This workshop was held on Friday, October 23rd, 2020 at noon.
Do YOU know what you are doing for your final exams this term?
In this week’s Lunch and Learn we will be talking about final exams. What worked well for instructors in the online format? What didn’t work so well and could be improved for this term? Whether you are teaching this term, next term or in the future, we want to hear about your experiences and plans for final exams.
If you have questions about delivering final exams online, this is a great forum to ask those questions and hear from those instructors who have already experienced it.
A few key themes raised during the session:
Issues with Proctorio:
Instructors brought up points that several students have issues with Proctorio and the company’s practices, specially around invasions of privacy and stifling criticism. Proctorio has had issues with students in China being locked out erroneously and with facial recognition having issues with people of colour. Although Proctorio seems like a good way to avoid academic misconduct, there are reports that students have found work-arounds and can still cheat during Proctorio-enabled exams. The Learning Centre staff mentioned that instructors have been discouraged from using Proctorio due to the concerns of students and the lack of outright benefits of Proctorio-enabled exams over ones not using it, unless invigilated examinations are a requirement of a professional program.
Gradescope v/s Canvas quizzes:
Gradescope is like crowdmark where students can upload their exams for online grading for both online and paper exams. It allows you to easily change your rubric if you feel the original rubric needs adjustments on account of being too lenient or too harsh and makes the changes retroactively. It has advantages over Canvas’ speedgrader where multiple graders’ gradings are not overwritten on top of each other. Canvas quizzes, however, have benefit over Gradescope with randomization of questions, answers, and question groups (I’m not positive about this).
Academic Integrity and Contract Cheating:
Contract cheating is where students hire others to assist them in their exam. In the most extreme of cases, the contractor writes the entire exam in place of the student and, more commonly, the contractor answers student’s questions when needed.
Photographs with IDs at the beginning of an exam session is used to identify the test taker but carries its own issues. For example, identifying the student in the photograph and matching it with the displayed ID is an extraneous task and the process can still be fooled as the student can take the intitial photograph and still switch places with a contractor to write the test.
Students can also go online during the exams and ask for answers from tutors or specialists. There are many online platforms, such as Chegg, that support this. Chegg is a tutoring service where students can post questions and ask specialists for answers. This type of contract cheating is more prevalent in long-duration exams. Points were raised about monitoring Chegg for avoiding academic misconduct. Some other points raised were that academic misconduct can be hard to detect and the easier workaround for this would be open-book examinations and exam design that makes the exam more applied and create unique sets in some way.
Questions were raised about the use of Digital ID’s for student identification for exams. Ideas that were brought up were that Digital IDs can be used in cases where students don’t have access to their physical ID’s. the other option is to not ID students for the examinations. A note shared during the session regarding this was:
“Science students have been encouraged to sign up for a digital card via the Distillation e-mails (https://ubccard.ubc.ca/obtaining-a-ubccard/students).
Students can contact firstname.lastname@example.org if they need additional support. The card folks are not encouraging getting a physical card unless a student needs it, since they don’t have a way to safely handle many people.”
Use of Cheat Sheets:
Some instructors brought up the point that the use of “cheat sheets” has helped them ensure that the students are studying for their exams. Cheat sheets are a single-sided or double-sided paper where students can write down some important points or formulae that they would need for their exams. Preparing the cheat sheet can take a few attempts to ensure that all of their information fits on it and some students have told their instructors that preparing these sheets has helped them remember things better.
Providing Feedback on Exams:
The questions raised were related to the logistics of providing feedback on exams to students in courses where the practice has been to not let students take home the exam copies. Ideas that were proposed were having the students given the feedback over audio (Zoom calls) and using the Respondus lockdown browser that locks down their computer during the answer sessions.
|For Final Exams in the last 2 terms:|
|What Worked?||What did not work?|
-Understanding of the course content
-Providing extra time to students who needed more access time
-Drawing from a larger pool of questions using a question bank
-Questions geared to critical thinking and not just memory of facts
|-ESL students struggled |
-People trying Zoom as an exam monitoring software
-Canvas images for some students not showing up
-Proctorio locked out students erroneously and has issues with facial recognition. Students were very unhappy with Proctorio
-Gradescope had some issues
-Handing in graphs drawn by students in exams can be made to work but it is difficult
|What are the pros and cons of traditional paper-based exams v/s online exams|
|-Used to it |
-Instructors had it when they were students
-Can be structured in the instructors’ own way without Canvas restrictions
-Easier to draw graphs directly compared to uploading a file with use of drawing tools, etc.
|-Printing the exams |
-High stress environment for students
-Stressful for students to be packed together in a large lecture hall
-Marking paper-based exams