A Matter of Credibility and Authenticity
With a focus on international education - notions around credibility and authenticity have never been more important to the Sector given our emergence from the shadows of the pandemic. The Australian reputation for high quality education and delivery must be guarded at all costs – and any concerns relating to integrity and authenticity must be met head on – and out credibility must be ensured at all costs.
The new reality has coughed up some significant changes – one of those being the issue of eCheating – for the want of a better term.
This concern had been augmented from well-intended, though misplaced, media attention around the notion of students cheating online and using products such as ChatGPT for the very wrong reasons. The shift away from exams to assignments has also had an unsettling impact – in some cases again unfounded – but in some unnerving to say the least.
A number of business schools have publicised the fact that they have replaced examinations with assignments – opening the gate wider for fraud and deception. One can only guess that the decision is less to do with student welfare and reputation and more to do with marketing and growing numbers. The notion is disappointing at many levels.
A number of universities have suggested the only solution is to return to the examination room with pen and paper in hand accompanied by long queues of identifying students. This too – though a better option – is most impractical and simply out of sorts with the new reality that we now live in (almost) post pandemic.
Online, proctored (invigilated) examinations are in my mind the best option. The experience of my own school (using a product called Invigilator Plus - https://www.invigilatorplus.com.au/) has been very impressive and has put many a mind at rest. There are a number of products on the market – but our decision to use a proctoring tool has been vindicated. The take up has been very positive by both staff and students and the credibility of our teaching and learning has been reinforced. Shared data suggests high levels of completion rates of exams and high levels of student satisfaction with the process and product.
My own School (as part of the COVID-19 strategy) converted from a 100% examination regime to a 60% examination regime in early 2020. This has maintained good levels of authenticity and academic integrity – though not perfect. I am proposing a gradual return to the full complement of examinations (on line) using the proctoring package and feel this will enhance the credibility of our offerings particularly those accredited by external bodies.
When it comes to authenticity and academic integrity – the cost must come second to the assurances that our standards are being maintained – and our credibility is intact!
Emeritus Professor Greg Whateley is Deputy Vice Chancellor (UBSS) and Vice President (Academic) at GCA.