Rethink the Exam Structure
Day states that instructors can reexamine exams by switching from paper to online tests. It requires you to think about why and how exams are held.
Administrators at UNE are looking into ending an exam period that was originally created for logistical reasons. Day states that it was necessary to book all exam venues, move the chairs and desks in, and have the supervisors prepared in the papers. "Now, we can hold exams anywhere, anytime and any day. Why do we need an exam time? It allows structural changes to the academic calendar and gives us a few weeks back for teaching.
Day suggests that you can also include elements of video or website exploration in your exam. This will open up the types of questions you ask as well as the types of answers students are able to provide.
Prioritize Student Convenience
Many instructors attempt to replicate a lecture hall exam when they move to online exams by having all the students take the test simultaneously. Day states that academic integrity is a major reason why so many institutions I spoke to believe it should be done this way. Day disagrees. She suggests asking questions that require deeper understanding, even if the student has received an advance question from someone who has already taken it.
Day says that asynchronous exams can help students manage multiple aspects of their life. She says that students can decide to sit their exams at any time they like, including after work or after the children have gone to bed.
Students at UNE have taken their exams while deployed, from bed, during illness, and on cruise ships. One student even took his law test under a gum tree in remote Australia. Day said that while we don't know the reason he did that, it worked for him that day.
Remind students that online cheating is often less successful
Cheating is a crime where there are exams. Cheating was a crime that could lead to death, even in ancient China, where the first exams were created. Day states that cheating continues to be a problem. "The solution to cheating, according to me, is much like a public safety or public health campaign. You talk about behavior in terms converting risk-taking behavior towards help-seeking behaviour.
UNE partners with ProctorU to conduct its exams. Students can schedule exams 24/7 with a live proctor, who verifies student identity and monitors student behavior using AI technology. This AI technology flags unusual behavior to the proctor, such as eye movements or typing speed variations.
Day claims that this method is more effective in preventing cheating then the old university's in-person centers. "In paper-based exams, there was a supervisor who would only oversee a few exams per year and have no training other than the brochure we sent. This person would then supervise our exams. It became obvious to me that many times, they were checking that the student had an identification card and not that they looked the same as the photos on the ID cards. They weren't very good at gathering evidence. If they suspected cheating, they weren't very good at asserting their rights. Online, supervised exams are, in my opinion, much better.
Keep in mind that there is still a human involved
Privacy is a common concern with online exams. People say that it's strange. Day said that someone is watching me via a webcam. "I don't like it. They will see things in my bedroom." "We tell Day, "Just don't have your exam inside your bedroom."
This is a valid concern that the university takes into consideration and offers students an alternative exam. Recently, this has been in the form a video-based test. This option has been chosen by about 5 percent of students so far.
Another concern is that an AI or proctor from another company could decide cheating cases. This is not the case. Day states that if there is anything unusual, Day and his partner are notified. "Then we as humans decide what to do." We have a video, the chat log, and the log from our learning management system.
These logs and recordings are valuable for both the university and the student. Day states that "we don't have to raise any issues if it was something unusual that happened, but it wasn't misconduct." "Wherever we believe it might be misconduct, it is very clear -- 'Here are the videos, it's evident'. It doesn't become a lengthy proceeding for either the student or institution.
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