Post COVID-19 the ANU has released a return to campus initiative which outlines an expectation for a complete return to on campus teaching in 2022, unless exceptional circumstances prevail. The initiative does not refer to examinations.

An ANU spokesperson has advised that “The vast majority of exams in semester 2 are being conducted online” and that “All centrally administered exams are being conducted online.”

However, a number of students this semester have already experienced their first in-person examination and more still will experience in-person examinations as semester 2 comes to a close.

A spokesperson for the ANU says that “Individual course convenors [decide] how they deliver their individual assessments including tests and exams”. This is why examinations have begun to vary across the ANU this semester.

An ANU spokesperson did not respond to a question about any changes to grades that could result from the transitioning examination formats. Student grades improved throughout COVID-19, likely due to the online format, suggesting that some students could see a permanent drop in their grades when the ANU moves back to in-person exams.

For some ANU students, on-campus exams will be a new experience. At the ANU, these exams are typically run in lecture halls, labs or tutorial rooms. They involve invigilation by lecturers, teaching staff, or official invigilators. Students are required to display their ANU student ID card and instructions will be given if other equipment can be brought in (e.g., calculators). On-campus exams can also specify a designated reading time, followed by the ‘examination time’. More information on the specifics of in person examinations at the ANU can be found here.

However, online exams and assessments were used before COVID-19 and professors will continue to use them.

Several non-ANU academics have called for a complete return to on-campus examinations because of an increase in contract cheating in the wake of COVID-19. This form of cheating can include the use of commercial online tutors to take exams, assistance while taking exams, and ghost writing.

A return to on-campus exams with traditional invigilation decreases the likelihood of cheating, with positive effects on the validity of examinations, courses and degree reputation. An ANU spokesperson said that, “Academic integrity is of upmost [sic] importance at ANU” and that, “ANU has a number of measures in place to give students confidence their ANU degree is robust and respected, including invigilation of online examinations.”

While online examinations can be convenient, and integrity checks can be included (e.g., online invigilation via Proctorio), on-campus examinations avoid the privacy concerns raised by some students who have used Proctorio.

An ANU spokesman has advised that, “If any student has concerns with any assessment for any reason, they should contact Access and Inclusion for confidential, individual support. They can also speak to their course convenor, the Associate Dean for education in their academic college or the Dean of Students”.

It remains to be seen whether students feel sufficiently prepared for the examination formats they will face and if online exams will continue to be used beyond Semester 2.


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