As a part of the University of Balamand’s commitment to salvage the semester for its students despite the situation, President Warrak has formed an Online Exams Task Force chaired by Professor Rami Abboud. This Task Force plays an integral role in devising a protocol for training staff whom will in turn support faculty members and students as exams are administered online.
The first online exam conducted at the Issam Fares Faculty of Technology (IFFT) was held on Thursday, April 9, 2020, for the course MECT222. The course instructor, Dr Claudia Mattar, who is also a member of the task force remarked that the process went very smoothly with no issues and that students although reluctant at first had a very positive outlook and feedback at the end. Students remarked that the testing went smoothly and the system was user friendly.
The test was administered using the novel system combining GIS, Moodle, and Respondus technologies. Dr Mattar was in close contact with the GIS and IT teams operating under the Task Force throughout the exam time in order to closely monitor the students and support them in case any issues arise.
Acting Dean of the Issam Fares Faculty of Technology, Dr Elie Karam, said that he is very proud of the achievement that the University of Balamand was able to accomplish through the dedication of its faculty members and staff. Dr Karam was particularly pleased to learn that the feedback received from Dr. Mattar’s students after taking the test came to be quite positive indicating that the process is less complicated than they originally thought; and some students even mentioned that they found the system to be friendly after only two short trial sessions. “This is an experience that we are looking to build on with the support of the University Task Force to ensure that we salvage the semester for our students” assured Dr Karam.
Vice President for Internationalization and Engagement Professor Rami Abboud and Head of the Task Force assured that this first experience at IFFT along with experiences at other faculties demonstrate the university’s commitment to administer an online assessment that is robust, effective, and fair. The smoothness of the operation is indebted to the dedication of the staff and faculty members who have worked tirelessly for weeks now to design, test, and operate the system that is unique to the University of Balamand. He concluded: “Online assessment can only be successful if the operation is supported by the full cooperation of both the students and their respective Faculty instructors.”