As I have been reflecting more and more on how technology is changing not only how we teach, but also what we need to teach students, and train students to be able to do, I have found myself considering phasing out exams of the traditional sort, in which I essentially test what they have been able to remember. Information is available with a few clicks of their thumbs, and so it seems better to instead test students’ ability to find reliable information online, rather than test their ability to remember it.
And so I may in the near future give a final exam in which students have access to whatever electronic devices they wish, and are given a limited time in which to locate reliable information and use it to answer a question – with appropriate credit being given to sources and without any plagiarism, of course.
During the semester, assignments and classroom activities will focus on preparing students with these sorts of skills.Has anyone else radically rethought the focus of their classes, or the way they do final exams, in light of changing technology? Have others been rethinking the relative value of recall versus information literacy as skills we need to instill in students? Do you think that an exam format in which you are allowed to use any sources you wish will reduce the need to be concerned about various forms of cheating and intellectual dishonesty? Are there other issues with this approach that I may have overlooked, or at least neglected to mention?