It is Friday, 22 May 2020 and the exam phase is finally over. The last months have been an enormous change for all of us. Whether home office, short-time work or home schooling. Even for us dual students, the theoretical phase resembled a wild rollercoaster ride. Especially the course of the exam phase was something completely new. In the following I would like to briefly report on how it went in my Digital Business Management course:
First of all I would like to explain briefly how the theory phase went in general. Until about mid-March we had regular lectures in the rooms of the DHBW. When we were informed that the university would have to close, we were sent home with the order: self-study. For about one week we were supposed to teach ourselves with the help of the uploaded scripts of the lecturers. A few days later a lecture plan was drawn up, which included an online lecture about every second day. These lectures usually lasted only 1–2 hours and served only to ask and answer questions about the script. So until the end of the theory phase we had to teach ourselves the material.
As the exam phase was slowly approaching and still no end of the Covid-19 crisis was in sight, a solution had to be found which unfortunately took a long time. About one week before the first exam the DHBW could agree on a procedure. It looked like this:
Our exams were all written as openbook exams. That means, we were allowed to take our scripts including handwritten notes to the exams. In general, some of the teaching material was shortened, so that the exams did not last 90 minutes, but only 60 minutes. On the day of the exam, we met with our course director and our secretary in an online meeting. There, the course director shared the screen on which the exams were displayed. We had to solve them separately on paper provided by the DHBW. We were allowed to leave microphones and cameras switched off during the exam. From time to time our course director would ask us to activate the camera. At the end of the exam we had to take pictures of our solutions or scan and upload them to Moodle. If someone had to go to the toilet during the exam, they let one of the supervisors know via chat and note on their paper at what time they left the place.
Surely you are thinking now: “It’s easy to cheat there”. Theoretically yes, practically no. Due to the fact that the exams were shortened a lot, but still a lot of tasks were set, you didn’t have time to google, communicate with fellow students or anything else. Even long searches in the script were not or hardly possible.
I would also like to mention that in some subjects, substitute performances were also evaluated as exams. For example, in IT Management we were able to create an extensive (more than 80 pages) Power Point presentation, which was evaluated instead of an exam. Furthermore, at the request of the course, two exams were postponed to the next semester at the beginning of September.
So my conclusion about the exam phase during Corona: Stressful but feasible. Due to the principle of the openbook exam, you had to learn less material and could rely more on the script. But because of the shorter exam times and the still large amount of tasks, the editing was very stressful, so that one hardly had time to think even with more difficult tasks and also some people from my class did not finish the tasks. All in all I am really glad that the theory phase is over now and that I have a little more free time again.