Bring-Your-Own-Laptop Open Book Examination for a Large Class – Fears, Tears and Joy

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By Seow Teck Keong.

The AY2013/14 Semester 1 final examination for the LSM1301 – General Biology module was conducted as a bring-your-own-laptop open-book examination. The average enrolment of the LSM1301 module in the first semester of the academic year is about 700 to 800 students, and in AY2013/14, the module had 672 students. In anticipation of the large class size, preparations for the bring-your-own-laptop examination began in May 2013, when the Centre for Instructional Technology was first contacted, intensified from September 2013 onwards, and culminated with the final examination being held on 22 November 2013. While it was indeed a joy that the examination was successfully held with only minor hiccups, the road towards the finale was definitely rough and tough, one that was filled with fears and tears. If you are considering the possibility of implementing this mode of examination, you are invited to come and listen to this sharing of a journey that is not to be embarked by the faint-hearted.

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Bring-Your-Own-Laptop Open Book Examination for a Large Class – Fears, Tears and Joy

  1. 1. • Offered in Semesters 1 and 2, and Special Term • Final examination • Open-book format • Multiple-choice questions • Semester 1 • 650 to 800 students • Bridging module – Life Sciences majors without A-Level Biology • Breadth module – any student without A-Level Biology
  2. 2. • Teaching since AY2003/04 • Incremental innovations and changes every semester • Semester 1 AY2013/14 • Bring-your-own-laptop final examination • Smaller enrolment – 672 students
  3. 3. • Reflection of how problems are solved in real-life • Open-book exam • Internet searches • Use of multimedia • Colour figures • Videos and animations • Use of softcopy reference materials • Softcopy notes • Webcast recordings • Automated marking and generation of statistics
  4. 4. • January 2013 • Forum on Technology Enhanced Learning for Faculty and Students • May 2013 • Contacted CIT – Jeffery Tay • Early June 2013 • Sought clearance from Registrar’s Office • Through Faculty of Science • Through department • Late June 2013 • Green light from Vice-Provost
  5. 5. • July 2013 • Explore venues at University Town • Late September 2013 • Meeting with CIT and Registrar’s Office • Early November 2013 • Trial run and mock examination • Late November 2013 • Actual examination
  6. 6. • 100% consent from students • Change of examination date – 27 Nov to 22 Nov • Infrastructural constraints • Two-batch examination – logistical nightmare • Wifi – limitation on multimedia-based questions • Logistical support • Invigilators and proctors – 2.5 hrs to 5.5 hrs • Loan laptops • Security – cordons and movement
  7. 7. • Saturday, 9 November • Schedule clashes • ‘Everything that could go wrong, went wrong!’ • Abandon ship (?) • Aftermath • Flurry of e-mails and queries • CIT swarmed • ‘Kiasu’ plans
  8. 8. • 2.00 – 2.30 pm • Batch 1 students report to examination venues, surrender mobile devices, setup laptops • 2.30 – 4.30 pm • Batch 1 examination • 4.00 – 4.30 pm • Batch 2 students report to quarantine venue • 4.30 – 5.00 pm • Batch 1 students move to quarantine venue • Batch 2 students move to examination venues
  9. 9. • 5.00 – 6.00 pm • Batch 1 students under quarantine • 5.00 – 7.00 pm • Batch 2 examination • 6.00 pm • Dismissal of Batch 1 students • 7.00 pm • Dismissal of Batch 2 students
  10. 10. • Single-batch examination • No quarantine and movement of students • Wired internet access • Softcopy notes and more multimedia • Better communication • Students informed before semester starts • Improved logistics • Proper examination-ready venues • Proper cordon and security support
  11. 11. • Dr Posa, Mary Rose Cervantes • Dr Carrasco Torrecilla, L Roman • Dr Hwang Wei Song • Dr Jose Christopher Escano Mendoza • Dr Lim Lek Min, Matthew • Dr Ng Ngan Kee • Dr Wu Jinlu • Ms Cai Hongxia • Ms Chua Ling Lih • Ms Jacqueline Lim Siau Yen • Ms Law Sze Joo, Sylvia • Ms Low Yi Lian • Ms Xu Weiting • Ms Cecilia Larrosa • Mr Dushan Nawoda Wadduwage • Ms Lu Ning • Mr Xiao Sheng Ping
  12. 12. • Mr Jeffery Tay • Ms Wu Haixin • Mr Chan Yuhao • Mr Jummain • Mr Lee Kunliang • Ms Leong Miew Cheng • Ms Lin Kay Thwe Oo • Mr Mohamad Aidil Bin Mohamed Ali • Mr Xiang Junjie • Ms Yasmin Binte Musthafa • Ms Jamila Osman • Ms Liew Hui Fen • Mr Lim Wee Keong • Mr Sim Yew Teck • Ms Suen,Hilda • LSM1301 Students

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