Exam Procedures and Rules

Testing and evaluation is an important part of every learning program; we are doing our best to discourage cheating and to ensure that online exams will be fair. In particular, we generate different exams for each student and require you to provide a recording of webcam, audio and computer screen during the exam.

What you need

To take the exam, you will need:

  • A computer with webcam, microphone, and internet connection.
  • The Zoom client, to record your webcam, audio, and computer screen.
  • Access to your GitHub account, to obtain the exam and add your answers.

You can use a 8.5x11 handwritten cheatsheet (front and back); please show this to the camera before the beginning of the exam. No calculators or compilers allowed :-)

How to start recording

The easiest solution is Zoom, but other alternatives are valid too. Make sure that you test your ability to record well before the exam.

  • Zoom (needs reliable internet connection):
    • Select your “Personal Meeting ID” and click “Join from a Room”
    • Start audio and video
    • Click “Share Screen” then “Desktop 1” and “Share” (you will see a green border around your screen).
    • Now click “More” and “Record on this Computer” or “Record to the Cloud”.
      If you record locally, you will need to upload the mp4 recording and provide a link to that at the end of the exam; if you record in the cloud, Zoom will notify you when the recording has been processed and you will share a link/password for that. Either way, you need to have a reliable internet connection during your exam (otherwise, Zoom will quit the meeting); if this is not the case, use OBS Studio.
  • OBS Studio:
    • Download and install OBS Studio
    • When prompted, select “Optimize for recording” and run the “configuration wizard”
    • In “sources”, click + then Display Capture; right-click on the screen capture, then Resize output (source size).
    • In “sources”, click + then Video Capture Device (select your camera under Device if needed); resize your camera rectangle to the bottom right corner.
    • Now click on Start Recording in the bottom right corner; File > Show Recordings will show you where the mkv recording file is (you need to upload this to Google Drive and submit a link).
  • QuickTime Player (macOS)
    • This is actually possible (instruction here) but a bit tricky: you need to open two QuickTime windows, one to show your video on screen, and the other to capture screen (including your video) and audio.

How to obtain your exam

To obtain your exam:

  1. Start recording your webcam, audio, and computer screen.
  2. Five minutes before the start time, go to bit.ly/cs356-fall20-mt2, select “I am currently recording…,” and submit the form.

  3. After a few minutes, access the invitation at:
    (uscuser is your USC username before @usc.edu; you need to log into your GitHub account first.)

How to answer the questions

The repository has only one file “mt1.md” (mt2.md for Midterm II):

You should edit this file on the GitHub website.
Click on the file name; you will see its contents with formatting:

Click on the “Edit” icon to the right; you will be able to add your answers:

Make sure that you save frequently using the green “Commit changes” button at the end of this page (just click the button, it will create a commit and push it automatically):

How to ask a question

If you need to ask a question, use a private Piazza post; we’ll respond as quickly as possible.

What to do when time is over

Save your work! We’ll check the time of your changes to verify that you didn’t submit after the deadline; it’s up to you to keep an eye on the time (set an alarm if needed).

Next, you should resubmit the Google form (using the same link) to add a link to your video in the last field; likely, you will need some time before the video is ready (either locally or in the cloud).

Good luck! Last bit of advice: make sure that you solve the sample exams to prepare.