Are online exams all they're cracked up to be?


The difference between college classes now and college classes when your grandparents were in school is that so many methods of learning have been converted online, such as homework, quizzes and even exams.

Can this be a good thing?

Something I experienced has me thinking perhaps not.

In one of my classes we had the choice to come in and do a traditional written test in the classroom, or to do an online test at home.

Wait, a final, at home?

Where we can look at our notes and Google everything?

It sounded like a gift.

Oh, but we were warned that if our Internet were to fail we could not take the final at another time.
All I heard was blah, blah, blah I do not have to come in for the final. I thought this would allow an easy, relaxing “A”. I was wrong.

I started the test and blazed past the annoying capital letter message warning me that once I began the final, the timer would start its countdown.

The first question appeared on my laptop.

I answered it then clicked on the button to go to the second question.

I saw a blank screen and nothing else.
I waited.
Nothing.

Anxiously, I immediately started forming ways in my head to ask the professor to let me have a second chance at the final.

Luckily, after half a minute, the second question loaded.

My heart rate went back to normal.

However, this happened for each and every one of the questions.

Overall I had to answer each question within about 40 seconds in order to complete the final by the time the timer went to 00:00. During the entire test I raced with that evil being, Time.

Time, which never goes the pace you want it to.

In the end, I managed a “B”, but only at the cost of a couple hours of stress and regret.

Online homework is fine. I think it can be very convenient, but online tests?

No thanks.

I will stick to reliable No. 2 Ticonderoga.

The hard evidence is in your hand and the only buffering involved comes from your brain.

Online quizzes can freeze, and some computers are not formatted to fit them on their screens.

Why go through all of this with headaches when you can just take a good old-fashioned paper exam?


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