Tryst with the unknown: navigating an unplanned transition to online examinations

Publication Name

Quality Assurance in Education


Purpose: This paper aims to investigate the major challenges faced and lessons learned during the unplanned transition to online examinations (OE) at a traditional university following the COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach: This exploratory study involved two distinct samples (110 students and 30 instructors) drawn from a large public university and triangulated the qualitative and quantitative data to analyze how the university navigated the unplanned transition to OE. Findings: The university faced several challenges related to a lack of proper institutional infrastructure, non-familiarity of the stakeholders with OE, lack of effective communication, limited student access to technology resources because of socio-economic impediments and academic integrity issues. Practical implications: Short- and medium-term recommendations are proposed to enable continuity of teaching and learning in future emergency situations, including the establishment of technology-enabled exam centers, as well as strategies to assure instructor readiness for OE, academic integrity among students and the validity of the evaluation procedure for future OE. Originality/value: This study shows how the unplanned transition to OE in a public university exposed new challenges for conducting OE, particularly in resource challenged emerging countries, where full integration of OE was a new experience and prior knowledge of potential issues was lacking.

Open Access Status

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