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Re: Re: Timed Notebooks for Student Take-home examinations

Interesting idea. Chris Chiasson commented on the security issue; I am not
familiar with the capabilities of webMathematica, but if you implemented the
exams via it on your server, username and password required, serving one
problem at a time and logging logon and logoff times, that would seem to
solve that issue. (So long as clever MIT students could not hack your
server's logs!)
I suppose that you could also serve them one problem at a time in notebooks
(or text), again logging times, and then they work them in their local copy
of Mathematica and return the notebook, obviating the need for
Don't you still have the problem of students sharing solutions? For all you
know, they could all be sitting in the same room working through them and
then log on individually afterward. No matter what, there seems to be issues
of trust, pride and wanting to learn thru the exam rather than just pass it.
An in-person final covering the same material may still be necessary to
insure they understand things.
Kris Carlson
kwc1564 at

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Chiasson [mailto:chris.chiasson at] 
To: mathgroup at
Subject: [mg60363] [mg60307] Re: [mg60289] Timed Notebooks for Student Take-home

It seems like you would need some form of DRM. What if a student copies the
file before opening it? The student could then solve the notebook copy and
transfer his or her answers to the original notebook.

On 9/10/05, W. Craig Carter <ccarter at> wrote:
> I wonder if anyone has implemented this, if not I will give it a try.
> I'd like to create a template and package for student take home exams.
> The student would need to finish the notebook in a fixed amount of 
> time.  The instructor, who has encoded the package, would be able to 
> determine how much time the student has used to finish the exam by 
> decoding a string that is written just before the notebook exits.
> It would need to be moderately safe from cheating.
> Advice would be most welcome.
> W. Craig Carter
> Lord Foundation Professor of Materials Science and Engineering MIT, 
> Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 13-5018  77 Massachusetts 
> Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 USA 617-253-6048  ccarter at 

Chris Chiasson
1 (810) 265-3161

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