Yeungnam University has changed the method for exams for online lectures starting from this semester. Originally, there were two ways to take exams for online lectures: online and offline. However, according to the Ministry of Education’s standard of operation for online lectures, all are now required to take a midterm and final in person during the weekend of exam week.
We looked at the operational standards that were announced by the Ministry of Education to learn more about the changes. First of all, the Ministry of Education said that the learning activities between professors and students takes place at different times in different spaces.
Although we paid attention to all the standards in detail, some areas need a closer look: in particular, the composition of the course as well as the grading and evaluation of its students. The Ministry also said it would limit the number of credits students can take as online lectures. Next, we looked at the grading and evaluation portion. The Ministry announced that the evaluation of online classes is based on attendance assessment for both midterm and final exams. The standard proposed by the Ministry has been restated to say that online testing, which was previously acceptable, has now been eliminated and only offline, or in person testing can be administered. When we think of the institution as a new standard for online classes, they want to tell us that our society has changed more and more as a result of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Thus, more things have gone digital and become more convenient to do at home without going to conventional in-person classes. As a result, these changes have gradually made people reduce face-to-face conversations, which also make the idea of a traditional education somewhat confusing.
As the standard for this system is mainly focused on students, I want to listen to the opinions of students attending Yeungnam University. First of all, to sum up the opinions of those in favor of this change, they have seen some students take online lecture exams inappropriately or dishonestly. For example, I saw students gather together to share answers and take the exam as a group. The online test was almost no different than if it had been an open book test. As such, their grades were not determined by their actual intellectual ability, but rather by who had the best study guide and who I could get in my test group. Because of reasons similar to this, students in favor of the change being enforced by the Ministry think that online tests cannot be a fair method for evaluating students’ ability. Some students said, “of course, I know there are a lot of students who are dissatisfied with changing to offline exams, instead of online exams – as should be the method in the 4th Industrial Revolutionary era. But I think differently. The advantages of online exams are obvious, but there are disadvantages like the negligence of the lecture, and I think that this can be avoided if professors and students meet to take the test in person. Since it is an important factor to determine grades, it is necessary to take an in person exam where the professor is in charge. Therefore, I think the substitution of offline exams as a whole was something that should be changed naturally.”
Considering the opinions of opponents, the majority of students who have a complaint are those who live far from campus. For them, online classes offer big advantages for those who are more comfortable doing tests or classes at home rather than at school. They argue that the advantages of online classes seem to have disappeared now with this change in examination policy. Additionally, some students have experienced difficulties when the offline or in person exam schedule conflicts with other private tests or certification exams they may have.
When we look at both the Ministry of Education’s perspective and the students’ perspectives, most students are in favor of online tests being turned into offline tests. Of course, when I think about it, it is very good because it seems to encourage fairness and individual effort on the student’s part. These days, this and many other changes are happening at Yeungnam University, such as the Smart Attendance System and the integration of Educational Portal System. However, we should not just accept these chances without seriously thinking about all sides first.