What do you think about open-book, online tests in DL classes? Are most too easy?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by SurfDoctor, Nov 8, 2010.

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  1. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    I have only done a few online, open-book tests that were not a joke. I have had only a few with strict time limits that prevented you from looking up too much info, thus insuring that you at least knew something.

    I haven't experienced much online testing at Liberty yet, so I can't speak to their tests, but most of my other online schools have given tests that were ridiculously easy. Lots of time, so easy to cheat, so easy to google the info you needed. What's up with that? Isn't it a mockery of real academic testing? Are proctored exams the only to have a legitimate test?
     
  2. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator

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    I have no experience at all with them, but I do have an opinion :dunce:

    If it is a multiple choice or short answer exam, where one could simply copy the book word-for-word, then absolutely not!

    However, for essay exams, or for any of a number of different types of exams that I may not be aware of, I can see where an open book would not preclude a reliable assessment of performance.

    In fact, the only main difference between an open book test and a closed book test, is that the latter requires one to memorize. If the test is not about memorization, then I don't see any conflict.

    Now we cue the people who have the appropriate experience to tear my comment apart and make me wish I never posted it :yup:
     
  3. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    Most of the tests I have taken online were open book, multiple choice tests. There is no way they can ensure that people won't cheat on a closed book test and they tend not to do essay tests because they are a lot of work to grade.

    I would prefer a legitimate test or give me no test at all and only papers to write.
     
  4. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina New Member

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    Personally, after all of these years and research into better ways of assessment, I wish that we would stop using technology to deliver the same old multiple guess "scantron" tests. People are up in arms as to how to prevent cheating on online multiple choice tests. The answer is that the only way to do so is to figure out how to make our students moral and ethical people who don't cheat. We do not have a technology to do that, nor have we eliminated cheating in face-to-face classrooms (or even during proctored tests). Face-to-face or camera-based proctored tests make cheating more difficult, but does not eliminate it.

    I have not given a multiple-choice exam in my online courses in years, except for low stakes (or ungraded) practice and immediate feedback activities. My students tedn to do progressive projects, where they do pieces that fit together to solve a problem or to plete a larger project. There is less incentive to cheat than there is on a high stakes multiple choice test, as the students are working on something tangible that gives them a skill (as opposed to how well they memorize information or can find it in a textbook).
     
  5. MISin08

    MISin08 New Member

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    In the tests I have had (12 classes), one class had ridiculously easy tests (exact copy of the textbook site quizzes), one was slightly more rigorous (you could ace them if you took the "practice" tests over and over long enough) and the others were pretty hard, at least if one wanted an A. I felt I had to know the material if I wanted to answer all items in time and know where in the "open book" to look for help on any stinkers. This was all business and technology subjects, btw. For math & science, proctored might be better.

    Not sure how proctored works with the short terms we have in DL. A proctored no-notes midterm after a month would be doable but it would certainly change my study routine. OTOH I'm considering the MSc in Business Analysis and Consulting at U of Strathclyde. The taught portion (consists of one-month and two-month modules) has several proctored exams, but exam dates are scheduled so you have more than the one or two months to learn the material before sitting the exam.

    Phillip
     
  6. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    Very good. The "memorize, regurgitate and forget" tests that we have all taken a million times in our academic careers need to be replaced with something. What's the point of taking something that didn't work all that well in the first place, and adapting it to online classes? I love the progressive project idea you mention. I just experienced my first progressive project at Liberty and it was a great learning experience.
     
  7. MISin08

    MISin08 New Member

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    Well, put that way, sure. :borladuck:

    Phillip
     
  8. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

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    I had 2 classes (Anatomy and Physiology I and II) that were very hard and had open book tests. What made them hard was that the questions were not based on the text or lab manual. I "get" the idea- you want the student to have a comprehensive understanding of the principles vs memorizing the info...but as a student starting from scratch in a subject that I knew NOTHING about, believe me, I needed to learn and memorize basics. Don't ask me about why- when I can hardly tell you what. It was terrible to be frank. I aced my homework, but couldn't pull higher than a B+ on any of my M/C quizzes or exams - I think we had about 12 quizzes and 2 exams for each class. That was 32 weeks of hell. I had my book, my lab manual, my google tab, my supplementary resources, dummies guides, etc. Still couldn't ace those tests.
     
  9. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    Wow, that's tough. Not surprising for med student classes, though.
     
  10. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    I choose to read your reply as "Well put! That way! Sure!" :smile:
     
  11. eilla05

    eilla05 New Member

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    I have only had a few tests (im thinking less than 15 or so) for all of the classes I have taken online and its been quite a few! Most of them were timed and multiple choice and I rarely got perfect scores. I have had a few proctored exams and they were harder but I still could have cheated had I wanted to! In a computer class I took I had to have my final proctored and the computer I took it on was in a closed room so I was by myself with access to the internet (and no I didnt cheat!).

    I did have one class that had like 50 questions and 2.5 hour time limit but the questions were mini essays and it sucked really, id rather write papers but at this point I am sick of those as well...lol

    I think tests can be beneficial as long as the time is taken to change the questions and wording to make the challenging and there is a time limit placed.
     
  12. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

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    I had a graduate level economics course where the professor gave you the test, you had 3 days to turn the exam in. The professor graduated from one of the military acadamies and worked on a honor code. You were to only work on the exam for two hours, you could read the questions and look through your notes and the text, but as soon as you started writing you were to put all of your notes and text away. His reasoning was that in your career you would have access to resources while you worked on projects. I liked his reasoning and the trust he had in his students. I never cheated, never exceeded the two hours we were allowed to work on the exam. The exams were HARD, but I loved that professor. I got a B+ in his class and would have taken other courses from him had they been offered.
     
  13. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

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    Most of the online, open-book tests I have taken at LU have been quite easy, with the exception of the tests in two classes.

    My business law class was difficult, primarily because of timing. The quizzes were 25 questions, and we had 25 minutes to complete the quiz. A number of the questions had questions about the application of law, so it wasn't just a "look it up and write it down" kind of test.

    My finance class was also difficult due to the subject matter. You really had to have a good grasp of the material to answer the questions, even if you had access to the text.
     
  14. MISin08

    MISin08 New Member

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    Good choice. :party:
     
  15. Lerner

    Lerner Active Member

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    I had mixed experience.

    All the tests that required proctor and taken at college near by had time limit and if you didn't study or don't know the material you surely will fail.

    The proctor didn't allow any browsing on the net. There was also a time limit.

    In my case every third class had supervised/proctored exam.

    As to non-supervised exams, wile open book they required knowledge above text book,
    And I estimate 50% of problems were not taken from the text book but developed by the university.

    It was very hard to earn A or even a B.
     
  16. proracer

    proracer New Member

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    OK, I like your question......

    Any test taken any where can be cheated on.

    It is sad to say that there are people that will cheat. You can go through the internet and can find sites dedicated to helping you pass your course.

    These internet sites even have the multiple choice questions answered. There are sites that have papers that are written on numerous subjects that can be purchased or even downloaded from the site for free.

    My question is....Why?

    I took my classes to learn, not to cheat and just get through.

    I think the best question hear is.....

    Do you want to learn the material or not? Eventually it will catch up with you. One day the cheater could be in a job that required him or her to perform their job based on what was supposed to have been learned in school.....what do they do then?

    I see people at work that do just that....they try to cover their rear and it does not work....

    They get fired.....:yikes:

    I am in a technical field and it is very easy to spot those that know and those that don't. In my field, people can get hurt or even killed if they do not know their job....

    Jim
     
  17. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

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    I don't understand why more instructors don't get this. If a program is career based, there's no point in having assessments that are out of step with what students will experience in the real world. Adjuncts surely know this, and it should even have trickled down to tenured professors by now.

    -=Steve=-
     
  18. emissary

    emissary New Member

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    My experience thus far with DL through UTEP has been a mixed bag of experience, but all of the classes I have taken have been strongly centered around timed, online, multiple-choice tests. It seems that the general consensus among the professors is that there is no feasible way to prevent students from utilizing their texts and outside resources, so there is really no reason to try. I agree with Maniac that unless the material is such that it demands memorization, there really is no reason why this has to be an issue.

    I understand people's bias against multiple choice testing. But the fact is, as money becomes tighter, and staff/student ratios necessarily become more burdensome, efficiency becomes a key factor in determining class format. I just submitted a 20 page research proposal in a research methodology class with 70 other students. Do I have any real expectation of the professor reading my work critically and providing me with quality feedback? Very little. I like the approach advocated by Dr. Pina, but in my limited experience, this requires an active engagement on the part of the professor and student (read: it takes time to give feedback), which seems difficult to achieve with large classes.

    If the purpose of testing is to both reinforce and measure academic progress, then multiple choice testing is a viable option. What it demands is a certain amount of work and planning on the part of the professor to ensure that the questions and possible answers test the student's understanding of key concepts, not useless factoids.

    I have one professor who does an excellent job of this. His tests are timed, allow only one attempt, and the questions are phrased in such a way that you can't necessarily just answer them out of the glossary of the book. You have to understand the material to score well. I have another professor who uses lengthy multiple choice testing with tight time limits, but the answers come right off of the section headings in the book. This is too easy, in my opinion, and does not reinforce learning (though I do appreciate the easy grade :smirk:).

    The worst manifestation, though, is a professor that I have in an institutional corrections class. His tests are long and time-sensitive. The answers come right out of the book, but he seems to always choose obscure sections that have little impact on the larger concepts. I can remember a 6 or 7 minute episode in which I was hurriedly trying to find the normal voltage that is utilized in lethal perimeter fences in California. Who cares? My testing experience in that class basically boils down to a mad dash through the text trying to find these little snippets of information so that I can get a decent grade, but where very little actual learning is done.

    And Cook, don't feel bad. A&P is supposed to kick your butt. I took I & II at a B&M years ago, when my brain was younger and fresher, and I remember the load it put on me. I'm firmly convinced that the reason doctors are such serious individuals is because they're scared if they slip up, they will be forced to go take their pre-med classes over again.:silly:
     
  19. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

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    On-line exams can be made so they are difficult to cheat on.
    The geology on-line tests from Coastline College (CC) used multiple choice questions. What I did was answer all the questions I thoufgh I knew then used my text book or course notes for several answers. But the quantity and structure of the questions meant that you had to rely on what knowledge you has already absorbed. The CC grades for each course I took were based on 6 quizzes and 2 exams.
     
  20. muaranah

    muaranah New Member

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    I took Intermediate Accounting I and II at Eastern Oregon Uni and we had timed, unproctored online exams. There was no way someone could have come to those exams unprepared and simply look up the answers, so it is possible to concoct exams that make it impossible to cheat by looking up answers.
     

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