It is already obvious that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the autumn session at universities, like the previous spring session, will also be held online. As the teachers told us on condition of anonymity, they are preparing ahead of time for large expenditures on the purchase of hardware, software and platforms necessary for remote admission of exams, and also anticipate blunders in student responses that have arisen due to cheating and prompts.
Exam exam, of course, strife. For example, exams in special courses and other subjects of specialization for senior students are easy: there are not so many who pass, and all of them are known to the department as flaky. So everything, according to the teachers, here everything is done “without children’s tricks and evasions.”
A different matter is exams in the so-called general courses, which are listened to by all students, but only a dozen of them from a stream of 120-150 people are needed for future specialization. Such a course is usually taken by a lecturer who not only does not even vaguely represent the potential of each student, but the vast majority of students do not know by sight. This is where the fun begins.
According to the rules, before the online exam, the student, of course, presents a document confirming his identity. For example, a student card. But the quality of the connection does not allow us to identify with certainty who entered the exam. And this creates the basis for a variety of combinations, such as the formation of a pool of “specialists” to pass one or another exam. Students, whatever one may say, are smart people, moreover, they are distinguished by a heightened sense of mutual assistance.
Another session life hack is cheating, the possibilities of which online mode, of course, almost tenfold. How the half-hour preparation for the answers to the ticket is going, teachers often do not see. Yes, this, in truth, is not so important, because later, when answering, the examiner sees only the student’s face and part of the table. What lies (or who stands, sits) on the side of the computer, no one except the examinee knows. And it can be anything – from a tablet with an answer to the corresponding request on the Internet, to a prompter competent in the question that has fallen out.
True, with oral answers, an experienced teacher will easily catch the student cheating or prompting: just a couple of questions about the course – and it’s in the bag. But written tests are another matter. Moreover, a number of universities officially allow you to take exams (and not current, but even additional entrance tests) … with headphones! And such a fortune, you see, is a sin not to use it. And many do use it.
Who, for example, in your opinion, are Herzon and Odarev mentioned in one of the examination papers? Hedgehog is clear: Herzen and Ogarev, it’s just that the author of the answer heard the “specialist” prompt in the headphones. And how to explain the statement in another work that “Zinovye and Kamenev have lost their tails?” It’s very simple: they dictated not “tails”, but “posts”, and the person misheard even in the simplicity of his soul, or, perhaps, in the heat of the examination fervor, without thinking, and blurted out in response, as he imagined.
You can laugh at student jokes as much as you like. But the fact that the teachers were thrown into the session, like into a loophole, without any support, is not at all funny. Neither connection to paid platforms, allowing long and high-quality communication with students online, nor payment for Internet traffic, much less providing computers with all the necessary bells and whistles, such as video cameras – the teachers received none of this! They promised to help only in one case. True, they refused to issue a computer for the duration of the session. But from their generosity they promised to bring a package of buckwheat or toilet paper. And this is an unprecedented case of the university’s desire to help its teacher.
“In general, distance education is such a sluggish catastrophe,” summed up the co-chairman of the University Solidarity trade union, Andronik Arutyunov. – The assimilation of information by students has dropped significantly, the quality of education has correspondingly collapsed to the bottom. It is a waste of time to conduct a session in such conditions: it is clear that the level of students’ understanding of the material will be extremely low. There are several problems at once. First, these are the fundamental limitations of the format of distance education itself. It is simply impossible to tell many things like that. Secondly, distance learning requires a completely different format of training by teachers, and very specific skills. Teachers often simply do not possess such skills, and even without that, having an exorbitant workload, starting to spend 1.5-2 times more time on preparing for classes does not at all contribute to improving the quality of teaching. Thirdly, many teachers are simply not provided with the necessary equipment: a tablet, a webcam, light, high-quality Internet. Well, those who are provided for – mainly at their own expense. In general, you need to be aware that today’s students, especially first-year students, will have an education much lower than our average (already not brilliant) level.