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K3MRI

Thoughts on virtualizing Ham license exams?

FCC license virtualization  

35 members have voted

  1. 1. Should FCC licensing be available to be taken online?

    • No
      1
    • Occasionally
      4
    • Yes, but only with the presence of a proctor
      15
    • Yes, even alone at home
      15
  2. 2. If online exams were available, should they be available for all classes?

    • Available to all classes
      23
    • Only to Technician and General
      4
    • Only to Technicians to get them into the hobby
      7
    • No online exams
      1


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EXPERT ELMER

I'm curious what people think. Should there be an option/method available, either in times like Covid-19, or any other time, during which we should be giving hopeful amateur radio operators the option of testing online? I believe that the Anchorage Amateur Radio Club VEC (https://kl7aa.org/vec/) is doing it.

What are your thoughts?

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Posted (edited)

I understand it is 2020... and Yes, We are behind in the times...but if they move the exams to online... there goes the VE's positions. They will be search for answers in books, no one there to monitor them. So they wouldn't be learning the material, they will find the easy way to get thru it. How do we know someone else isn't talking the exam for them? I understand in times like this where everyone is on lock down, just study the material, take online practice exams, do the next level. Because if they go with online exams, this hobby is going to go to hell real quick. Yes ... we need new blood , but online exams is NOT the way to go. I'm kinda upset over the F.C.C.'s stand on it, but ARRL seems to be holding it's ground temporarily. But I guess either way things are about to change. Hopefully for the better. 
  Danny
  KN4TWV 
 

 


 

Edited by KN4TWV
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EXPERT ELMER
9 hours ago, KN4TWV said:

I understand it is 2020... and Yes, We are behind in the times...but if they move the exams to online... there goes the VE's positions. They will be search for answers in books, no one there to monitor them. So they wouldn't be learning the material, they will find the easy way to get thru it. How do we know someone else isn't talking the exam for them? I understand in times like this where everyone is on lock down, just study the material, take online practice exams, do the next level. Because if they go with online exams, this hobby is going to go to hell real quick. Yes ... we need new blood , but online exams is NOT the way to go. I'm kinda upset over the F.C.C.'s stand on it, but ARRL seems to be holding it's ground temporarily. But I guess either way things are about to change. Hopefully for the better. 
  Danny
  KN4TWV 

Hey Danny,

Question for you. IF there were a way to be 100% sure that online testing could work, IF, then would you be for it?

I ask in the context of, for instance, elections going online. I'm a member of the BMWMOA (Motorcycle Owners Association) and we just voted for our Board Members virtually. Granted, it's not exactly a mission critical election... but there are ways, increasingly, to reduce one's ability to cheat. What's more, in our case, our exams are multiple choice based on a pool that most anyone can memorize. Our exams are, I don't believe, a true test of knowledge but rather a test of memory. I'm not saying I'm going with the online option, but I do think that in an era of digital amateur radio, online logging, online spotting, online communities, and even online access to our FCC information, it's worth considering.

Thoughts? 🤓

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 I'm just saying ... I keep seeing online that people are talking about open book exams. So Amateur Radio will end up like CB... And look how that turned out. I use to be a cb'er, but that is why I came up to Amateur Radio, to get away from the gutter mouth riff raff. (I understand that even Amateur Radio has that too.) *(But that's my opinion.) I just don't really feel that doing it online is going to get us anywhere. What about the people who are VE's?  Now they will no longer be of use, so it was a waste of their time. They became VE's to help, and now they want to take that away from them. I try to get my friends to join us in Amateur Radio. And I will continue to do that to bring new blood into this great hobby. If there was a certifiable way to make it so they can't do it dirty... (but you know some will try) then I might be able to come around to it. But otherwise I think they need to keep exams at verified locations or make more locations to get more people involved. Only thing that peaked my interest was they got their license in 1 day. That is a great turn around over 4-14 days for some. I personally think that online exams are not the way to go just yet. It needs to be thought out more and more securities need to be put into place before Online Licensing should happen. 

  Danny 
  KN4TWV 

  

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5 hours ago, KN4TWV said:

 I'm just saying ... I keep seeing online that people are talking about open book exams. So Amateur Radio will end up like CB...  

You're afraid of having an open book exam? From my experience of taking many hundreds of exams in my life, open book exams were were the most difficult ones I've ever taken. Both, in class and take home. And I'm all for open book exams. Properly designed they really test knowledge, not memorizing skills. What you think is simple replacement of paper forms with online forms. Properly designed online exam will look completely different than what we have now.

Coming back to current exams. I passed all 3 elements in one session. What do I think about them? They are pointless. Complete waste of time. I did spend some time on studying and understanding the material, but I could as well memorize the answers and pass all of the tests with flying colors without having even a tiny bit of knowledge. And doing exams just to keep people busy is a waste of resources.

I wouldn't fear that ham bands will turn into another CB. To get on 2m or 70cm all you need is a Technician license, and I know people who got it just after skimming through the the book. If CBers haven't flooded UHF/VHF bands it's only because they don't want it, not because they can't.

Anyway, how many people use CB radio today?

 

Jacek

kw4ep

  • Like 2

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Be careful what you wish for. An On-Line exam would have to be assumed to be an open book exam. A properly designed open book exam would be a bear if you don't REALLY know your stuff. I've taken enough open book exams and watched enough other students struggling with them to know that this is a fact.

 

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8 hours ago, KW4EP said:

Anyway, how many people use CB radio today?

Jacek

kw4ep

Good question. It's been a long time since every fifth car had a gigantic stainless steel whip flopping around on the rear fender. Only place I regularly see them is on 18 wheelers. 

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EXPERT ELMER

Interesting... https://www.engadget.com/digital-sat-coronavirus-pandemic-205415658.html

They're thinking of making the SAT available online. I mean really, if they can give the half-day SAT online, securely, and with confidence, I figure we should be able to give a 35 to 50-question test online also? Or am I missing something?

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