1. How is the Coronavirus situation where you live? What's closed down? Have you gone out much? Are you (Oh, what's the trendy term now " Self-distancing "?) staying inside as a precaution or actually infected or is anyone else you know? I hope, if so, you're well. Let's...well, exchange comments.
  2.   I am now in Portland, Oregon. The Govenor, and then, locally, Portland declared a state of emergency. I saw the comment made that Oregon was the furthest behind on dealing with CV of the 3 West Coast states.
  3.   I went out yesterday ( Sun.), I am ill and had sleep to make up to-day (Mon.) and ended up not going out - I may go out across the street to a all-nite grocery tonite-early Tues. I have not heard of a regular medical appointment Tues. being cancelled.

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How do they guard against people cheating on exams they take from home?  Do they have to have a webcam so some proctor can monitor them?

Somebody in the room asked that very question, and the answer was that it's in the metadata.

I'll try not to be longwinded (he said, optimistically), but ... 

Each student has to install a program on their laptop or tablet to submit their exam answers.* When you log in to the program, it shuts you out of everything else on your computer; as we were told, it turns your computer into a big typewriter.

The program also notes when you begin and when you end, forwards the completed exam to the university, sends the student a signal ("Exam Accepted" or some such) and saves an encrypted copy of the exam that the student is not to open. That's in case the exam doesn't transmit; the student can email the copy to the registrar. If the student does open it, the metadata will show that.

All exams are marked with a code number from the registrar; the professor grades them without knowing the name that goes with any of the tests.

* Those Luddites who don't use computers can write their answers in bluebooks, but must number them -- "No. 1 of 3," "No. 2 of 3," etc.

Interesting.  Things sure have changed since we used to carve our answers into slabs of granite.

ClarkKent_DC said:

Somebody in the room asked that very question, and the answer was that it's in the metadata.

I'll try not to be longwinded (he said, optimistically), but ... 

Each student has to install a program on their laptop or tablet to submit their exam answers.* When you log in to the program, it shuts you out of everything else on your computer; as we were told, it turns your computer into a big typewriter.

The program also notes when you begin and when you end, forwards the completed exam to the university, sends the student a signal ("Exam Accepted" or some such) and saves an encrypted copy of the exam that the student is not to open. That's in case the exam doesn't transmit; the student can email the copy to the registrar. If the student does open it, the metadata will show that.

All exams are marked with a code number from the registrar; the professor grades them without knowing the name that goes with any of the tests.

* Those Luddites who don't use computers can write their answers in bluebooks, but must number them -- "No. 1 of 3," "No. 2 of 3," etc.

Professors may choose to offer tests as open book (use any and all resources you want), closed book (use nothing but your computer logged in to the exam program, and pen or pencil) or limited closed book (use your computer logged in to the exam program, and only the books and/or outline approved by the professor). 

The first time I did the proctoring thing, I had an orientation session in which we were told of the various and sundry ways students might attempt to cheat (texting, screen sharing, crib sheets secreted on their person, even fake labels on the water bottles they were allowed to bring in), and we were told to watch them like a hawk.

The second time I did it, it was at different university. It was more bureaucratic; each time out, we had to show a video message from the dean to the students with the same spiel about test procedures, exam policy, the honor code, what to do in case of emergency, etc., etc. We had a copy of that speech to read in case the video failed. We proctors were to watch out for cheating, but they didn't emphasize it to the degree the other university did, which made me wonder if the first place had a real problem or the second place was more trusting.

This week, I was at yet another university, and they told us not to sweat it. We were told, more than once, this exam represents a huge part of each student's grade, and they are nervous and hyped up and are not going to do anything to screw it up. And if somebody does, all of the other students in the class will let you know about it. 

I should mention that in all cases, the students sign a document declaring they will uphold the university's honor and integrity code and accept the consequences for breaking it. But even with that, the approach from each school I did this for was different.

With the one school, we had to exactly count how many exams we receive from the registrar's office, exactly note how many we distributed, exactly count how many were returned to us, exactly count how many honor pledges were returned to us, and exactly match the code number on each pledge form with each exam returned. With the other, we just collected the pledge forms; they didn't want us to count them. 

JD DeLuzio said:

Richard Willis said:

It would be nice to see the Spider-Man and Bond movies without having to wait, but I can be patient. The movie won't have changed.

Someone needed to explain that to George Lucas.

Exactly what crossed my mind when I made that comment!

ClarkKent_DC said:

Each student has to install a program on their laptop or tablet to submit their exam answers.* When you log in to the program, it shuts you out of everything else on your computer; as we were told, it turns your computer into a big typewriter.

If a student wants to cheat, what is to prevent him/her from being alone with two computers, using the locked one to take the exam and the unlocked one to cheat?

ClarkKent_DC said:

Each student has to install a program on their laptop or tablet to submit their exam answers.* When you log in to the program, it shuts you out of everything else on your computer; as we were told, it turns your computer into a big typewriter.


Richard Willis said:

If a student wants to cheat, what is to prevent him/her from being alone with two computers, using the locked one to take the exam and the unlocked one to cheat?

Probably nothing, other than having to get it all done within the three-hour test-taking window.

But while cheating is serious business, I can't say I favor the mindset that the whole room is full of crooks (the first university) and am adjusting to the notion that they're all adults who are aware of the consequences and don't want to suffer them, so of course they'll all do the right thing (the third university). 

I wonder if cheating isn't of limited utility in more advanced subject, anyhow.    If you don't have a good understanding of your subject, you're probably not going to be able to fake it convincingly.

Two friends of mine will be spending their first Christmas as a married couple (they were together for nearly 10 years, but tied the knot only earlier this year) at home because, y'know, COVID. 

The husband is asymptomatic, but the wife doesn't feel great at all. But since they both are vaccinated and boosted, it's not too bad.

Here we are at Thanksgiving 2021 and Christmas 2021, and the shadow of COVID is still hanging over us.

As noted here, spent Thanksgiving at my son's house with his adorable girlfriend. We're spending Christmas there too; he had a scare in that someone who is on one of his sports teams warned the players that she came down with COVID.

After scrambling around to find a place where he could get a test, the result came back negative, fortunately. Still, he didn't feel safe riding the train to get to us, so we're going to him. And he will cook the roast beast, as his adorable girlfriend delivered groceries during that period when he didn't want to venture out until he knew what the test results would be.

This will be the first time ever that we three haven't done Christmas in our house. I suppose it had to happen sometime. I have the mixed feelings of being sad that our tradition has changed and proud of him for being so generous, as well as happy that we can do it safely. 

My son's adorable girlfriend just delivered a bunch of homemade Christmas treats!

She got a rapid test -- she works for an optometrist -- and is fine. She says the rapid tests are sold out everywhere and people are hoarding them and re-selling them at huge markups, like they were with wipes and spray cleaner in the early days of COVID. 

Here's to an end to this nonsense, and a happier holiday season one year from now. 

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