Online assessments: Exploring perspectives of university students

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Education and Information Technologies


© 2018, The Author(s). The United Arab Emirates is committed to integrating technology into higher education. In this study the researchers aim to explore the perspectives of university students on online assessments. An understanding of students’ views can help identify obstacles and promotors in embracing online assessments at the undergraduate level. The social constructivist epistemology has been used in this qualitative study to understand students’ preferences, apprehensions and acceptance of online assessments. Semi-structured focus group discussions were carried out after recruiting 41 university students, using convenience and snowball sampling methods. Thematic content analysis was applied to the data. This study highlighted that students did not comprehend the need for online assessments. Concerns regarding technological incompetence of students and teachers alongside distrust in the technology infrastructure were stressed. Students felt online assessments were restrictive for the science courses and had resulted in falling grades; probably due to the increasing dependence on multiple choice questions. Students also expressed the importance of constructive, timely and personalized feedback. Students need to be convinced of the usefulness of the transition to online assessment before they agree with it. It is evident through this study that student acceptance would increase with a gradual transition towards online assessments alongside technological training for both students and faculty. Active individualized interaction with instructors is important to students, furthermore preferences and concerns emphasized by students should be addressed to successfully integrate online assessments into higher education.

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Author First name, Last name, Institution

Sarah Khan, Zayed University
Rashid Azim Khan, Etisalat Digital