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The solution, of course, is to have open-book, open-notes tests. Let the students bring any notes, books, etc.; anything but a communication device. The questions need to be novel and challenging enough so that the students who understand the material can walk out in no time; the students who don't, can sit around flipping through their notes.

Of course, this approach requires the _professor_ to do a lot more work. (The few times I taught, I used this approach and always got rave or begrudging reviews).

So really, I have no sympathy for this professor if he adopted the "security through obscurity" approach (as in, the problem set wouldn't be accessible to students). I don't blame the students for doing what they did; in real life, don't we expect employees to use whatever resources they can to solve problems?




Exactly. The best professor I ever had did exactly this and he was from India and dressed like a cowboy (not important but awesome). He posted a few previous semester's tests online. And he allowed us to bring whatever assignments, reference manuals, etc. (except for computers) into every test, but wrote a brand new test. I think this sort of thinking came about because he was just the kind of teacher that really cared that his students wanted to learn and it showed in the lab assignments and when he was actually giving lecture. This is when you know what learning is really about and you stop worrying about grades.


600 students in that course, that's one hell of a challenge.




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