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Conducting remote computer-based examinations

Creating a remote computer-based examination offers both opportunities and challenges. Computer-based examinations can be conducted in various ways and it is important to carefully consider which examination method to use. Research shows that learning to a considerable degree is governed by the examination design. Oral presentations and written assignments each signal which knowledge is important and several research studies have seen that students spend a significant amount of time trying to work out the content of the examination components, adapting their studies accordingly. It is therefore imperative that the examination is designed in such a way that it contributes to students developing the knowledge that is specified in the intended course learning outcomes. In other words, a computer-based examination should not simply test that the students have learnt something, but also in itself contribute to their knowledge development.

As a teacher, you need to consider various aspects when selecting the questions you want your students to work on in a situation where they have access not only to course readings and lecture notes, but also search engines and collaboration opportunities with fellow students:

  • The reliability aspect: How can you design questions that examine students’ knowledge in relation to the intended course learning outcomes?
  • The plagiarism aspect: How can you guarantee that the examination is conducted in a legally certain way and minimise the risk of cheating and plagiarism?
  • The digital aspect: How can you take advantage of the pedagogic opportunities and address the pedagogic challenges that examinations in digital tools entail?

Many educators use computer-based examination methods that work for both on-campus and remote teaching. Take-home exams and other types of take-home assignments are conducted and as a rule submitted in WISEflow or Blackboard – the university’s digital platforms. However, the focus in this information material is on the adaptation: how you can translate the on-campus examination into a remote examination.

When you design your examination questions, it is important to consider which forms of knowledge and which levels of knowledge that are to be examined. Is the examination intended to test students’ factual knowledge or should students also demonstrate their ability to apply, analyse or even create? The answers to these questions can help you choose examination method.

In a situation when you are to convert an examination in an exam hall to a remote computer-based examination, you have for instance the following formats to choose from:

  • Remote take-home exam
  • Remote take-home assignment
  • Remote oral examination

It is also possible to combine different methods in one examination, but then it has to be made clear that the examination is a single examination consisting of several examination components.