Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Exams with Pen & Paper

Unfortunately, Queen's does not allow its law students to write their exams on computers. We use the traditional method of pen to paper for sprints of 2 or 3 hours. The only exceptions are take-home exams that can be submitted electronically. But only a few profs have used this method.

I was speaking to a friend of mine and the LSS has looked into switching to a computer-based examination system. They couldn't find a solution. The reasoning is two-fold: 1. the school doesn't have the resources to provide computers for each student to write the exam, and 2. there currently isn't secure software for Macs and PCs so students could use their own machines. Pity.

If anyone knows of software that may solve this problem, please let me know and I can pass it along. (Hey, it worked for the web designer request. Thanks Frank.)

I have a law school friend in the States who writes his exams on typewriters. Students bring heavy duty earplugs so they can concentrate. I think I prefer pen & paper.


At 11:52 PM, Anonymous kristine said...

One of the exam-software companies also makes a Mac version, I just don't know which one it is. The problem, as I understand it, though, is that most law schools don't want to pay for a Mac license as well as a PC license.

Of course, you could suggest to your school (through the appropriate channels, of course) that they adopt some lower-tech parameters for allowing students to write exams on computers. Namely, employ an honor code. Under the honor code system, my school allows students to use their own computers for exams without any restrictive software. It works out well, as far as I can tell. Students appreciate being treated like adults, and stress out much less over the *mechanics* of the exam.

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At Osgoode, we use a program which has only a PC version (Examsoft I think it's called). The students with Macs or without laptops write in the computer labs. As far as I know everyone always gets to write in the lab if they want to - ie no issues about space.

And students pay for their own licence - $40 a year if they want to write on computer.

At 6:10 PM, Blogger a blawger said...

I was reading the US blawg From Engineer to Lawyer. She wrote:

at our school, exams are taken on laptops using special exam software. The exam software can only be used on Windows. I have an old Windows 98 laptop that I acquired for taking exams, as do the other Mac/Linux users on campus. The exam software locks the Windows machine so that the user has no access to the Internet or to the hard drive.

I would use a Windoze machine if I could write type my exams.


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