Friday, April 3, 2015

Professors Ask Students to Create Their Own Exams

By Nada Helmy, Nour Eltigani and Lobna Shrief



(Cairo, April 1) - The Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT) held a workshop about student-generated exams facilitated by Professors Fady Morcos and Ezzeldin Yazeed on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at the American University in Cairo (AUC).

Both professors shared their stories about the topic. Morcos created a Facebook page for one of his classes and let students ask and answer questions so the questions can appear in their final. On the other hand, Yazeed allowed his construction students to create a midterm with its model answers. Both professors found their techniques very effective.

According to Yazeed, a professor of structure of engineering in the construction engineering department, “This strategy helps the professor to know how much the students digest from this course.”

Also, Morcos, who teaches scientific thinking and creative thinking courses, emphasized to his small audience of professors, “Student- generated questions enhance knowledge gaps and identify inaccurate expectations.”

The CLT has facilitated several workshops that promote the application of technology in classrooms and coursework including “Gamifying Your Classroom” that was held in November 2014 and featured Morcos. The CLT will be holding other workshops during the spring 2015 semester.

At the end of the workshop, both professors sat down with the rest of the attendees and started sharing their feedback on the workshop. Even though the workshop only lasted for an hour, all of the attendees shared positive comments about the new examination technique. 

Associate Professor of Practice Maha Bali recalled that the idea of student-generated exams was sparked in another CLT workshop that she facilitated. Bali assured, “I feel that more people should try that kind of thing, I was really happy with the workshop.”

Attendee Hadya El Minyawi, an instructor of rhetoric and composition, believes that “the workshop today gave me a new idea of having students study for the exam and make them cognitively involved in the material as they generate their own exams and taking ownership for their own learning.”

Student-generated exams are found to be effective by Morcos and Yazeed. Both professors will keep using this approach again in their future courses and advise other professors to do so too.

22 comments:

  1. Dr. Fady is one of the greatest professors; he really cares about his students' learning.
    Hopefully this method will be adopted by other professors in the long run.
    Great coverage.

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  2. I believe the idea of students designing their own exams and assignments is an excellent practice. It makes them feel free, and therefore responsible, respected, and trusted. If administered properly, the practice will not risk any of the things instructors care about; like objectivity and validity. I always use this technique in my course (both graduate and undergraduate ones) and it works miracles. I am also a professor of the post graduate professional certificates TEFL, TESOL, and Educational Management and I train my student teachers on this.

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  3. I went over the videos and the article about this CLT workshop. I have witnessed several academic institution in US applying similar examination techniques. Talking about my experience, I would state that I get to invest more quality time in understanding the materials in order to come up with an examination question. Also, having an incentive like bonus points for students would encourage more students to benefit from this technique. I suggest that professor and students collaborate more in picking the correct examination style for each class based on its nature.

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  5. As a student i should vote for both professors Morcus and Yazid's idea where students are in charge of creating their own exam questions. However, I believe that this idea will only work in a perfectionist world where students are eager to learn and are fighting to do so. Applying such an idea will lead the students to focus only in their study on the questions that are coming in the exam, leaving the hard part of the syllabus untouched. " Easy come, easy go," we are as students should exert appropriate amount of effort to learn and that is the one way that had worked and will work in such world.

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  6. I think it is not a good idea to implement since there are a lot of un ethical students who can easily cheat, but if it is implemented properly, it will enhance understanding and critical thinking.

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  8. I love the idea and i am totally with it perfect

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  9. I believe the idea where students would be able to design their own exams is a great one, as it would give them a better view of the academic material itself and also a positive way to make them feel respected and responsible to deliver it with high ethics.

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  10. The idea is fascinating and really could have am impact in thr progression of the students in their lecture based on the knowledge the of the strategy each professor use.

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  12. I think its an amazing idea if it is implemented properly , but definitely professors should try out this new technique .

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  13. The idea of students designing their own exams is definitely great, giving them the chance to be responsible and ethical enough to deliver their exams with a better view over the academic material.

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  14. Great idea that should definitly be implemented for the progression of the generation.

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  15. Its a long shot. With students its hard to apply it . There are too types of students either the nerdy one, who will create a very hard exam. The lazy ones who will create a very easy exam. Its not a bad idea but its not the best either. It has to be extreemly regulated.

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  16. I experienced this technique at school, and it was very successful because i got to know the material i studying better.

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  17. From my perspective, this would be beneficial for both the Doctors and the students. Furthermore, this would reflect the students' point of view and how much they understood the circulum. At the same time, doctors would evaluate their teaching skills and their ability to facilitate the information.

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  19.  I strongly believe that turning the test-taker into a test-maker can literally transform the process into an imaginative, exciting game involving both student and his doctor. Each tries to outguess the other's visions of the course. In addition, students should help and participate in correcting and grading their exams as they must correct their mistakes or weak areas on the test, and, in some cases, supply a rule explanation or an expansion of an idea.Hats off to you! It's an effective initiative step that should be taken to make that learning process more creative and enjoyable.

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  20. From my side i think its great idea and i would recommanded to my professores in my university because its creative idea to turn test taker to test maker

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  21. First off, I must admit that I was genuinely surprised when I first read about this; it's definitely not the typical professor/student relationship or interaction. It is solidly based on trust and respect for the students' ability to make up an exam based mainly on their understanding of the material they study, that plays a major role in the students' psychology since they are on the receiving end of this respect from their professors. Also, this idea will be of immense benefit to the students because then they will be eager to carefully study their material in order to come up with questions on different parts of the curriculum. Not only will they have to make up questions, they will need to come up with answers to solve them as well. This way, any weak points they have concerning the curriculum will be highlighted and immediately treated. If anything, this idea will have a remarkable effect on the students' approach towards the curriculum and will certainly cement any gaps between the professor and the students.

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  22. Love the coverage and the topic i will suggest this to my professors.

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