On-line ideas for teaching engineering, science and tech

This is the sixth and last in a series by Steve Mackay and Edwina Ross (Engineering Institute of Technology)  

Testing the often untestable: one of the on-line elephants in the education room is the authentication of students. Who is actually doing the work? And are they enjoying unreasonably high levels of outside support?

On-line proctoring software offers a solution; it allows for the remote testing of a student’s knowledge. It ensures the student is properly invigilated and it can authenticate her. (A student must accept and embrace this solution and be well-prepared for the proctoring operation before sitting for a test.)

The following issues need to be dealt with in:

* security: testing on concepts (rather than requesting regurgitated content) heightens academic integrity

* interactivity: live, face-to-face tests (e.g. orals) are preferable to online ones

* equity: all random questions should be targeted at a similar level

* hands-on labs: physical demonstrations can be assessed using screen-capturing software

* team work: needs to be assessed as it is a key activity of engineers and scientists.

finally …: remember that when the technology ‘disappears’ and the student makes seamless contact with her teacher and her peers you have arrived at a good place with online education.


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