New Zealand/September 06, 2021/By: Lee Kenny/Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/
The University of Otago has moved most of its exams online to reduce disruption from Covid-19 restrictions.
About 15,000 students will be tested using a web-based assessment platform or email, with software in place to monitor for cheating.
The decision was made in consultation with the University of Otago Students’ Association (OUSA) to provide greater certainty as the end of the semester approaches.
University of Auckland announced earlier this year that many of its exams and invigilated tests would be held online. Other universities say they are also considering this option.
In a statement sent to students on Thursday, University of Otago deputy vice-chancellor (Academic) Professor Pat Cragg said “full-year and semester two final written exams and assessments will be held online”.
“There will be a small number of exceptions for some clinical and practical exams.”
Students will be notified by next Friday what format their assessment will take and any other changes for the rest of the semester.
The move online requires all students to have access to a computer and wi-fi, and people who do not have this can request assistance.
Exams will begin on October 20 and if alert levels 1 or 2 are in place, students will be able to use a computer on the campus.
“We wanted to give students certainty in what is a difficult time for many,” said Cragg.
“There is a clear possibility that alert levels could continue to change over the next couple of months, so it provides certainty for both students and staff and enables the university to plan and prepare adequately.”
Some exams – such as those in the health science first year programme (which are used for competitive entry into health sciences programmes), law and accounting – will use Examsoft, which has online invigilation.
Others will be undertaken on student management platforms like Blackboard or Moodle. Those submitted via email will be processed through an academic integrity checker called Turnitin.
Stuff contacted the other six New Zealand universities.
A spokeswoman for University of Auckland said exams and invigilated tests in semester two, quarter three and quarter four would be held online.
There would be some exceptions, the spokeswoman said, particularly for courses requiring professional accreditation.
Auckland University of Technology and Lincoln University expected to make announcements next week.
A spokeswoman for the University of Waikato said it has yet to make a decision.
The University of Canterbury (UC) is also yet to decide. A spokeswoman said the organisation was “ready to adapt quickly as alert levels change”.
“At alert levels 3 and 4 we will need to be online for teaching and assessment.
“For levels 1 and 2 we would be able to have some in-person, on-campus assessment, however online options will be available in cases where students cannot be on campus
“To ensure academic integrity, UC uses online invigilation and plagiarism detection tools and some Zoom invigilation as well.”
In June 2020, universities said they relied on honesty when it comes to online exams, and reminded students of the repercussions if they were caught.
On Thursday Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced a series of planned changes to university entrance requirements to mitigate potential disruption due to this or future Covid-19 lockdowns.
Among the changes, students would need to achieve 12 credits, rather than 14, in each of three approved subjects, to study at university.
They would still need to attain NCEA level 3 and meet literacy and numeracy requirements.