Oral exams for large-enrollment engineering courses to promote academic integrity and student engagement during remote instruction
This work-in-progress paper presents an innovative practice of using oral exams to maintain academic integrity and promote student engagement in large-enrollment engineering courses during remote instruction. With the abrupt and widespread transition to distance learning and assessment brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a registered upsurge in academic integrity violations globally. To address the challenge of compromised integrity, in the winter quarter of 2021 we have implemented oral exams across six mostly high-enrollment mechanical and electrical engineering undergraduate courses. We present our oral exam design parameters in each of the courses and discuss how oral exams relate to academic integrity, student engagement, stress, and implicit bias. We also address the challenge of scalability, as most of our oral exams were implemented in large classes, where academic integrity and student-instructor disconnection have generally gotten disproportionately worse during remote learning. Our survey results indicate that oral exams have positively contributed to academic integrity in our courses. Based on our preliminary study and experiences, we expect oral exams can be effectively leveraged to hinder cheating and foster academic honesty in students, even when in-person instruction and assessment resumes.