When time is running out: e-students under pressure with the UOC Kronos application

Sílvia Sivera-Bello


The Kronos teaching innovation project enabled the creation and implementation of a web application, integrated into the virtual campus of the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), for carrying out time-limited exercises asynchronously. Developed in the framework of APLICA 2010 and with the support of the Vice-Rectorate of Research and Innovation, Kronos represented a means for overcoming one of the disadvantages of virtual education, as compared with face-to-face education.

While a conventional environment easily allows students to be tested for certain skills using time constraints, in an e-learning environment like the UOC's, which guarantees communication between student and lecturer despite connections being made at different times and in different places, it is extremely complex to carry out exercises that require the precise time of execution to be controlled.

Kronos fully respects the asynchronous philosophy of the university's educational model so that students can test certain knowledge or skills under time constraints and lecturers can have more tools available to them to monitor learning progress.

This paper analyses the results of the tool's implementation in the Creative Thinking and Speaking and Writing courses of the Degree in Communication, during which assignments were given to be solved in twenty minutes and six hours, respectively. These assignments were designed to assess creative flow, on the one hand, and memorising and oratory, on the other. The results reveal that students have a similar pattern of caution despite different time constraints and that academic performance is, on average, the same or higher under time pressure, as compared with other tests set during the course.


time pressure, time factor, innovation in teaching, e-learning, creative thinking

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