Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) e-Examinations

Today I attended a fascinating webinar “Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) e-Examinations” hosted by Ascilite. The first speaker described Transforming Exams platform, developed with an Office for Learning and Teaching grant by University of Queensland and University of Tasmania. The system provides an off-line electronic exam environment. The examination is prepared in a format compatible with Moodle and then loaded onto USB flash drives. The drives include the Ubuntu Linux operating system and when the computer is booted it restricts the user to the examination system.

This could provide a very useful transition for institutions which have paper based examinations. It allows an environment which emulates the paper system, but provides some benefits of electronic delivery.

While the Transforming Exams system is ingenious, I found the idea of having examinations a bit dated. I design online courses for students, who may be anywhere in the world and so use of an examination venue would be cumbersome, even without the paper. From the point of view of pedagogy, I don't think an examination is a realistic way to assess real skills. As a student I would not consider enrolling in a course which had a high stakes examination.

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