Online Exam Session: MAI Experience
The summer exam session is well under way at Moscow Aviation Institute. Students passed credits and exams have started. To test knowledge is always exciting. This year, the student experience is also superimposed on the fact that the exams are completely held in a remote format. The MAI PR Department talked with the teaching staff and students to find out how they hold and pass exams online, which pros and cons they see in this, and how they control students from cheating.
Online Exams: Teacher Reviews
Conducting a session online is quite comfortable, teachers admit. To certify students, they use the LMS MAI platform or Microsoft Teams (MT). So, Svetlana Alexandrova, a Lecturer at the Department of Technologies and Systems for Computer Aided Design of Metallurgical Processes, mainly works with the MT platform, this choice was a collective decision of the department. However, the teacher also uses the LMS MAI. She admits that both platforms are convenient enough for work, as she can monitor when a student attended classes, control the date of assignment, identify cheating, and automatically generate a semester rating.
“At the moment I carried out only tests, as well as defending laboratory and practical works. The difference from the full-time format, of course, is cardinal. During distance exams, it is not possible to issue traditional exam papers to students, since it is quite difficult to control cheating. The defenses of works were mainly held in the form of an interview,” said Svetlana Alexandrova.
Nikolay Turbin, an Assistant Professor of the MAI School №1 “Aircraft Engineering”, focuses on practical tasks. “My requirements are the implementation of practical tasks”, he said. "They, in quantity and composition, fully realize the material of lectures. If a person submits all the work during the study - I have no questions, we worked with him all semester. Without the minimum amount of work done, I do not allow to take an exam - there is simply nothing to talk about. With a minimum of knowledge, if someone wants a higher rating, I will interview him online and ask something simple and key, so that a student can answer without backstage preparation.”
How to Solve the Cheating Problem
When you answer an exam paper, sitting at the monitor of your computer, it will not be difficult to find and read out a ready answer. To our question whether students began to write off, Nadezhda Okorokova, a teacher of the Department 908 "Physical Chemistry" said:
“They wrote off, write off and will write off. It’s more difficult to control online, but it is easy to bring a student to clean water with questions on the topic, whether online or offline.”
Svetlana Alexandrova agrees that the distance learning form provides great opportunities for cheating, both from each other and on the Internet. To test the student’s level of knowledge, teachers approach the exam process creatively. For example, in order to get credit for the Financial Models of Energy Service Companies, the students had to organize an energy service company from scratch, taking into account all the risks, choose the necessary financial model that would allow the company to work most efficiently.
Student Reviews: Offline VS Online Exam
It seems that students should like the online exam session more: they pass exams in comfortable conditions. But as it turned out, that not for everyone it became easier.
“Online exams are perfectly organized for us and there is a library of practical work and lectures in the system LMS available for us which we could refer to before the exams,” said Pamod Wickramanayaka second-year student of Control Systems and Computer Science in Engineering program. “It is quite easier this way and makes it more interesting to study as we can access a set of organised libraries for each subject and a great deal of knowledge which was made available to us. Now we can access them just simply with a touch from our finger tip.”
“I think that online exams is better than offline. But online practical lab lessons is difficult. I mean we had lab practicals at the university labs. It was great, but remotely it became not like that,” said Dulanjana Kavindu, a second-year student of Propulsion Engineering program.
“For me online exams is more difficult. It is not easy for engineers to study remotely. I hope the next session will be held as usual,” said Yusuf Anseru, a third-year student of Propulsion Engineering program.