At the university I teach, we have a learning managment system that allows us to create online tests for the content we teach. I administered a multiple choice/short answer midterm using this online component. As an instructor I loved it! The multiple choice questions were instantly graded, but I had to manually grade the short answer questions. The system allowed me to conduct an item analysis to determine the most frequently missed questions and the response. I thought it was great. . .
When I asked students about the experience, they were not as thrilled as I was. Granted, the technology didn't necessarily cooperate that day we took the midterm as it kicked students out of the test. It did save their answers so nothing was lost; it was just a nuisance.The students didn't mind the multiple choice questions; however, the short answer questions didn't provide enough space for them to write. Some students preferred to have written everything out given a paper and pencil. I was shocked. I thought for sure this 'net generation' would prefer to take a computerized test which allowed them to read the questions from a screen and type (instead of hand write) their responses.
What is an instructor supposed to do? I felt I was meeting my students' needs, but in the end, I was only meeting some of their needs. I'm curious to know your thoughts/experiences. I look forward to hearing your thoughts regarding online testing. What the pros/cons? Does it meet students' needs or not?