I am the course leader for a course with more than 600 students. This semester, I decided to conduct our end-of-semester quiz as a computer-based quiz using our school's learning management system. We needed to reserve multiple computer lab rooms due to the fact that the maximum capacity of a lab room is about 80 students.
Unfortunately, we had always used a paper-based quiz in the past, and it was the first time that we had ever used computer-based quiz, so things did not go as smoothly as we would have liked.
We had requested that the students should show up to the quiz venue 10 minutes early. This would give them time to turn on the computers and to log in to the quiz using a special browser (Respondus LockDown Browser) rather than the regular Internet Explorer browser. Unfortunately, our instructions to the invigilators and the students were not clear enough, so even though most of the students showed up to the quiz venue 10 minutes early as requested. The invigilators did not make clear to the students how to log into the computers and into the quiz, so many of the students started the quiz 5-10 minutes late.
I attempted to communicate with the invigilators to give the students 5 additional minutes to complete the quiz. Unfortunately, due to miscommunication, some of the invigilators ended the quiz on time (so the students in their session had 50-55 minutes); whereas some of the invigilators gave the students extra time (so the students in their session had close to 60 minutes).
After the quiz was over, some of the students who received 50-55 minutes complained to me that they were disadvantaged because they had less time to complete the quiz than other students. It may or may not have been the student's fault if he or she had less time for the quiz.
- For some of these students, they had less time because they arrived late (which is their fault)
- For other students, they arrived on time. However, because their computers booted up slowly, or the invigilators did not make it clear how to open the correct browser and how to start the quiz, they started their quiz late by ~5 minutes (this could have been avoided with better planning on our part).
- How should I respond to these student's complaints?
- Is there anything that I should do to "fix" the situation?
Currently, I feel that the quiz was mostly fair to the students. I am able to see in the learning management system that fewer than 0.1% of the questions were not answered, which means that 99.9% of the questions were submitted properly. So although some students who had more time had the benefit of double-checking their answers, for the most part even students who only had 50 minutes had enough time to complete all of the questions.