Tuesday, November 24, 2020
LawProfBlawg (Anonymous Professor, Top 100 Law School), Your Compassionate Final Exam:
Some professors are giving short, timed exams while watching their students to assure that they don’t cheat. That means a LOT can go wrong for some students. The shorter the time window, the greater the chances of problems. Broader and larger windows (more time to work, more flexibility in the time taking the exam) go a long way to mitigate problems. But even that doesn’t eliminate some of the challenges of taking exams in a pandemic.
Some students do not have spaces in which to work, concentrate or think. They live with parents, family, and roommates. They may not have access to reliable internet. But yeah, you watch the zoom, prof.
Schools are closing for the Thanksgiving break and afterward in anticipation of a (now certain) COVID-19 spike. Great! But, where does one take that incredibly short term final with certain internet? How does one find child care for those definitive three hours? See Law Students In the Age of Coronavirus. It’s not like these problems haven’t been foreseen for a long while. Amazing that there are still discussions about what a final should look like right now. ...
I’m a little tired of hearing stories about students suffering the crushing blows of this year, only to be met by professors saying things like: Sorry. Suck it up. ... It’s amazing how so much more concerned some professors are about cheating than about the mental health of their students. And it’s amazing how much more concerned some professors are about students giving those professors godlike powers over their damned lives than the professors are about the lives of the students. ...
If you haven’t thought about these considerations before, now is the time. If you’re already practicing compassion with your final exams, great. If you’re doing something more draconian, I have to ask why. What is the gain to be achieved? And against what harm? If this is just about recycling exams, I’m going to be disappointed.