Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Novel Agent-Supported Academic Online Examination System

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Novel Agent-Supported Academic Online Examination System

Article excerpt

Introduction

Following the rapid developments in the information technologies, online education gains importance as an alternative to the traditional teaching models. In online education, teaching independent of time and space constraints brings a fast increase in the numbers of students. For evaluation of such high numbers of students, online test methods are more used than classical methods (Zhang et al., 2006). Structural problems of classical evaluation such as requiring too much time (Gawali & Meshram, 2009) and not allowing sufficient means for student and instructor feedbacks (Guo & Mao, 2010; Zhang et al., 2006) can be eliminated owing to the functions of online test system such as efficient management of evaluation process, feedback system and diversity and pace of student evaluation (Tallent-Runnels et al., 2006).

Studies on online examination systems constitute a major part of the studies on online education in the recent years (Tallent-Runnels et al., 2006). In many of these studies, theoretical models relating to the exam systems are provided along with application approaches. In their study, Mustakerov & Borissova (2011) predicted that the two-layered examination system they offered ensured significant benefits owing to the flexible adjustment approach during the testing process. Authors also asserted that the system they prepared could be used for formal and informal evaluation processes. And in other theoretical studies in the literature, examination systems are designed with 3 or more layers with the use of broader architectures. Although featured with differing names in the literature, the examination system is composed of preliminary preparation layer that covers administrator appointments and student enrollments (Brusilovsky & Miller, 1999; Gawali & Meshram, 2009; Keles et al., 2009; Aye & Thwin, 2008; Guo et al., 2008; Zhang et al., 2006), exam preparation layer consisting of questions, question pools and exams (Brusilovsky & Miller, 1999; Gawali & Meshram, 2009; Keles. et al., 2009; Jun, 2009; Aye & Thwin, 2008; Guo et al., 2008; Li & Wu, 2007; Zhang et al., 2006) and evaluation layer where the results of the exams are calculated (Brusilovsky & Miller, 1999; Gawali & Meshram, 2009; Keles et al., 2009; Jun, 2009; Li & Wu, 2007; Zhang et al., 2006). Aimin & Jipeng (2009) designed the three layers as administrator, student and instructor, whereas Jin & Ma (2008) created the exam architecture by the help of student and instructor layers alone.

Appropriate management of feedbacks received from students and reporting and analysis processes performed on the exam results are important for proper execution of the examination systems. In his study on collaborative learning process, Wilson (2004) investigated the extent the feedback process affects the student performance by comparing with the students who receive classical face-to-face education. The author emphasized that student feedbacks may render evaluation process more efficient. Crisp & Ward (2008), on the other hand, put that getting feedbacks in the systems with too many students can only be achieved by help of online systems. In their study, Shen et al. (2001) emphasized the importance of adjustment and update processes based on student feedbacks for proper execution of online exams. Also, the authors designed an intelligent monitoring system with automatic reporting and filtering capability. In another study, where importance of the monitoring systems is emphasized (Tinoco et al., 1997), a module, in which the exam results are evaluated, reported and comments derived from these reports by help of analyses, is added to the examination system architecture. Analyses on exam result are also included. Hang (2011) expressed that an online examination system architecture must include re-examination, automatic scoring, question pool update, flexible question design and system security topics. …

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