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Spring 2024 - Volume 27, Issue 1

From the Editor

One of our fabulous articles in this edition of the OJDLA presents research related to online proctored examinations. This is certainly one of the many controversial topics related to distance education and its administration. The authors provide an in-depth review of relevant research and also present their own findings that students sometimes score significantly higher on exams when a course is not proctored. The implication appears to be that students are more prone to cheat if they aren't being watched.

Once again, I'm a little concerned we are asking the wrong questions. In a world in which information is at our fingertips, why do we still design exams that rely on memorization? It's difficult to shift out mindsets, but I do know that it is much easier to design and grade simplistic questions than it is to think about assessments more creatively. Now, there is a value in simple questions, and I think they are particularly useful in online quizzes. When students complete such low-stake quizzes, allowing books or notes (and multiple chances) actually becomes part of the learning process. Think of it more like homework even though we call it a "quiz."

On another note, how many of you have actually taken a remotely-proctored exam? I know from experience as an administrator what a nerve-wracking experience this can be. Issues include not only student angst in such an environment, but technical problems and low skill sets by some proctors. I've seen cases where students have had to wait for hours to start their exam. So, remote proctored exams do help address some fundamental issues, but they aren't the divine answer to assessment in my view.

Of course, it's important to ensure that our nurses and chemists and educators can prove that they know what they're doing before we let them pass the finish line. But must we assume the worst? Can we create an environment that feels more like a faculty-student partnership and a steep but wonderful journey up a beautiful mountain?

We'll discuss this and so much more at DLA2024 in Jekyll Island in July. Registration is open now and I'd love to see you again this year.

Best wishes for a glorious spring,


Melanie N. Clay

OJDLA Editor-in-Chief

March 22, 2024