This year’s unusual winter semester has many students confused and worried about what to do to conclude their school year. What will final exams be like? How will professors ensure academic integrity, and what will happen to the exam schedule?
NMU Registrar Kim Rotundo said that the original exam schedule is still planned to be implemented, despite classes going online. Exams will still fit into two-hour parcels, much like they are at the end of any other semester. “This will allow for a two-hour block for students to take the exams and will help minimize any potential conflicts students might have with exam times,” Rotundo said.
Professors can get exceptions from the regular schedule if they are unable to hold an exam in their given slot. Some classes with final exam projects or papers need not worry about a specific scheduled test. Students will be informed by their instructor of any changes or exceptions, Rotundo said.
Some care is being taken to protect Educat from crashes during test-taking. For example, Rotundo said that one faculty member who has a very large lecture course has requested an alternative exam time slot expressly to ease the strain on Educat.
With online test-taking, there is always a concern about the possibility of cheating, given that professors cannot observe students taking the exams, and cell phones and textbooks can be used to aid in answering questions. The university is providing resources to ensure that professors can prevent such occurrences.
“Faculty take different measures to ensure that students don’t cheat while taking exams,” Rotundo said. “The most common I’m hearing is that they are using Zoom so that the professor can still watch the class as they take the exam. Some are also requiring the student to take pictures of their work, explain their rationale, or answer questions very specific to their section of the course.”
In addition, Rotundo said that the university is planning to activate a new software, Respondus Monitor, which functions somewhat similarly to Lockdown Browser. However, this program provides the professor with a 360-degree view of a student’s surroundings while they are taking an exam in order to prevent cheating.
Students worried about their success in online classes should get in touch with professors and other resources to try to improve their situation, Rotundo recommended.
“My advice to students is to stay in close contact with their instructors and work hard to finish the semester strong. All of us—students, faculty, staff, and the community, are doing what we can to make the best of this situation and move forward,” Rotundo said. “If anyone is struggling, academically or personally, please let someone know so we can get assistance to you.”
Students can access their exam schedule from the Registrar’s website at nmu.edu/registrar/final-examination-schedule.