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Second International Conference on Computer Research and Development

Student's perception of an online exam within

the Decision Support System Course at Al al
Bayt University
Ibtesam Fares Al-Mashaqbeh Ahmad Al Hamad
Department of Computer Education Department Management Information System
Al al-Bayt University Al al-Bayt University
Mafraq-Jordan Mafraq-Jordan
ibtesam@aabu.edu.jo aqd14@yahoo.com

Abstract— The aim of this study is to measure students' automatically and routinely comparing students' answers
perceptions toward the use of online exam as an assessment for the exam; and the software that construct the exam
tool on university campus within a Decision Support System should allow a random test construction (Rowe and Neil
Course at Al al Bayt University. The study will show the 2004). In Distance learning environment there are a lot of
advantages and disadvantages of the using an online exam pressures on the program coordinators to find a way to
on the university campus. To do so a questionnaire was
test students securely. Online testing should be secure,
delivered to students taking the course and then it was
analyzed using the SPSS. The results showed that there was which means that the "right" person is taking the test and
a positive perception towards the adopting of online exam. the test items are protected by ensuring the integrity and
security of the testing procedures (Distance Education
Index Terms— Distance Learning, Assessment, Online
Exam, Online Evaluation, Online Interaction).. Online assessment plays an important part in the learning
process. This way of assessment needs to be valid,
I. INTRODUCTION reliable, fair, and flexible. It provides greater flexibility in
“when and how” assessment is undertaken (Australian
With the new wave of using technology in higher National Training Authority, 2002). There are different
education, online exams have become a part of the forms for online exam that support students learning such
institution's course evaluation methods. Online exams as: Written assignments, online discussions, Essays,
offers a variety of educational opportunities such as: presentations, online quizzes and questions, Collaborative
allowing students to become more active, helping assignment work, and Online Exams (Hartcher, Booth,
students with different learning styles and needs, and 2002). There are a various types of software that has
offering them more access to online database for exam been used to deliver online tests such as: WebCT,
preparations (Mya, Martha and Stassen 2008). The Responders, Perception, and Question Mark (Strategies
Educational Testing Service (ETS) offered different kind for Success). Technology expertise work hard to adopt
of general tests that is required in higher education new technologies for online exams preparation that
institutions such as: Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and a should make the assessment process more secure,
computerized SAT (Fair test, 2007). Much of the learning accessible, affordable, and more accurate for all students
in technological educational courses are best assessed via (distance education organizations).
instruments and online techniques and is preferred to be
used to enhance the traditional tests. Although traditional Students in an online learning environment students are
assessment required time and more administration efforts actively involved in the learning process while teachers
for grading and administer the exam it still important for work hard to establish trusting relationships with their
learning in the cognitive domain by helping students students, and provide a structured assessment tools that
during their learning process. So it is not argued in this help their students to enhance their performances and
paper to replace the traditional way of giving exams, but help themselves to have more time that is usually spent in
enhancing it by integrating the online exams if needed marking the exams (Young, 2006). Helping students to be
and if it is of any value to help in improving the ready for online exam could be achieved by different
educational process. ways like: providing online materials for students to
II. ASSESSMENTS TOOLS: study for the exam which cover the needs of each student
(Schoenfeld, 2003). Online assessment could serve a
Using online exam as an assessment tool involves a lot of multiple purposes: assessing students learning for course
issues that has to be taken into consideration such a

978-0-7695-4043-6/10 $26.00 © 2010 IEEE 131

DOI 10.1109/ICCRD.2010.15
materials and assessing students' computer skills this year for the purpose of conducting online exams and
(Moskal, 2000). to computerize the course material, so there is a need to
study the student’s perception of online exam to help
In online testing each student is responsible for being increasing the adoption of this new experience. The IT
familiar with the testing procedures by completing their college students were chosen, because they are the most
test in a timely and appropriate manner (Strategies for skilled students in the university in using computers, so if
Success). Assessment in online and traditional education the study gives negative signs towards the adoption of the
environment allows teachers to determine what, and how online exam, that means that the university should be
well, their students are learning. It also allows them to very careful in implementing the online exam idea before
fined the best teaching methods for their students, and studying all the issues and solving all the problems that
allows department heads to evaluate the effectiveness of stands in front of applying the idea. And if the study
the entire programs (Fenno, 2002). Developing a gives positive signs, then it could be re done for other
formative assessment system is one of the most important students from other colleges until we can measure the
concerns of distance education programs. The major goal perception of students towards the idea of online exam.
of assessment system should be to help in identifying and
applying improvements in the student learning process,
by giving students a feedback on their learning progress.
Instructors could use pre-online exam that allow students IV. DATA ANALYSIS
being prepare for the final exam by discussing and Data analysis is an important part of any research and it is
repeating exam attempts, which should ensure less exam therefore extremely important that the researchers not
pressure for the students (Williams, 2005). Online exams only understands the underlying principles of data
have many advantages that support teachers' preparations analysis but also has the skills to apply the appropriate
for the exam such as: it gives the instructors have the statistical tests. Harvey (1998) stated,
ability to randomly select the exam items from a test
Bank, to generate data for the questions, and to randomly As with gathering data, an important concern is how long
re-order the test answers choices (Fields & Johnson, the data will take to analyse. The process of analyzing
2006). and categorizing qualitative data can be very time
III. SAMPLE SELECTION: intensive. Transcription (which could be considered to be
part of either data capture or analysis) also needs to be
Columns according to Hussey and Hussey (1997) a considered.
sample is a subject of population that should represent the
main interests of the undertaken study. Harvey (1998) Harvey (1998) also added that data can be presented in a
stated, Before [the researchers starts the evaluation] it is range of formats, it depends on the type of data gathered
important to be clear in what [he/she] wants to find out and the type of software used to analyze these data.
from [his/her] evaluation, which evaluation method is
going to be the most appropriate for [the study], and how In this study, software called Statistical Package for
many students it is going to appropriate and practical to Social Science (SPSS) is used to analyze the
include. … A number of sample options are possible, but questionnaire that was delivered to students, this software
it is worth bearing in mind what the benefits and is used to examine relationships between variables and to
limitations of each might be. examine the difference between groups/conditions. In the
results, the researcher will try to find some relations
The population of the study are all students taking a between questions.
course called “Decision support systems and expert
systems” at Al al Bayt University Jordan - Mafraq. The
sample taken is two sections, both sections are taking the V. THE RESULTS:
course Decision support systems and expert systems on The questionnaire was divided into 15 questions, two
the first semester 2007/2008. Fifty students were enrolled questions (1 & 15) were designed to ask about the
in each section, for a total of 100 students. Students student’s opinions on the online exam. Some questions
enrolled at this course were from two fields: Management were designed to ask about the capabilities and features
Information systems and Computer Information Systems of the online exam (questions: 3, 4, 5, 9, & 10), two
at the Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah IT college. Students questions were designed to ask about the student’s
are from different levels: second, third, and fourth year of capabilities (computer skills) before doing the online
study, both males and females. exam (questions: 6 & 7), question 11 was designed to ask
about the university’s capabilities (resources: computers,
The course Decision support systems and expert systems labs, etc..), a very important question (number 8) was
was selected because it is a university requirements for all designed to ask about the need for implementing the
students at the IT college and also this course can best online exam through an e-learning environment. And the
suit the idea of online exam. The study was implemented three questions (12, 13, and 14) were designed to collect
at Al al Bayt University because there is an initiative to some information about the students (Gender,
adopt online exams through a new department established Department, and Level).

The data collected from the questionnaire was entered 15% of students disagree that the GUI of the online
and analyzed using a very well-known package called
exam was user friendly.
SPSS (Statistical Package for social science). And the
results showed the following: 10% of students strongly disagree that the GUI of
the online exam was user friendly.
For the questions (1 & 15):

Question 1: Do you agree that delivering the exam

Question 4: Do agree that the time assigned for each
online is of any value to you? question is sufficient as for the whole online exam?
65% of students strongly agree that using the online 89% of students strongly agree that time was
exam is valuable. sufficient.
20% of students agree that using the online exam is 11% of students agree that time was sufficient.
valuable. 0% of students neither agree or disagree that time
10% of students neither agree or disagree that using was sufficient.
the online exam is valuable. 0% of students disagree that time was sufficient.
5% of students disagree that using the online exam is 0% of students strongly disagree that time was
valuable. sufficient.
0% of students strongly disagree that using the Question 5: Do you agree that presenting one item
online exam is valuable. only one the screen helps the students to concentrate
on the question?
Question 15: Do you find yourself motivated in 80% of students strongly agree that it does help.
using the online quiz? 15% of students agree that it does help.
70% of students strongly agree that the online exam 5% of students neither agree or disagree that it does
was motivating. help.
22% of students agree that the online exam was 0% of students disagree that it does help.
motivating. 0% of students strongly disagree that it does help.
5% of students neither agree or disagree that the
online exam was motivating. Question 9: Do you agree adding the back option for
questions will help students to
2% of students disagree that the online exam was memorize and revise their answers?
motivating. 80% of students strongly agree that the back option
1% of students strongly disagree that the online is helpful.
exam was motivating. 20% of students agree that the back option is helpful.
For the questions (3, 4, 5, 9 & 10): 0% of students neither agree or disagree that the back
option is helpful.
Question 3: do you think that the GUI of the online
0% of students disagree that the back option is
exam was user friendly? helpful.
40% of students strongly agree that the GUI of the 0% of students strongly disagree that the back
online exam was user friendly. option is helpful.
20% of students agree that the GUI of the online
exam was user friendly. Question 10: To what extent do you agree that
adding images and figures to the
15% of students neither agree or disagree that the online exam can help in more visualization and
GUI of the OE was user friendly explanations options?

80% of students strongly agree that the images and of capabilities, but students agreed that it also can be
enhanced with additional features. Also students agree
figures options is helpful.
that integrating the online exam through an e-learning
20% of students agree that the images and figures environment can help to more adoption for the idea of the
online exam. Finally, it has to be mentioned that the
options is helpful.
students involved on the study are from IT background,
0% of students neither agree or disagree that the and this may be one of the reasons that help to increase
the adoption of the online exam within the sample
images and figures options is helpful.
selected, and for future studies, it is recommended that
0% of students disagree that the images and figures this study to be spread within the rest of the university
students who are from different backgrounds rather than
options is helpful.
the IT, this may give a more reliable and trusted results.
0% of students strongly disagree that the images
and figures options is helpful. Reference

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Journal of Distance Education, University of Wyoming, I. Mashaqbeh is with the Al al Bayt University,
20(2), 2006. Mafraq, Jordan (e-mail: ibtisam@ aabu.edu.jo).

A. Al Hamad., is with the Al al Bayt University,

Mafraq, Jordan (e-mail: aqd14@yahoo.com).