Open book (tablet) exams with internet access at University

This semester I am trying something new in my “intro to computer” class. For the first time ever I will have a completely open book exam which in this case means students will be allowed to use their tablets (which they receive when starting their studies at our university) and smartphones in order to find necessary information online.

This of course takes away standard exam questions like ‘which of the following is true or false…” or “name XYZ” but that’s the idea behind it. Students have to be able to find (or know) the right kind of information and relate it to the question / task at hand in order to come up with solutions that fit.

The idea arose quite a while ago since most tasks or questions in our world are not solely ‘what is this…?’ or ‘name this and that…’ tasks anymore. It’s about using the information that is at our fingertips for something bigger and better.

In order to make sure everything goes well and everybody is ok with that kind of exam (obviously I cleared things beforehand with our Associate Dean of Academics) I will let students vote on this kind of exam. I expect them to vote in favor of this kind of exam and will then let them sign a paper that states that we all agree on using our tech. devices in a fair and proper manner and refrain from cheating (which would be hard anyways since I try to make questions hard to cheat on). Since we are also talking about ethics in this class I hope that will work out.

Midterms are due in a few weeks and that will be the first time I am going to try that. Stay tuned to read how it went.

What are your ideas on that? Good idea? Naive? Have you tried it? Shout out in the comments.