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Remote Take-Home-Exam

A Remote-Take-Home-Exam is an exam that is conducted in a short time frame, but not bound by time or place.

Students will work on one or more complex examination tasks within an allotted period (approximately 6-48 hours for a two-hour examination), but not necessarily at the same time.

Areas of application

When assigning Remote-Take-Home-Exams you must consider that the cooperation among students cannot be excluded completely and that students are able to use various supporting documents. Hence, you should ask questions where students

  • need to apply acquired knowledge
  • analyse facts and circumstances
  • compare situations
  • evaluate facts or
  • need to develop new solutions for problems.

The following tasks work well when using Remote-Take-Home-Exams. Depending on how extensive the tasks are, Remote-Take-Home-Exams may consist of one or more of these tasks:

  • Rectifying an incorrect statement with the reference to literature
  • Finding personal examples regarding specific concepts/matters
  • Applying a certain concept to a concrete situation
  • Explain why X is an example of process Y
  • Argue what a policy for problem X should look like
  • Describe a specific case including possible solutions, arguing why the chosen solution is the best.

As starting point for the questions, you can for example use short summarized texts related to a specific issue.

Accordingly, questions about business case studies, concrete legal cases, programming tasks or translation assignments are suitable as well.

Examples

In both examples, students have to evaluate a subject based on discussed literature.

A simple supply and demand diagram is shown above. (Note: Illustration not included)

Is this an economic model as defined by M.S. Morgan?

  • First, use the text to explain how Morgan defines an economic model.
  • Then argue in your own words why the above diagram does or does not represent a model in Morgan's sense.
  • 1 - 1.5 pages

Using the texts discussed, explain in detail how law functions as "law in action".
Then, considering your own explanation, critically comment on whether vigilante justice can offer an effective and constitutional alternative to the legally organized enforcement procedure. (approx. 3 pages)

Source: https://www.uni-erfurt.de/fileadmin/user-docs/Institutionenoekonomie/Fritzsch_Excel/Nachklausur_Aufgabenstellung.pdf

The shorter the time frame for processing, the more extensive the students need to deal with the text in preparation for the exam. In a short time frame, the tasks resemble openended questions in an exam.

If you chose to set a longer time frame, students have the time to read and work through the text within the exam time. In this case, the tasks are similar to classic homework.

Advantages

  • Flexible time frame
    Students can take Remote-Take-Home-Exams throughout a flexible time frame. Since not all students have to be online at the same time, you minimize technical problems caused by a poor internet connection during the exam. Moreover, as students only have to upload one or more files, no large bandwidth is required. This flexibility suits students with caregiving duties. Additionally, Remote-Take-Home-Exams allow easy adjustments for students with disabilities.
  • Simple technical solution
    On the learning platform, Remote-Take-Home-Exams can be created quickly and easily. There, you can also collect student submissions and have them checked for plagiarism. Compared to written online exams, the effort for creating the exam is less time-consuming and students need less support.
  • Individual solutions
    In order to prevent cheating as much as possible, it is advisable to develop complex tasks that require individual solutions from each student. In combination with a tightly set time frame, which also limits the possibility of interchange among students, such complex assignments can be examined very well with a Remote-Take-Home-Exam.

Tools

For Remote-Take-Home-Exams, we recommend using the learning activity "Assignment" on MyLEARN because this allows you to check the work for plagiarism. You can find step-by-step instructions in the MyLEARN Guide under "How do I create learning activities?".

Creating exams

When planning the time frame, it is important to consider how great the danger of cheating is for the assignment in question. If the required answer to the task is highly individual, the allocated time frame for the completion can be longer (as there is less benefit in exchanging information with other students).

You should adjust the time frame in which the exam can be taken according to the type of task:

  • Encourage individual solutions: If the assignments require students to present individual solutions (essays, own proposed solutions, etc.), it is advisable to extend the time frame to at least 24 hours as you should take the current situation into account (caregiving duties, poor Internet connection, etc.).
  • Avoid collaboration among students: If the assignment consists of open-ended questions similar to a face-to-face exam in the classroom, students could benefit when cooperating with colleagues. Hence, a shorter time frame is necessary to make cheating more difficult.

Questions that require students to reproduce knowledge are usually not effective in Remote-Take-Home-Exams. Under the point "Formulating Learning Outcomes" in the Teaching & Learning Academy you can find more information on how to ask questions in such a way that it is possible to examine learning objectives of higher levels.

Student submissions & Assessment

Once you have created and administered your Remote-Take-Home Exam in MyLEARN using the learning activity "Assignment", you will find instructions in the MyLEARN Guide on how to view student submissions and how to assess them.

One problem with assessing higher-order learning objectives is that this is best done with open-ended questions - which leads to a considerable correction effort, especially for larger groups. Preparing a sample solution or rubrics helps to minimise the effort. If several people correct the exam, these measures can also reduce subjectivity.

Information to students

Let your students know in advance what you expect of them. Hence, it is helpful to predefine as much as possible.

  • How comprehensive must the answers be? (Specify number of words)
  • When and where must the exam be handed in?
  • In what form do you expect students to refer to literature in their answers?
  • Are students allowed to cooperate?
  • Should supporting documents be used? If so, which ones?