Electronic Blue Books and Online Testing

Swarthmore ITS supports faculty interested in moving from paper blue books to their electronic equivalents.  Swarthmore uses SecureExam software to allow students to take tests on public area computers while providing a safe and secure way of administering tests.  Many students prefer typing to writing and the software provides a basic word processor and spell checking tools.  Many faculty prefer reading typed papers instead of deciphering handwritten pages.  The software prevents students from accessing other programs while taking the test so it is possible to have a “closed book” exam.  At the end of the exam, students submit their work and the faculty member gets a folder containing all the exams in PDF format.

Students taking an online exam

The software has been used for Honors Exams beginning last year and was recently used for a Religion midterm exam.   Mark Davis, ITS Software Specialist, set up and administers the system.  He notes that the software saved the college a significant amount of money in express mail deliveries since honors exam papers can now be sent electronically instead of having to send paper copies to the external examiners.  In addition, the project is expected to reduce faculty eyestrain by 76% thereby saving the college health insurance thousands of dollars normally spent on optometrist visits and updated glasses prescriptions*.

If you are interested in learning more about the system, contact Mark Davis (davis) or one of the ITS Academic Technologists – Eric Behrens (behrens), Andrew Ruether (aruethe2), and Doug Willen (willen).

* statistic fabricated for effect