Some educators are very confident with the online or take-home exam space. If that is you, then this probably isn't the blog for you. But it might give you some ideas and bolster your confidence in what you are already doing.
But if you're an educator and you know you are very good at what you do, but are lacking that confidence when it comes to setting take-home or online exams then this is the blog for you.
Some questions educators commonly have around take-home exams are:
So let's go through these.
Whether or not students cheat and/or plagiarise on a take-home or online exam are often directly related to the third point, the quality of the questions. Below are some easy-to-use strategies to help limit the temptation for students to cheat and/or plagiarise on your take-home exams or online exams.
First things first, let's define cheating in this context. Given that a take-home exam or an online exam allows students to use resources at their disposal - notes, texts, the internet, etc. - it is quite likely that one of those resources they may use is each other. Let's agree that it's not "cheating" for students to work together or struggle through some questions by bouncing ideas off each other.
What is "cheating," however, is if students go online and pay someone to write the exam for them or provide them with answers.
So what is the best way to create a situation where the latter is very difficult?
Depending on your institution's policies, if you can open the exam timeline and close it within a set period of time, make sure to communicate that timeline in advance to students. Often access to devices and internet for take-home exams is not the same as if students were in class or on campus, so communicating the timing of the take-home or online exam in advance so that students can plan is very important.
And when in doubt, it's often better to be kind and generous in this time of anxiety and uncertainty rather than to be harsh. Our job as educators is to assess what students have learned, to the best of our abilities, rather than to try and catch or trap them.
Take-home and online exams may be new to you now, but COVID19 is changing the landscape of education now and into the future and these types of exams are likely going to be here to stay. So why not take this opportunity to experiment with these types of assessments now?
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EssayJack is an interactive web platform with a patented solution that pre-structures student essays, reduces writing anxiety, and allows educator customization and feedback. Ranked as one of the top English Language teaching digital innovations in the world by the British Council and Cambridge English, EssayJack was created by award-winning educators and can be customized for almost any writing task.