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Exams du­ring the co­ro­na pandemic

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.

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