On April 30, 2020, the fourth online meeting of the faculty was held at the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM). Participants shared their experience in conducting tests and exams online, talked about the risks associated with this process, difficulties and finding solutions.
The online format for exams brings additional difficulties for students and lecturers related to:
instability on internet and Blackboard;
additional time needed to fill out forms;
the question of monitoring to prevent the temptation to cheat for some students.
Technical problems can lead to the fact that the student does not have sufficient time to send their solutions to tasks on time, which could means that he or she might not pass the exam. To reduce the number of such cases, lecturers discussed the creation of instructions for conducting the online exam, which will help streamline the process and make it as convenient and understandable as possible for both the professor and the student — before the exam itself begins.
“If the student was unable to download his/her work before the time allotted for the exam expires due to a technical problem in the BlackBoard system, then the exam paper will be accepted for verification. The student should send his work to examiner's GSOM email no later than 10 minutes after the the scheduled termination time for the exam along with a screenshot confirming the technical problems of the system that had arisen during the period before the scheduled end of the exam. If there is no evidence of a technical malfunction, or if the technical malfunction occurred after the deadline for exam papers, or was not connected with the BlackBoard system, the work will not be accepted,” said Elena A. Lebedeva, Director of Master's programs.
As for the sending of responses by students, it is planned to prescribe a regulation describing the size and format of files in which students can send assignments. These regulations should help to reduce the time it takes to create and upload documents. Another solution to the problem is to create special templates to be filled out with students answers, which will help them to save time and eliminate the need to create and upload additional files. “I have been using such forms for a long time. Students can enter not only the final result, but also intermediate data, which allows me to immediately understand where the student made a mistake. When checking such templates, time is significantly saved, although preparation takes more time,” said Yury V. Fedotov, Associate Professor, Department of Operations Management.
When beginning the transferring of all academic programs to the online format, the School conducted a survey among students to identify possible problems with the lack of necessary equipment and the serviceability of the Internet connection in order to help students create the trustworthy, well-functioning conditions necessary for the success of online education.
The next meeting of School professors will take place on the eve of exams in mid-May.