All exams should be open-note while online

It’s no secret that most, if not all, campuses have transitioned to online schooling. This means using online resources such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Webex to meet during their regularly scheduled class time or even to give presentations. 

On the other hand, some professors have opted to not meet up at required times, but rather assign work to do at the students’ own pace.

One thing that has drastically changed is the nature of taking exams. Here at Valpo, we have a strict honor code that we all abide by. This instills a trust in our professors that usually allows us to have unproctored exams. 

However, seeing that our exams and quizzes are now online, the question being asked is if we should transition to open-note and open-book tests. 

Personally all of my professors have communicated with us that our future exams and assignments are open-note. The only thing that is still not allowed is brain-storming with other students, which is understandable.  

I know some students who want to give up and blow off their classes because they don’t see a point anymore. I also know some peers who are simply having a tough time learning material online instead of it being in-person. This mindset leads them to want to cheat rather than study for any tests or quizzes. Fortunately, a lot of professors realize that this is the case for several students, so many have changed the capacity of help for tests.  

Here’s a look at a possible outcome of a professor not changing the honor code for a certain exam. His or her students could easily find ways to cheat on that exam in a couple of ways. First, even if the program being used for the test has a system to see if the student is opening up other tabs to look up answers, they easily could use their phone instead. 

Second, I’ve seen that some people have to have their camera on so that the professor is able to see if they keep looking down at notes or their phone. But the problem with this method is that students can still write notes or cheat sheets and have them close to the screen so that the professor won’t notice wandering eyes. 

I know you may be thinking that those are some elaborate and time-consuming ways to do well on an exam that they could just study for. But it’s inevitable that some students will find any way to cheat. 

This is why I think that it’d be wise that all professors transition to open-note and open-book testing methods. This clarifies any confusion on what is allowed during an exam and what’s not. 

One thing that professors have been doing to limit the amount of resources we use is to have a time limit on the exams. This forces us to have a good understanding of the material covered, but if we get stuck--and it’s open-note/open-book--then we can glance at our notes for a little help. 

We recently got an email stating that our honor council process has changed due to everything being online now. While the university still wants us to uphold the honor code, I think professors doing more  open-note and open-book tests, the honor code can still be intact.

 I understand some professors may see this as letting the students off easy. But this could prevent an alarming amount of honor code violations in the future. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily of The Torch.



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