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Title: Experiments with electronic examinations over the Internet
Authors: Thomas, Pete
Price, Blaine
Petre, Marian
Carswell, Linda
Richards, Mike
Keywords: Electronic examination
Automatic assessment
Remote examination
Automated grading
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: © Loughborough University
Citation: THOMAS, 2001. Experiments with electronic examinations over the Internet. IN: Proceedings of the 5th CAA Conference, Loughborough: Loughborough University
Abstract: The UK’s Open University (OU) has been using the Internet on a regular basis for transporting student assignments (homework) between student, tutor and the university. Tutor marked assignments are a major part of the OU’s assessment system, but all courses also have an examinable component that often takes the form of a three-hour closed-book examination taken under supervised conditions. Our aim has been to investigate the extent to which we could use the Internet to automate the examination process. In this paper we discuss the results of two experiments that we have carried out so far, and discuss how examinations might be carried out electronically in a distance education setting. The first experiment was performed in 1997 when students sat a formal supervised examination in which the examination paper and the students’ answers were transmitted between the OU and the remote examination sites using electronic means. The second experiment, conducted early in 1999, enabled students to take a ‘mock exam’ accessed via a web page as part of their revision. The experiment was designed to test out the technical feasibility of offering an unsupervised home examination. Students accessed the paper via a web site and submitted their answers in a similar way. Whilst cheating: is an important issue, there are good pedagogic reasons for providing an unsupervised home exam that will be discussed in this paper. The experiments have shown the feasibility of conducting conventional examinations electronically and, in principle, such examinations can be low-cost and be taken securely in the home. In addition: Most students found answering the exam at home a positive experience. There are real advantages, in a distance education setting, of sitting an exam at home. The provision of a mock exam adds value to a course. Designing an infrastructure for an electronic exam is straightforward, although more effort is required to allow students to submit graphical answers. The rigorous time limit placed on an exam (whether conventional or electronic) is an issue for students. The electronic exam increases anxiety over time since the student is also responsible for ensuring that their answers are submitted on time. We expected a similar heightening of anxiety over downloading the question paper, but this was not mentioned by the students We recently completed a third experiment which included fully automated grading of all exam questions (none of which were multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank) and we report our initial findings here.
Description: This is a conference paper.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/1836
Appears in Collections:CAA Conference

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