Rethinking the Exam Structure
Day states that the online exam switch is an opportunity for instructors and students to reexamine their exams. Day says that it requires you to question the reasons you hold exams, how you hold them, and why they are held at all.
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 into your exam. This will open up the possibility of students providing answers and allowing you to ask more questions.
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 states 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, on vacations 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.
Students Remind: Online Cheating is Sometimes 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. Day says that cheating can be solved in a similar way to a public safety or public health campaign. It focuses on behavior and how it converts risk-taking behavior into help seeking behavior.
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. "When paper-based exams were used all around the globe, an exam supervisor would supervise exams. She might have only overseen a few exams per year and was not trained beyond a brochure that we sent. 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 better, in my opinion.
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. "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 and a chat log.
These logs and recordings are valuable for both the student and university. Day states that if it is just an oddity that occurred, but not misconduct, we don't have to raise any issues. It's clear that we believe it might be misconduct. Here's the video. The student and the institution are not left hanging.
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