I had an on-line exam up last week.
The students had 36 hours to access the exam, 45 minutes for 15 m/c. t/f questions and 2 hours to answer ONE essay question. The 5 possible essay questions were available the Thursday before the exam... so, the students really had a week to formulate responses. The exam closed on Wednesday, at 7 PM. I expressly told students that if they had problems with the course management system, they should answer their essay question in an e-mail and send it to me within their 2 hour exam window. Several students did exactly that.
Wednesday at 4:30 I got an e-mail from X, who claimed computer problems and wanted to know what to do....
At 5:00 I replied to X, told hir to answer hir essay question in an e-mail and get it in to me by 6:30... I even copied the question into the e-mail for hir convenience.
Thursday morning X calls me. s/he claimed computer death and wanted a re-take.
I asked how s/he could claim dead computer when s/he sent an e-mail? I also asked why s/he didn't follow directions and, instead of just sending me a "my computer sux" e-mail -- and send me an answer to hir essay question?
X -- as predicted -- had no answer.
I looked more carefully at X's t/f, m/c exam and found that X had moved between pages for about 25 minutes, but only saved two answers. In other words, X read ALL the questions but only answered two and claimed a computer meltdown... folks, computers that have melted down don't let you move between pages.
I also asked the course management gurus about any problems during X's exam period. Nothing was reported -- and no other students in the exam at the time experienced problems.
Escalation, step 1 --
It seems that X has some kind of learning disability, as that office both called and e-mailed me to "talk about X". I responded in an e-mail with the details above, and noted that my syllabus only permits make-up exams in case of verified medical emergency. X has no such claim, X gets no make-up.
I'm sure that the learning disability office must have told X that it was a no-go...
I'm quite glad I checked with disability office about my exam procedures -- and the head of that office told me they were fine...
Escalation, step 2 --
E-mail from Dean asking for information on a student with computer problems. X was the only claim of computer problem -- so I new it was hir
In response I copy X's quiz activity record for Dean (shows 20 minutes of access, paging back and forth but no answers)-- and forward the e-mail exchange and explain my syllabus policy. I also send a copy of my syllabus to Dean.
Dean has a meeting with X on Monday.
I'm going to need a VERY good reason to permit X to make-up any portion of this exam.
At this point I think X is either a) a cheater trying to get extra time to study or b) a bully who has used hir disability status to get special considerations s/he isn't entitled to. Either alternative is unacceptable and I'm not going to permit it.
Really, if Dean wants to promote use of the on-line exam process, s/he will have to support policies that don't permit computer death/internet issues to be an excuse. Otherwise, there is no way to keep control of a class.