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My thoughts of World Conference on Online Learning (1) - Our presentation
My thoughts of World Conference on Online Learning (2) - Meeting the pioneers
I attended the presentation Online Proctoring: Experimentation of remote examination in E-learning programmes by Dr. Pierre Beust (Université de Caen Normandie) and Associate Professor Sabine Bottin-Rousseau (Université Pierre et Marie Curie) and I was very interested by their research.
At University College of Estate Management (UCEM), we have a large number of international students (about one third) and UCEM holds examination centres around the world. But still some of our students have to travel, find accommodation and face the stressful exam conditions in an environment (or even a country) they are not used to. UCEM is looking at ways of making online examinations possible; therefore this presentation was of great interest to me.
The presentation introduced two case studies; ProctorU was used as the proctoring service. Some of the interesting findings were:
- Success rate same as traditional exams
- 4.9% technical problems (that blocked the exams !) - this is an issue because one student not being able to sit the exam is enough to give a bad reputation and much more work in preparing alternative papers, moderation, marking etc.
- 3% students feel a kind of intrusion in their private life - it is like someone being in your home watching over you, the webcam will show everything that happens there. If the student has to share the space where they are taking the exam with family members (due to the unavailability of a suitable other place) especially younger children, their images will also be recorded on the webcam footage.
- 80% would take another exam or advise a friend to have home proctored exams - this means the students were happy to take anther exam in technical setting.
- 89% are satisfied and prefer to assume the technical conditions than travel to exam centre - as I said before having to travel to a different country sorting out VISA, accommodation and other logistics can be an additional stress on top of the exam stress.
The challenges of introducing remote exams also manifest in these areas:
- Legal issues (Data protection especially EU laws prohibit data being stored outside EU so need to have agreements with the service providers, Security, Privacy)
- Technology issues – public low-cost wifi access not allowing applet communication ports to work
- Language – use of chat facility (16 exams in French) - as UCEM provides education in English perhaps this may not be a big challenge for us.
There are many who oppose remote exams stating that the likelyhood of cheating is higher. But traditional exams are not cheat proof either. Cheating risk depends on feeling of cheatability of the system. If it seems easy to cheat there is more chance of students attempting it. But interestingly in the case studies it was found that
- 61% feel proctored as effectively in remote exams as in classical exams
- Some feel more closely proctored because of the webcam
- Proctors of ProctorU can proctor max 6 students at the same time
- Students thought they were in a one-to-one situation
I have already made connections with Pierre and Sabine and Pierre kindly shared their case study paper too. I am really looking forward to hearing more about their work and if you are also into remote exams a place to keep an eye on is OP4RE – Online Proctoring for Remote Examinations.