Generational Perspectives on ExamSoft from the Faculty Viewpoint

June 20, 2018 Shelley Fess

The nursing faculty at our community college are primarily from the baby boomer generation, but we are beginning to see more Generation Y faculty join us. As we prepared to start using ExamSoft, we knew there would be varying degrees of anxiety with implementation of new software due to the age differences and the familiarity and comfort with technology. 

As mentioned in my prior blog post, we require students entering the program to provide their own laptop computers to be used for, among other things, computer-based testing with Examplify. Fortunately, during our first semester, faculty are younger (Generation X and Y) and generally more at ease with technology. Regarding implementation of ExamSoft, they reported that they:

  • loved the ease of posting grades on Blackboard.
  • only took a couple of tries to get used to the idiosyncrasies of the program.
  • felt that we have only just begun to scratch the surface regarding the statistical information ExamSoft can provide.

 

As the rollout came to second and third semesters in which the faculty were more in the baby boomer generation, comments on the use of ExamSoft included the following:

  • I know I am supposed to embrace this, but I am so busy, and this is just one more thing.
  • There always seems to be an issue with some students’ personal devices.
  • I feel my focus needs to be on proctoring the students and answering questions they might have. I rely on our Learning Center Coordinator to do the technical/technology problem solving for me/students.

 

After working with the ExamSoft platform for a few exams, even these technology-wary faculty started to express comfort and embrace the program for the many benefits it provides. Their comments turned to the benefits the software provides:

  • There is no more waiting for bubble sheets to be run through a machine for grades and statistics to be generated. 
  • The ability to “push” grades directly to our LMS as opposed to entering them manually is fantastic.

 

Currently, all semesters and all faculty are using ExamSoft/Examplify for all exams. Notably, faculty have been seen collaborating more with each other instead of staying in their course silos. Comments now include the following:

  • Students seem to be using other computer-based programs and learning aids now that they are required to have their own laptop devices. 
  • It has been great for our students to have their own devices; it’s “forcing” them to familiarize themselves with technology so that when they are at clinical sites, they are more comfortable with the various forms of technology, including the electronic health record. 

 

Getting multiple generations to embrace new technology can be a challenge, but the ease of use of ExamSoft has gotten almost all of our faculty on the computer-based-testing bandwagon. Now that all faculty and courses are on board with ExamSoft, we are planning to use more of its rich features, including categories and the trending statistical information on questions, students, and exams. We know that we have only tapped the surface of what ExamSoft can do, but getting faculty engaged was one of our first steps. 

About the Author

Shelley Fess

Shelley received her initial RN training at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center School of Nursing in Syracuse, NY. She earned her BSN from Alfred University and her MS from St John Fisher College. Before joining Monroe Community College, Shelley worked in a variety of areas of nursing including critical care, home infusion therapy, as well as medical and radiation oncology. She maintains national certification in both infusion therapy and advanced oncology care. She was awarded the Nurse of Distinction award by her local oncology nursing chapter. She has taught Medical-Surgical and Fundamentals of Nursing for more than 10 years. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Nursing Honor Society, and currently serves as her chapter’s secretary. She has presented locally, nationally and internationally on a variety of nursing topics.

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