Professor Craig Woods
The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) has launched an Online Student Trial Exam (STE) to support educators whose students are currently unable to attend their institutions in person or who want to assess students’ knowledge online.
The online exam was developed in response to findings from an ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Global Contact Lens Education’ survey,* conducted in May 2020 among IACLE Educator Members worldwide, which revealed:
- 71% of their institutions were currently closed to students to attend in person,
- Only 24% were running exams or assessments for students to take in person, and
- 22% said they were not currently assessing students at all.
Hosted on a new teaching online platform – IACLETOP – the Online STE is one of many new resources IACLE is introducing under The TLC (Teach. Learn. Connect.) Initiative to support educators, students and industry at this time, and help reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative also reflects IACLE’s wider move towards online delivery via IACLETOP.
the three institutions that have already tried it out were impressed by how easy it was to administer to their students
The STE has previously been a 100 multiple-choice question (MCQ) assessment in paper format to help teachers gauge how their students are progressing through their contact lens curriculum. The paper-format STE will now be discontinued.
Delivering the STE online means IACLE can offer a number of enhancements:
- A choice between the traditional 100 MCQ exam or a reduced STE with 50 MCQs, providing more flexibility for educators and students,
- Questions and answer options randomised, so each student gets an individual exam,
- The option to complete the STE via a smartphone app as well as on their computer, and
- Online feedback for each student, either on the day or when the educator prefers.
The Online STE will be free of charge until the end of 2020 and will initially be conducted in English, with translations into Spanish, Korean, Chinese (Simplified) and Bahasa to be completed by September.
IACLE’s Executive Manager of Educational Development Professor Craig Woods, who is leading the project, explained: “Even if educators are teaching remotely and their students are learning from home, IACLE is able to support them with this tried, tested and trusted exam. We’re very excited to add this to our existing resources and the three institutions that have already tried it out were impressed by how easy it was to administer to their students.”
FIACLE optometrist Fakhruddin Barodawala, lecturer at SEGi University in Malaysia, was among the first to run the exam. He said, “IACLETOP came to the rescue just in time. The pandemic has hit everyone globally, and we were clueless on how we would conduct the STE. At SEGi University, STE is an important element of contact lens teaching as it forms a part of our summative assessment for final-year students. Both I, as the educator ,and my students had a good learning experience.”
*The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Contact Lens Educatio’ survey of IACLE Educator Members worldwide was conducted online in May 2020. A total of 214 responses were received from 32 countries across all three of IACLE’s global regions. The survey covers the current effects of the pandemic on contact lens education worldwide, and how educators and institutions plan to adapt in future.