Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Large Scale Electronic Examinations at ANU


Steve Blackburn
Professor Steve Blackburn will speak on "Electronic Exams" at the Australian National University in Canberra, 1pm 3 December 2015:
"This talk will discuss an experiment with a large scale electronic examination.
Pen and paper exams are the staple of examinations at institutions like ANU, however the pen-and-paper modality has a number of significant shortcomings:
  1. It is pedagogically limiting; evaluating the students in a setting often unlike the environment in which the teaching and learning occurs, denying access to tools that may be fundamental to the subject matter;
  2. It does not lend itself well to large classes and the possibility of auto-grading;
  3. student handwriting can be very hard to read!  
Electronic exams address these concerns and create a number of opportunities in the design of the exam and in the marking process. The Research School of Computer Science has been using electronic exams for over a decade, using a flexible and robust system of locked-down computers. 
However, the systems used at the Research School of Computer Science were tailored towards computing courses and are did not include a generic, straightforward and accessible framework in which the exam itself could be conducted. Moodle also provides means for running exams, but has a number of open challenges relating to security and robustness in an exam setting.   This semester I built a browser-based electronic exam that is flexible, amenable to other disciplines and content, is designed to look familiar and easy to use, is client-side (not requiring connectivity to a server) and is usable in any operating system that supports a modern web browser.
In this talk I will discuss the various factors that motivated the design of this electronic exam, its applicability to other disciplines, challenges and opportunities ahead, and the outcome of using the system in a large (>200) first year class in the Semester 2 2015 examination period.
You can see a sample of the exam here (https://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/comp1110/sample-exam/1110-exam.html).  
This talk will be targeted to a broad audience and I will ensure that there is plenty of time for discussion among attendees."

3 comments:

  1. I don't suppose this was recorded was it Tom? Just back in the office and missed this email but we had our first online exam trial this semester.

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    Replies
    1. Colin, the Electronic exams talk was recorded. I am just checking with Professor Blackburn when it can be made available.

      Tom W.

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    2. Colin, Professor Steve Blackburn's Electronic exams talk is now available at:
      https://cecs.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/event/e-exam-201512.mp4

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