Online Exams

What are online exams, and how do they work?

Educational Technology supports School of Medicine courses interested in conducting their final exams online. Pending scheduling availability, Educational Technology will work with your course to consult on best practices for setting up your exam in CourseWork, as well as coordinating learning spaces and resources for your exam. Generally during final exams week, the LKSC Lecture Halls are reserved for courses hold online exams and turned into temporary "computer labs", which can accommodate approximately 100 students between the two rooms, while at the same time allowing for extra space between students. The laptops come with both Windows and Mac OSX, however, we use Mac OSX to facilitate the administration of the exams: using Apple Remote Desktop, we can easily configure all laptops at once to specify which browsers should be use, which programs are available to use or are restricted, as well as controlling internet access.

For courses with over 100 students, please contact us for a consultation.

Outside of finals week, the M206 Computer Lab is also available for reservation for holding online exams.

What are examples of successful uses of online exams?

Educational Technology has supported online exams successfully for several years, and have progressively improved the process over the years to accommodate more students and ensure a smoother online exam taking experience for students. More and more courses each year have opted to conduct their final exams online for many reasons:

  • Easier question authoring; facilitated collaboration
  • Automated scoring and statistics
    • Mean, median, mode of scores
    • Quartiles and item analysis (beta analysis)
    • Answer distribution histograms for each question
    • Free response questions can be quickly and easily graded by multiple graders remotely
  • Interactive questions, including embedded video and audio

In a poll of instructors for courses that chose to have their final exam online in Fall 2010, instructors on average:

  • Rated the overall experience "Good" (4/5).
  • Rated the grading process as "Easy" (4/5).
  • Found the item analysis tools as "Useful" (3/3), the overall statistics as "Useful" (3/3), and answer histograms as "Useful" (3/3).
  • Were unanimously "Very Pleased" (5/5) with the support received from Educational Technology.
  • Were unanimously "Very Likely" (5/5) to conduct their final exams online in the future.

In a poll of students who have taken their Fall 2010 final exams online:

  • On average, students rated their overall experience as "Good" (4/5).
  • On average, students preferred having exams online over paper in terms of speed and in terms of viewing results. Students rated online exams as neutral vs. paper in terms of ease.

In a poll of instructors and students for courses that chose to have their final exam online in Winter 2011, results were simiar, but slightly better than Fall 2010. For more information, please see the Fall 2010 + Winter 2011 Final Exam Survey Summary (PDF).

How do I get my course set up with an online final exam?

First and foremost, please contact our Scheduling Office to confirm that the spaces and resources are available for your course for when you would like to have your online exam. After your course has a confirmed reservation, our instructional technology group will contact you to consult on our recommendations for online exams, and to also ensure that your course is set up on CourseWork and that your exam is properly created in the Assignments tool with optimal settings.

For more information about CourseWork, you can visit our CourseWork overview page, or submit a HelpSU request for a specific question.

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