Unisa will let struggling students write open-book exams... at home

acidrain

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Might as well call it a final assignment because there is no difference.
 

ToxicBunny

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This was a topic of discussion on 702 this morning. Apparently many of the students have said these assessments are actually tougher than the "closed-book" ones, and it only applies to specific subjects where it can work. Students are basically being challenged to apply their knowledge in a more creative and innovative way, rather than simply listing x, y or z.

2 students (that I heard) phoned in and said they consider it at least on par with the previous method, if not more difficult.

And they've been using open-book assessments at the bigger universities for as long as I can remember.

If it was being positioned as a different testing methodology, and applied to ALL students in a particular course, then yeah.. but this is being positioned for "Struggling students"...
 

Stokstert

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Is this how Prasa’s head of engineering services Dr Daniel Mthimkhulu did it? :D
 

Solitude

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I thought I was reading The Onion when I read this article. Unbelievable.
 

OrbitalDawn

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At home? At home I can use any resource I want.

Yeah. Colleague of mine was busy with his honours in Information Science at the University of Pretoria last year and also had 24 hours to complete an open-book assessment, at home.

If it was being positioned as a different testing methodology, and applied to ALL students in a particular course, then yeah.. but this is being positioned for "Struggling students"...

I remember UP also having special assessment opportunities for students who only need 1 or 2 modules left to complete their degrees, so that they don't have to re-do a whole year.

That's the way that Havenga guy explained it this morning. You couldn't just do this whenever you want - it was for students at the end of their degree, to give them the chance to finish.

I assume all students in that position have the opportunity.
 
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R13...

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At home? At home I can use any resource I want.

I had one take home exam (not for failed subject) in my post grad program at Tukkies. It wasn't something you could "cheat" in, as OD said they give you a problem and ask you to solve it by applying the course theory. You couldn't Google your way to a solution. Much harder than closed book. Open book exams even when they aren't take home are harder than closed book because often the books/notes are useless. They look for application and mark you down for copying the notes verbatim.

But I have never seen a university offering open book exams at undergrad level. The closest we got was being allowed one crib sheet.
 

konfab

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It isn't a problem if they take the time to make the content of the "exam" significantly more difficult in content. They would also have to ask more essay type questions to make plagiarism more difficult.
 

ToxicBunny

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Yeah. Colleague of mine was busy with his honours in Information Science at the University of Pretoria last year and also had 24 hours to complete an open-book assessment, at home.



I remember UP also having special assessment opportunities for students who only need 1 or 2 modules left to complete their degrees, so that they don't have to re-do a whole year.

That's the way that Havenga guy explained it this morning. You couldn't just do this whenever you want - it was for students at the end of their degree, to give them the change to finish.

I assume all students in that position have the opportunity.

If it is shown to be more difficult than the standard written exams, it might work...

I just don't hold out much hope for it being that way, I unfortunately see it being abused as a way to get students pushed through.
 

Insint

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I guess I should write open book tests then because I am a struggling student. I struggle with subjects which I did not spend enough time learning.
 

Paul_S

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And UNiSA degrees become worthless

+1
This is the main reason why I haven't pursued a degree through UNISA.
I studied at Technikon and those diplomas are worthless now too.

I'd much rather spend the money studying via an international learning institution (Monash, University of London, etc.) than have a worthless piece of paper in 10 years time once politics and previously disadvantaged nonsense is forced on the local institutions.
If push comes to shove and you are forced to leave the country you won't have an African qualification against your name.
 

garp

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I'm not entirely against open book exams. They obviate a lot of mindless memorization which results in exams that really only test how well you remembered something for a few days. A good open book exam will test how you apply knowledge and understand the fundamentals regardless of whatever books you have at hand. But doing this from home is a big no no as you have no control over who is really doing the work. Some of the toughest exams I've written were open book exams. It doesn't really help to have a 500 page text book in front of you if you don't know how to apply the knowledge in order to solve a problem.
 

ld13

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Open book tests are always much more difficult ... we wrote them in TAX in university. The book was useless - was more of a reference than anything else. I welcome this as an alternative form of assessment if you have like one subject left that you are struggling with that allows for this type of testing.
 

krycor

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+1
This is the main reason why I haven't pursued a degree through UNISA.
I studied at Technikon and those diplomas are worthless now too.

I'd much rather spend the money studying via an international learning institution (Monash, University of London, etc.) than have a worthless piece of paper in 10 years time once politics and previously disadvantaged nonsense is forced on the local institutions.
If push comes to shove and you are forced to leave the country you won't have an African qualification against your name.

Well the main universities have always been good in this respect, e.g. UCT, most of their stuff is transferable abroad however as local politics force change even they have become lesser transferable e.g. UCT medical degrees use to require little to no international entrance exams for UK, etc but now do. For other degrees gov & industry(they not innocent) has pushed equivalency which has continually backfired with e.g. Engineers vs Technologists etc. Anyway, when studying you have to consider this as part of your selection process.

Open book exams are not uncommon btw, UCT has them too for a few subjects when i studied engineering.. but those course typically had max length exams AND typically were a lot harder than closed book exams + non-theory based type courses.. e.g. opinion based courses, applied theory courses etc.

Unlike UCT though, UNISA degrees aren't widely recognised already so i imagine instead of adding requirements for grads after year x they will likely just not get recognised :(
 

Voicy

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This was a topic of discussion on 702 this morning. Apparently many of the students have said these assessments are actually tougher than the "closed-book" ones, and it only applies to specific subjects where it can work. Students are basically being challenged to apply their knowledge in a more creative and innovative way, rather than simply listing x, y or z.

2 students (that I heard) phoned in and said they consider it at least on par with the previous method, if not more difficult.

And they've been using open-book assessments at the bigger universities for as long as I can remember.

When I did my project management certificate through UNISA we didn't have exams. It was all portfolios, took every spare hour that I had for the entire semester do do those things. Definitely not a walk in the park. Not difficult, but takes a metric crapton of effort to get it right. An open book EXAM on the other hand is just silly.

This was also for a 12month certificate, not a fully fledged degree.
 

Other Pineapple Smurf

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Well I got 14% last semester for a 3rd level module that I've spent the most effort one - 100 hours for two assignments and 200 hours of studies. The recommended amount of time is around 120 hours and not 300 hours.

Most of the class failed this exam and that includes A students getting 20%.

So an open book will be welcome but one cannot even pass the assignments of this module without putting in a crap load of effort. Making it an open book exam will not water down the value of the pass mark for any student who has written this module.
 

*SynergyX*

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Well I got 14% last semester for a 3rd level module that I've spent the most effort one - 100 hours for two assignments and 200 hours of studies. The recommended amount of time is around 120 hours and not 300 hours.

Most of the class failed this exam and that includes A students getting 20%.

So an open book will be welcome but one cannot even pass the assignments of this module without putting in a crap load of effort. Making it an open book exam will not water down the value of the pass mark for any student who has written this module.

MNG subjects i presume??

that what most of you dont get - these final level modules are based on hours of research and understanding... they are not merely copying facts out of a text book verbatim. So the benefit of having open book is not what you think, yes you will have access to ideas and concepts..but if you are given a case study you will still need to able to apply these..
 

Rocket-Boy

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What is a "concession" student and why are they getting an easier way out?
 

Voicy

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What is a "concession" student and why are they getting an easier way out?

Probably someone who works with Bubsy.

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