On the Graded Group Chat

During the pandemic, I have been looking for a way to test my students without giving them the stress of an online lockdown browser but also at the same time really understanding what they have learned in the class. With this motivation, I have started graded group chats which are online oral exams which are taken as a group.

You have already been divided into groups, you know group members, you work together, you are hopefully comfortable doing math with each other.

What is graded group chat.

This is a 30 minutes-ish oral exam which you take with your group on Microsoft Teams.

Why graded group chat.

I can not ethically ask you to use a lockdown browser. Also, I really do not want to give you a 1 day/1 week exam during the term where you are already trying to squeeze so much school work in. And I think I can test you better if I see what your thought process is like. For example, if you start by saying something wrong but then change your mind through discussion towards the correct answer, you should not be penalized for that. The purpose is that you learn something and you show that you learned it during the chat.


At the beginning of the semester, you chose the time with your groups. You can see it here.

Tip. Meet at least once with your group members and get used to answering things as a group. A feedback from last semester's student was that they had difficulty during the exam because they never talked to any group members beforehand.

The exam room.

This will be in your group's channel in Microsoft Teams. Try to show up on time.

How this will work.

  • You show up half an hour before the exam time (if you wish) and I give you some topics/questions to think about. You talk about these questions with your group members.
  • At the exam time, we chat about the topics/questions I gave you.
  • Suppose I am asking the group member Blorb a question. I will wait for Blorb's answer. Then, I will ask each of you one by one: do you agree with that answer? Yes/No. We will count the votes. If everyone says Yes and the answer is correct, we will move on. If everyone says Yes and the answer is incorrect, I will try to give hints towards the correct answer by asking further questions. If some people say no, then I will moderate a discussion between the group members until (hopefully) the group reaches a common decision. After this, if the answer is correct, we will continue. If not, I will ask further questions to give hints.

What is covered.

Everything we have covered so far and will cover until the day before the first graded group chat. In particular, there will be at least one question about inner products.

Video and Audio

During the graded group chat, you must have your camera and mic both on.