Should Colleges Rethink Final Exams within the COVID Era? Some Profs Try ‘Epic Finales’

As the pandemic hit and schools shifted instruction on-line, professors had been compelled to shortly adapt, typically throwing out their plans and hitting reset. For some educators that sudden shift led to some soul looking about what school instructing was all about.

That was the case with Stephanie Bailey, an assistant professor at Chapman University who was instructing an introductory physics course within the spring protecting ideas like electrical energy and magnetism. In her syllabus written earlier than the pandemic, she had deliberate a last examination with a sequence of physics issues for college kids to work out. But that simply didn’t really feel proper with all that her college students had been going by way of.

“Many students felt huge anxieties and pressures associated with their futures and their careers, and what COVID and the pandemic meant for them in the short and long term,” she says. “I wanted to be very sensitive, and I didn’t believe that a traditional written exam would appropriately and adequately address those challenges.”

Here’s what Bailey did as a substitute: She paired college students with residents at an area senior-living house the professor partnered with, and he or she requested the scholars to do Zoom calls with them. It was an act of group service, because the seniors had been on lockdown and had been particularly remoted.

What did that must do with physics?

The college students had been supposed to elucidate a number of the ideas that they had discovered in school.

What did the scholars suppose?

“I was definitely a little bit anxious to talk to them and see how they would receive the conversation,” mentioned Natalie Richardi, a 19-year-old pupil within the class who all of a sudden discovered herself instructing physics ideas to a person in his late 80s.

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The college students weren’t the one ones with some nervousness about this concept. Some in her division had robust questions in regards to the strategy as nicely. To be clear, the scholars all needed to write an essay about what they talked about with their dialog companions within the senior residing house, and these essays had been imagined to exhibit a few of what they discovered. But is that this an applicable option to assess pupil studying?

As it seems, there’s a small motion of professors who argue that even once we’re not in a pandemic, it’s time to eliminate conventional finals as we all know them, and change them with one thing much more memorable, experiential and stunning.

Elon University professor Anthony Crider calls the strategy “epic finales.” And it raises deep questions on what is meant to occur in lecture rooms—whether or not in individual or digital.

On this week’s episode of the EdSurge Podcast, we’re wanting into what occurs when last exams are changed by this concept of an epic finale. And listeners will hear stunning examples of what professors have tried, and the way college students responded. There are large monoliths, educated chickens and robotic speaking trash cans.

Listen to this week’s episode on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music, or wherever you take heed to podcasts, or use the participant on this web page.

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