Tidbits, Resources, and Discussion for ELI Faculty

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Random Bullets Thursday

It has been a crazy week, so just some random bullets today:
  • Today was the ELI Beach Party--and it was great that we had some faculty attend as well as ELI staff. I hope to see more of you at the next event! We always have a good time. We even had sand (albeit contained in a plastic shell).
  • How did it get to be only one month left until fall classes start?!
  • Please vote in the poll on the left, if you haven't already.
  • The new trend for ensuring that students are taking their own exams is using things like webcams that scan the environment for 360 degrees around the student (to ensure no one else is in the room feeding answers), palm or other scans to verify a student's identity, and even typing pattern recognition software (you capture a student's pattern early in the course and then make sure the same pattern appears when the student takes the exam). What do you think? Useful, or creepy? How do you imagine ELI students dealing with such measures (which might allow them to take their exams at home and not have to arrange a proctor or go to a testing center)?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Beach Party was great! Kudos to the social committee!

Laura said...

webcams? Big Brother is watching.
It is not unheard of for classroom courses to have "take-home" exams that can be just as challenging - and perhaps demand more higher order thinking than merely a testing of factual knowledge. Perhaps the way for distance learning exams to go is to focus on development of challenging "take home" exams?
If the "time out" on Bb actually worked - really kicked a student out of an exam when time ran out - that too might effective is asuring that students are not taking the time to look up the answers. If they take too much time to do that, then they won't have time to finish the exam. Of course, the instructor would need to know what a reasonable amount of time would be for a student to complete the exams so they know how long to set them for. I have been tracking for years how long my students typically take to complete my objective exams. For Bb to track this, one does have to set a time limit to begin with but I set it to much more time than anyone would ever need. Buy now I have a history of average time for each exam I've been using for years.

Jennifer Lerner said...

Taking exams at home on BB without having identity checks would, unfortunately, not address the problem. The reason we have proctored exams is not really so that students can be prevented from looking up their answers, although I suppose that is part of it. Rather, the main thing we are addressing (and which is required for our SACS accreditation) is that we can prove that the student taking the exam is actually the student enrolled in the course (i.e., that friends, family, or purchased help are not earning a student's grade/degree for him).

Laura said...

>the main thing we are addressing is that we can prove that the student taking the exam is actually the student enrolled in the course <
I had not thought of that angle. Well, a webcam would not work too well for that either since we generally don't know what our distance students look like we could be seeing anyone on the webcam (unless we started having students send in scanned picture IDs).

Jennifer Lerner said...

No, you are right, a webcam can't address that. The webcam IS to address cheating--it is to show whether the student has someone else in the room helping him, or books and notes sitting next to the computer or whatever.

The student's identity is captured by the types of things I mentioned in the main post--fingerprint capture, matching of typing styles/patterns, etc.