will establish rules for taking the exam. The rules for taking the exam include the time limit for the exam and what materials students may or may not be able to access during the exam. This also may include what software is required.

Before the semester begins there are several steps that must happen in order to 'link' up Examity with the course section.

Our main goal is to have the exams ready for students to schedule in the second week of the course. That does not mean the questions have to be populated or updated at this point...just the settings.

Populate the course

In Canvas, populate the new section by importing from a previous semester or a master course.

Start the sync

  1. Add the Examity dashboard link to your Canvas navigation. (Settings > Navigation > (Enable Examity))
  2. Click on the Examity link in your course navigation. 
  3. Complete and submit the form for World Campus. This will be approved.

Canvas Prep

  1. Double check that the Examity page is in your 'getting started' module.
  2. Set up your proctored exams in the Canvas space. The settings should match those that were confirmed before the semester. (The proctored exams do not have to have the current questions for the new semester...they can be added or updated later)
Note: The sync between Canvas and Examity will happen nightly unless we have the sync turned off or someone edits exam settings in Examity.

Examity Exam Settings

Create your settings in both Canvas and Examity.

  • Hover over the '+' signs to see the corresponding setting in Canvas.
  • Click on the '+' signs to see more information regarding that setting.

Exam Rules

Along with the basic settings you will also want to verify the exam rules in Examity match what you have communicated to students.

Hover your mouse over the images below to see the direction for that particular slide. Use the arrows to move to the next step.

The following statement should be included in your syllabus. This statement was provided by the university's legal counsel and is required to be included in the syllabus. The statement also appears in the course information on the World Campus course catalog for courses offered through the World Campus.

"This course may require you to take exams using certain proctoring software that uses your computer’s webcam or other technology to monitor and/or record your activity during exams. The proctoring software may be listening to you, monitoring your computer screen, viewing you and your surroundings, recording and storing any and all activity (including visual and audio recordings) during the proctoring process. By enrolling in this course, you consent to the use of the proctoring software selected by your instructor, including but not limited to any audio and/or visual monitoring which may be recorded. Please contact your instructor with any questions."

Also Add to your Syllabus

"In this class you will take your tests remotely and they will be proctored by a service called Examity®. A Student Quick-Guide will be provided on how to use Examity®. Please log in as soon as possible to set up your profile. You will not be able to schedule exams until your profile is complete. Examity® system requirements are:

  • Desktop computer or laptop (tablets, Chromebook and cell phones do not meet our requirements)
  • Webcam and microphone (built-in or external).
  • Connection to network with sufficient internet speed: at least 2 Mbps download speed and 2 Mbps upload.
  • Operating systems: Windows XP–Windows 10, Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)–10.11 (El Capitan)
  • Browser with pop-up blocker disabled: Google Chrome v39 or later, Mozilla Firefox v34 or later, Internet Explorer v8 or later, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari v6 or later.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact Examity’s technical support team 24/7 via email at or phone at (855) 392-6489.”

Use this Examity System Check to determine if your computer is ready:

Examity Computer Readiness Check

Check or create exam shells for each of the exams in your course that will be proctored. Confirm that the exam dates, rules and other details are in place for your exams.


When all of the exams are set up in both Canvas and Examity the settings should match between Canvas, the the Exam spreadsheet and the Examity dashboard.

examity settings

Examity Dashboard:

examity dashboard

During the Semester

In your opening announcements you could include the following.

"In this class you will take your tests remotely and they will be proctored by a service called Examity®. Review the Student Quick-Guide, which is available in the modules tab, for instructions on how to use Examity®.
Please log in as soon as possible to set up your profile. You will not be able to schedule exams until your profile is complete."

We highly encourage students who have not taken an exam with Examity to schedule and take the practice exam. The practice exams are available up until the first exam date.

Information Regarding the Photo ID Requirement

You can share the following with your students.

"You will need to upload a picture of your photo ID to Examity. If you have a Penn State ID card with your photo printed on it, you can use that. This announcement is specifically for the World Campus students who do not currently have a Penn State ID with photo:

Our exam proctor, Examity, requires photo ID. The requirements are that your photo and name are visible. You may use a drivers license, state ID, or passport. Some students are hesitant to post these documents. One compromise is to cover up the other information on the ID. Some students will tape a piece of paper over their address, birth date, and other information. Another compromise is to get a Penn State ID with photo.

Here is the information from the id+ Office about how World Campus students can obtain an ID card with their photo on it.

To get a photo ID, WC students can visit any Penn State campus to exchange a non-photo ID card for an actual photo ID. (ID Card Locations for Penn State Students) If a WC student visits one of these offices to receive a photo id+ card, they should do so after receiving a non-photo ID and exchange the non-photo ID to avoid a replacement fee. If you visit before the WC card is sent out, you may proceed with another photo ID and pay a replacement fee. Additional photo ID such as a driver’s license, military ID or passport will be needed at the time of visit.


The only requirement for instructors is to be sure that the exam title in Canvas has '(Proctored)' in the title. Create the exams in Canvas. Canvas Quizzes allow the the inclusion of a timer. Exams must be ready for students to access before the exam date window begins. Be sure that the exam is locked using a password (Canvas calls these access codes). The password in Canvas must match the password in Examity.

You can verify that students have scheduled by going to your Examity dashboard (link in your Canvas space) and going to Reports > Schedule Status. Signing up late (< 24 hours) could result in a $3.00 late fee for the student or they may not be able to secure a time that works best for them.

Students will navigate to the Examity Dashboard and schedule a time to take the exam. This is very much like booking a hotel. The student's scheduling window looks like this:

Examity window for student scheduling

And, not to worry, the Examity scheduling interface takes into account how long the exam is and places a buffer within the scheduling interface so that student can not schedule a 2 hour exam with only 1 hour left in the exam window.  Here is an example of how that buffer is put into place so that the student has enough time to authenticate and take the exam before the Canvas timer runs out at midnight. In the example below, the latest time that a student can schedule a 2 hour exam is 9:30 pm:

Examity Exam window

Send Reminder Email 

You can email scheduling reminders through Examity. The email will be sent to the student's PSU email.

  1. Choose the 'Reports' tab on your dashboard.
  2. Next, choose 'Schedule Status Report.'
  3. Select your course.
  4. Choose the hyperlink under 'Unscheduled.'
  5. Select 'All' or select the students you wish to email.
  6. Choose 'Send Reminder Email.'

Students take the exam in the presence of a professional Examity® proctor. The student logs into Canvas, navigates to the Examity® Dashboard, goes through the identification process, agrees to any exam rules and then the proctor types in the exam password for the student. The proctor monitors the exam environment to ensure that the student adheres to the exam rules.

Once the students have completed the exams you can now grade it within Canvas just like any other quiz or exam. Videos of exams that are green or yellow flagged are kept for 30 days. Exams that are red flagged are kept for 1 year. After these time periods they are archived per FERPA guidelines. You will get an email from Examity for any red flags.

Special Considerations

Typically instructors set up special accommodations within the exam settings in Canvas. In addition, the Examity® proctor also needs to be made aware of students with any special instructions. Instructors must login to the Examity® dashboard and complete the following steps:

  1. Indicate in the exam shell that there are students that require extended time or special accommodations.
  2. Under the Students tab in the dashboard, indicate the details regarding the extended time or other special instructions.

Direction for Extended Time on an Exam

What to do for Examity….

  1. Indicate in the exam shell that there are students that require extended time or special accommodations. (Courses/Exams > edit exam > select Yes for Any need for extended time and/or special accommodations?)
  2. Under the Students tab in the Examity dashboard search for the student. You must use the ‘search’ feature to find the student or you will not see the pencil icon to edit. Add the details regarding the extended time or other special instructions to the ‘edit student’ window that appears after selecting the pencil.

What to do for Canvas…

Extend the time for the student in the Canvas exam by using the ‘moderate this quiz’ feature. For details on how to do this view the Canvas guide: ‘Once I publish a timed quiz, how can I give my students extra time?

What to do for Examity…

Students that need to take the exam early or late (outside of the normal exam window) should contact you with their request. If you approve, then send an email request to and copy our Account Manager, Nina O’Brien at Examity® (

Include the following information in your email:

  • Subject Line: Penn State – Permission Granted – To Schedule Outside Testing Window
  • Course Name, Section and ID (7 digit # in course URL)
  • Exam Name
  • Student First/Last Name Extension Granted
  • New dates and times for rescheduling

What to tell the student...

Once the email has been sent – please ask the student to call the Examity support desk at 855-392-6489, option 1 and a support agent will be able to schedule the student. Neither Examity® nor World Campus will give out the unlock codes to a student.

What to do for Canvas…

Add a due date extension to the exam for that particular student. Also, do not forget to adjust the availability dates! The Examity proctors cannot change this. On more than one occasion our students have signed up for an exam outside of the testing window but then had to cancel since the exam was not open in Canvas. View the Canvas guide on how to set a due for just one student.

The following could be shared with students. This information is also contained with the Examity student guide.

Students are strongly encouraged to login and be present for any exams that they schedule with an Examity proctor. Not showing up for a scheduled exam wastes proctoring time and results in a 'no-show' charge to the department. If you can not attend at your scheduled time, students are asked to use the Examity Dashboard to cancel and reschedule the exam at no cost. Scheduling exams less than 24 hours in advance will result in an exam fee billed to the student. Plan ahead. Schedule ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to study.

Some exams require students to upload a document into Canvas. Occasionally students will have problems with this upload. As an additional integrity precaution, sometimes the Examity proctor may ask the student to upload the file directly to Examity. In these cases instructors will find a link to this file on the Exam Status page for that student's exam.

All questions from students related to proctoring the exam, or technical problems with Examity® are to be addressed by Examity® Support. They are available 24/7. Their chat and other contact information can be found in the Examity® dashboard. Any problems related to Canvas or their computer can be directed to World Campus Technical Support.

Instructor Resources

Required Course Materials

Required Course Materials

Canvas Best Practices: Faculty

Canvas Best Practices: Faculty
Canvas icon

Canvas is the learning management system used to deliver our online courses at Penn State. The information on this page provides some useful tips that we recommend in our online courses. This is not a comprehensive list of how to use Canvas. To see all Canvas documentation visit the Canvas Instructor Guides.


One way to help personalize you in the course is to create a Canvas profile with your picture. The picture appears small in the course so it's a best practice to use a picture where they can see you clearly.

For steps on adding a profile picture please visit the Canvas guide 'How do I edit my profile in my user account as an instructor?'.

In order for your announcements to appear dynamically for students when they first log into your course, set your announcements to appear on your Canvas course homepage.

For steps on adding recent announcements to your homepage visit the Canvas guide 'How do I show recent announcements in the Canvas Course Home Page?''


Communicating with individual students

For the online courses, it's a best practice to use the learning management system (Canvas) email tool (Conversations) for all private communications between you and an individual student. This keeps all communication in one place.

For more information on using Conversations in Canvas visit 'How do I use Conversations as an instructor?'.


For whole class communication, we recommend using canvas announcements. These communications would not contain personal student information related to grades or other information. Use Conversations for individual student concerns and grades.

The announcements provide a full editor as well as the ability to add video or audio posts. The students receive the full text of announcements in their school email and any other email they set up in their notifications.

See the following guides for details and additional information on Canvas announcements.

Canvas Discussions

Canvas discussions allow students and teachers to discuss asynchronously in a threaded forum. When using discussions in your class consider the following tips:

  • Select 'users must post before seeing replies' if you're asking a question and would like to see original thought on the student's replies.
  • If you have a general open question forum then do not make users post before seeing replies.
  • Consider using 'group discussions' if you have a large class. The smaller groups can create less anxiety in some students.
  • Remember that just like in class, students must first build community before you can expect to see a free flow of ideas.
  • Providing them with netiquette rules can help reduce inappropriate or unhelpful posts. (Netiquette - College of EMS)

For more information regarding Canvas discussions view 'How do I create a discussion as an instructor?'.


Adding assignments to the gradebook

Any graded assignment, quiz, or discussion will appear in the gradebook as soon as the item is created in Canvas.

Exporting to LionPath

The 'final grade' listed in the Canvas gradebook may not be the exact grade that exports to Canvas. If you have any ungraded submissions the grade in Canvas reflects as if that assignment did not count. If you export with ungraded submissions, Canvas will turn that score into a zero. One way to verify the score you are exporting is to export the Canvas gradebook into a CSV file. The last column in the CSV file reflects the grade that is exported to LionPath.

The directions on how to prepare your grades for export to LionPath can be found in the STAT Online Faculty guide as well on the Penn State Knowledge Base: Canvas: Prepare Grades for LionPath.

There are two ways to enter the grades into LionPath. View the following tutorials for assistance in each:

There are many ways for students to communicate with their instructor in Canvas. If your notifications are not set correctly you may not receive them. Here are a few of the commonly missed ones that you should set your notifications to receive.

For more on how to set your notifications view the Canvas instructor guide 'How do I set my Canvas notification preferences as an instructor?'

The following are notifications recommended that you should set to receive immediately.

Announcements New announcements posted by your TA
Announcements created by you Great way to verify your announcement went out to the students
Invitation Students or TA may invite you to a collaboration or web conference
Late Grading This will let you know when an assignment was submitted late and requires grading
Submission Comment Students may leave a comment when they submit their assignment. Without a notification, you will not see this comment until you grade the submission.
Discussion Post Will send notifications of any new posts in a topic you're subscribed to. I would subscribe to any 'help' forums.
Added to Conversation When you are added to a conversation
Conversation Message You will get a notification when a student messages you via the inbox
Administrative Alerts I would sign up for this as a daily report


The following video addresses how to update your Canvas quizzes with new or updated questions from another course or master course.


Navigating the course in Canvas should be smooth and not require any extra cognitive load on the student. It also is important to have a consistent navigation across the STAT program as students move from course to course.

The World Campus user interface study recommended the following order for your course navigation (in order):

  • Home
  • Announcements
  • Syllabus
  • Modules
  • Grades
  • People

After people, add ‘Discussions’, as well as any other 3rd party tools like ‘’ and ‘Piazza.’

View the Canvas guide on how to order your course menu links, 'How do I manage course navigation links?.'

The first time students enter the course what do you want them to see? How do they get started? Introduce yourself (video?) and the course to engage their interest both socially and cognitively.

Examples of mobile-friendly home pages with Penn State styling can be found in the STAT Online Faculty Resources Canvas site (PSU STAT instructors access only).

Organize by nicknames

Too many Canvas sections to sift through? Too long of a course title? You can fix this in Canvas by using ‘nicknames’. Course nicknames show up in the dashboard, course navigation menu, ‘all courses’ list, course breadcrumbs, and notification emails. Your ‘all courses’ list will arrange alphabetically by your nickname. So if you like to group by courses you could use ‘415.002 SU19’ or if you want to group by semester you could use ‘SU19 415.002’.

The short nickname is extremely helpful when trying to find your course while composing a message in the inbox.

The nickname is different than the course name in the settings of your course. The names in the settings sync with Examity so it's best to not modify them. This is why nicknames are so useful. Only you see it!

View the Canvas guide to see how to set a course nickname, 'How do I view my favorite courses in the Card View Dashboard as an instructor?'.

Resource Links

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