Students took their midterm exams online due to the outbreak of COVID-19, but many expressed dissatisfaction with the way exams were administered. As both students and professors were unfamiliar with the online format, various problems arose in the process.
With the coronavirus outbreak and the professor-regulated evaluation system implemented last year, midterm evaluations were executed in numerous ways. Such ways included an online live exam or quiz, exam replacement assignments or take-home exams.
Problems raised for the online exams included lack of communication to inform the exam formats, lack of supervision, and unexpected technical problems for the quizzes caused by the school website, CyberCampus.
The College of Education conducted a survey to gather student feedback on the methods of midterm exams to share with professors preparing for the finals. According to the survey conducted from May 7 to 13, students agreed that the overall online exam method was effective in preventing any cases of cheating. However, many commented that there were too many questions to be completed in a limited time period. For teaching subjects, students preferred the quiz to be given through CyberCampus and time-restricted open book exams. Students claimed that the worst method was watching a video and working on a group assignment.
Regarding the suggested problems, some students felt that their professors did not give enough guidelines on the exam format in advance.
“The professor did not provide detailed instructions on the midterm exam until the day of the exam,” said a student majoring in Business Administration, enrolled in the Cost and Managerial Accounting course. “It was only 13 minutes before the exam that the professor told us we were not allowed to go back to the skipped problems, which made us panic.”
Another problem raised was the lack of time to submit files on CyberCampus. As the time for uploading pictures and submitting was not considered, some students missed the deadline by a small margin of time. For instance, in one Calculus I class with 63 students, more than 10 students missed the time to submit the exam on CyberCampus by just a few minutes. The professor strictly did not accept any late submissions, resulting in those students getting a mark of zero on the midterm exam.
“The professor was very strict with the submission time on CyberCampus where he did not consider the loading time for us to upload the images,” said a student majoring in Chemistry & Nanoscience taking Calculus I. “Usually if it were an offline exam, we would be given at least five minutes before the end of class to submit the papers. I wish the professor also considered it and gave us until the end of actual class time instead of 15 minutes before on CyberCampus.”
Regarding the exams that were taken using Zoom, some students expressed discomfort over the noise problems.
“Some professors let the students turn off the microphone during the exams, while others did not allow them to do so,” said Lee Yoon-seo, a junior majoring in English Language and Literature. “Regarding the latter case, since all the microphones were turned on, I could hear different kinds of noises distracting the exam process.”
She added that sounds such as keyboard typing, students murmuring, and pets crying, were a large disturbance making it hard to pay attention to the professor’s words.
Based on the College of Education’s survey, students from the Department of Science Education asked for an online alternative in replacement for the Korean Culture Education for the Teachers course final evaluation which is an on-field investigation. For major classes, students requested professors to be more reasonable with the time limit given based on the number of questions needed to answer.
Students are anticipating professors to take into account the feedback as they prepare alternative methods for the final exam.