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What is known about how to write online exams and how to prepare students for them?

Project leader(s): 
Martin Braun

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Open University, together with other universities, were obliged to move from traditional, in-person closed book exams to on-line open book exams in a relatively short space of time. The resulting challenges and implications for the School of Physical Sciences were highlighted in the workshop – ‘Future of Final Exams’ held on 19 Jan 22. During this workshop the Institute of Physics was quoted as saying that a move away from in-person closed book exams should not be rushed, but should be based on evidence to support relevant decisions. This thought and the fact that the University intends to run only online exams at least until 2024 makes it necessary to investigate physics online exams further. Therefore, this project aims at researching the question: What is known in literature about online exams in higher education in general, and in particular in Physics and Maths?

This will take the form of a systematic literature review to interrogate academic (including educational textbooks to review principles of assessment) and grey literature. This review may be informed by informal discussions with academics within the Open University and outside. It may also link to mental health and wellbeing, and other EDI issues.

The intended outcome is a summary of suggestions to module teams to aid their discussion on exam writing and, probably, student preparation. In addition, it also contributes to the wider discourse of physics online exams..