Digital White Board 2

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    Anna Riordon (Edited )

    For architecture exams, I have used the scratch paper to SKETCH and scribble out math for some of the problems. This will be much much harder using a mouse and a computer screen to sketch. Architecture involves drawing. I have two exams scheduled in November and this 'whiteboard' will be in effect for the second exam. There are already so many screens to flip through when testing. It makes sense that people testing at home would need to use an online scratch paper, but people who test at the prometric center should still be able to get physical paper and pencil if they want to. 

    EDIT: I just rescheduled my exam to an earlier date to try to avoid this

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    Jerry Roller

    This sounds like a terrible idea.Architects are still graphic, and are used to working with pen and paper. Regardless of how easy we think it is, note taking digitally is never efficient. This will add significantly to the time required to take the test.

     

    If this is a requirement of remote proctoring, then we are not ready for remote proctoring. Bad planning.

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    Sandy Ghaly

    horrible decision, will reduce the passing rate to 1/4 and inhibit people from taking the exam more than we are already !

    no concern what so ever to our opinions or pleading 

    even if you see reasoning to doing that in the online one , why is it a must in the in person one when they take all precautions and destroy this paper before we leave !

     

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    Kay Curtis

    They direct us to the boards if we have questions or comments then lock the ability to comment.....

    The first test I took there was an issue with the computer where prometric had to restart the computer halfway through my exam. My answers were saved but all of my mark for reviews, highlights, and scratch outs were all deleted. I ALWAYS write my mark for reviews down on my scratch paper in the fear this will happen again. 

    If there wasn't math involved in these tests it would be one thing. But how are we supposed to denote a wide range of symbols, greek letters, etc. in a digital whiteboard while writing with a mouse? 

    Also, will the digital whiteboard continue through each question or be a blank slate on every question? I also always take note of which questions require math, what resources are in the case studies, etc. that I refer to during and at the end of my exam to go back and double check. But, if space is limited and I have to erase stuff to do more problems, this is also an issue. 

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    Kay Curtis

    Also, they should have given more warning about this than a month or two. Give a few months out and just let people know that if having scratch paper is important to them in the next few months then they should continue to book for an in-person test.... give some time to work the kinks out there is no way that something done this quickly is going to work well for the first couple of months. Those testing in November/December are going to be screwed over by glitches that haven't been fixed. 

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    Joseph Coradini

    I have been struggling to pass PDD (my last exam). On my first attempt, PDF files loaded blurry, and pertinent information wasn't legible. My second attempt, the computer had to be shut down and reset twice. I'm not sure I believe that these computers will run better with the added work of running the white board program. Please reconsider this or have the option for testing centers to still provide physical paper as an option.

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    Barbara Wilson

    In a profession where we are frequently sketching and doing simple math by hand, why would you take this away during our exams? Many candidates such as myself already struggle with the clock and being able to do quick calculations and drawings by hand for certain questions is pertinent. Some candidates, such as myself, are left handed yet have grown up using a right handed mouse. How are we supposed to draw on a digital whiteboard using our right hand??? This is making testing even more terrible than you've already made it. My friend had an exam from home for business school and they had someone watch her via webcam physically erase her physical whiteboard after her exam was over. Can we not at least do this? No scratch paper at the testing facility and no physical sketching from home is insane. This is just going to be one more thing that is slow and laggy on your already buggy exams. No other exams at Prometric have these issues. Please fix them rather than making it worse.

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    Saritza Martinez Rodriguez

    I am feeling very disappointed this is an unilateral decision from NCARB. It s enough stress with what we are going through already. Does make sense to do something like that on the remote testing for security reasons. Why don't have a transition time where you can decide if you want to use the white board and also have the paper? I am very concerned the computer could erase my notes in the middle of the exam do to connection issues.    

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    Austin Knox

    This is, as others have said, completely devastating. This is putting us - people who write and draw with implements to express and process information - at a huge disadvantage. I can understand how this would be necessary for people testing at home, but not at a testing center. As someone said above, they just about give a full cavity search at those places. I think that we should at least retain the option to have scratch paper if we test at a facility. Not having scratch paper is going to make this process exponentially and unnecessarily harder, not to mention unfair. This is like you cutting off my arms and then asking me to play tennis. Are you kidding me???? Someone else said that the pen/pencil is an extension of her brain - so, so true. Have you considered what this decision is going to do to those of us trying to pass these exams? I sure doesn't seem like you have. At all.

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    Robin Kuc

    Our very reasonable and sensible objections are falling on deaf ears.  NCARB is not responding to the complaints of almost 1500 petition signatories.  May I suggest that we all contact our various regional directors?  Their contact info is conveniently missing from the NCARB website, but it should be available through search engines.

    https://www.ncarb.org/about/board-directors

    Another alternative would be to contact your state's licensing board.  This issue needs to have a broader hearing.

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    Jessica Wilcox

    I just called to complain. They said they were open but in a training period. I bet they are all collectively trying to sketch with a mouse and failing!!! It's ridiculous. Unless they issue everyone a tablet and electronic pen, this is insane!!!!!! This decision MUST be changed. I cannot believe this at all.

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    Julie Anna Templeton

    This is absolutely absurd. If i have to make a choice, I will pick in person testing and keeping the paper 100% of the time. I understand unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. The test cancellations were understandable, even if they were not handled as well as they could have been. The elimination of scratch paper is a detrimental change to the architecture registration exam that clearly is not supported by..... anyone. I have not read a single comment in support of this. Please, NCARB, tell us what it will take to reverse this decision. Make it a collaborative process, in the spirit of our profession. If people want to test at home so badly, they can give up the use of their scratch paper. But let us keep it in the testing centers. The testing experience that was already stressful, has become even more so now. We have to engage in the risky behavior of being within close proximity to other individuals for extended periods of time, whilst wearing a mask. Now you're removing an essential thought processing tool. It is clear to me you have not thought through the ways in which we do and might possibly use scratch paper. This is not a choice I can stand behind. Again, I 100% support abandoning the online proctoring program in support of keeping the paper. Please tell us what it will take to reverse this decision. 

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    Christine Spence

    This decision has increased my anxiety about taking the exams by 10 fold.  Not sure how this will be handled so it isn't awkward, terribly inconvenient and time consuming for the test taker.  It is like tying one hand behind our backs. At the very least, all the testing times should be increased until this "digital whiteboard" can be proven to be used effectively and efficiently by all candidates and not just an added handicap for us. This is not an apples to apples swap and that needs to be considered. 

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    James Shelton

    Someone raised an important issue that I didn't consider even though it affects me too and that's being left handed but using the mouse with the right hand. They really need to rethink this. Are they concerned with people using scrap paper to somehow cheat or copy questions? If that's the case then it's a proctoring issue not a scratch paper issue.

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    Elias Logan (Edited )

    Writing to add my concerned voice to the chorus of current and potential test takers who oppose this decision. I understand the considerations for taking such a significant step must have been many and difficult. I fear, however that the determination to remove paper and pencil not only make the testing process more challenging to those trained utilizing such media, but send a broader message about the expected skillset of the architecture professional. While contemporary computational capabilities have undoubtedly aided our the profession's output (for better or worse), the hand-to-mind (not hand-to-mouse-to-monitor 'whiteboard') connection ought to remain a foundational tool for as long as it is the same embodied brain that constructs and experiences the built outcomes of our profession's labor. Very much in favor of reversing this decision.

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    Jessica Wilcox

    It was easy to find my regional director's info online and I sent a message to him. Please, everyone, keep calling, keep making good arguments and keep contacting your regional directors.

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    Sean Murphy (Edited )

    The petition against this is linked below:

    https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/NCARB

    It is about to cross 1500 signatures, please reverse course.

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    Matthew Young

    This is a terrible decision

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    sepeedeh Rastegar-Panah

    Absolutely disgusted by the new direction, It overlooks the history of the exam, the profession and differences between people in the way they approach solving a problem. A digital whiteboard will never be an adequate replacement for a simple pencil and scratch paper. If needed they could add a feature for whoever desires to use it and not take a way the option. 

    Using a digital version will be limiting in so many ways. trying to overcome these limitations will be absolutely unsustainable in comparison to using paper.

    • This decision is striping the test takers from their abilities and skills that have taken years to be developed. People have developed certain skills, Many have developed a thinking while drawing habit and came up to a reasonable handwriting speed.
      These skills are not obtainable through a few minutes of testing and trying out a demo version!
    • the scratch paper gives you an extra window as cheap as a piece of paper that is easy to switch between. Is NCARB requiring the test centers to provide an extra monitor? a digital pen and pad that is as easy to use and change thickness as of a pencil to at least get it closer to what exam takers are used to?
      is it a sustainable approach? is this an industry standard? have most firms got rid of their physical papers ? 
    • The main question is WHY is decision is on the agenda? and Whose favor is served by it?
      a company that is trying to sell a new gadget just to drive up the cost of the exam that is already too hard to afford for most architects in training
      There are far too many more holes that NCARB can look to fill before this.

     

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    Erik Yarosh

    Please find me one licensed architect that draws with a mouse...

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    David Provencher

    My fellow ARE candidates have all said it very well, so I'll try not to repeat.  For those who have taken at least one 5.0 exam already and are in the process of studying for others, the decision to eliminate scratch paper is equal to moving the goal posts or narrowing them half way through a football game.  If you want to change the rules, then I urge you to set a date far in the future so people in the process are not disadvantaged and others have sufficient time to prepare. I went through a significant in-game change already from IDP to AXP that adversely impacted my progress and don't want another unnecessary hurdle thrown in my way at the 11th hour. I understand that NCARB is concerned about security, but there must be a better way. Architects are essentially problem solvers, so please solve this problem fairly without creating a larger one. Thank you. 

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    Robin Kuc

    Based on the newly uncovered information that suggests conflict of interest on the part of certain Board members, it would seem prudent for NCARB to call a moratorium on any and all exam changes until trust between the candidates and NCARB can be reestablished.

    These forums (all of them, including the petition) represent a vote of "no confidence" on the part of candidates.

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    Julie Anna Templeton

    Robin Kuc well said!

    If anyone commenting here is not a part of the ARE Group on facebook, consider joining as a place to organize ourselves around this issue we all care about. I've noticed some comments being deleted here by NCARB. It seems on the face, at the very least, a conflict of interest when the CEO of NCARB is also CEO of the testing software company that deserves further explanation / investigation. 

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    Dean Schimmenti

    I would consider myself an OLD tester, compared to most, due to my age.  LIFE got in the way and took priority over my licensing. I am now 45!  Yes, that is a long time to wait. I only have two exams left, which to me will be the most difficult because they will require more math solving and critical thinking.  I am not big on using technology. While drafting has become easier, I still do most of my designing and number crunching on trash paper and notepads. I can say FOR A FACT, that trying to use a whiteboard on a screen WILL GREATLY INCREASE MY STRESS LEVEL AND CONCENTRATION during the exam.

    I am also left handed, and use the mouse with my right. How am I supposed to write LEGIBILY with a mouse as quick as I do with my hand!!!!!  When was the last time YOU tried to draw a controlled straight line with a mouse (without assistance)!! If you could, it took you a while. Now multiply that 100 fold to make some legible numbers, letters, etc. that you can reference while you are working a problem!!

    NCARB should at least continue offering paper and pencil to those who want to use them.  Just like the MULTIPLE times they have changed the testing from 1.0 - 2.0 - 3.0 - to whatever we are on now. They offered a 6-month to a Year overlap for those in the current platform to either finish or transfer to the new one. IT SHOULD BE THE SAME FOR THIS MAJOR CHANGE TOO!!!

    Yes, times have changed, but designing still takes creativity and thought. These are best done with a pencil in hand, doodling on a piece of paper.

    Who has lawyer friends. We ALL must get behind each other to knock down this blatant disregard for the end user.

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    John Tunningley

    It's interesting to me because when I first saw the email for the digital whiteboard I almost skimmed over it thinking maybe it would be for the online proctored exams. Glad I didn't and the above comments all do a good job of explaining the many issues with the digital whiteboard. I would guess that many of us would much rather have scratch paper and only be able to go in to a testing center than have a digital whiteboard and flexibility in the test delivery location.

    Maybe NCARB should start putting these things to a vote by the people actually taking the test before just instituting changes that negatively affect the people who are utilizing their systems. 

    Maybe NCARB should start fixing existing issues with their software (slow loading, outages, etc.) before deciding to try to implement new policies like remote testing.

    Maybe NCARB should be a little more responsible to the students and aspiring architects they in theory are trying to help and listen and create a system that allows our voices to count in the decisions being made.

    But hey I'm not a licensed architect (yet) and they are more than happy to keep lining their pockets and ignoring me and the rest of us. Afterall if NCARB makes the test frustrating and difficult to pass it just means everyone has to take the test multiple times and NCARB just makes more money.

     

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    Julie Anna Templeton

    Dean Schimmenti - Great comments- this also describes me! Only a couple years younger, but also left handed and I feel all of this!

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    Marshall Harris

    I would like to second many of the opinions expressed on this post.  Many and most architects still use pen/pencil and paper to design and work out problems (I am currently looking at a sea of paper on my office desk right now).  To eliminate this tool for working on the exams is beyond ridiculous to me.  As others have said, is having the use of pen and paper in the test environment creating an overwhelming amount of exam fraud?  Has this been researched?  I recently took my first exam and it was difficult enough to navigate the exam screen and use the on screen calculator.  Thinking of adding the "digital whiteboard" on top of this, all on a single screen, seems like a huge mistake.  Unless NCARB can guarantee that every exam center will have two screens (one for the exam and one for the digital whiteboard) this seems to be a poorly thought out decision.  

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    Austin Knox

    Dean Schimmenti & Julie Anna Templeton - Me too, I'm 39 and right-handed, so not at quite the disadvantage as you all with the mouse-drawing stuff (although not good at drawing anything with a mouse anyway - is it possible to make a straight line with a mouse??) but still went through school drafting more than CADing/REVITing and am consequently very used to pencil and paper. I'm not sure if they even teach anything drafting related now, but I do know that people in this profession are inherently comfortable conveying ideas through a pen/pencil/paper medium. I can't believe that they are even considering this as an idea. I know everyone is fired up and has said it all already, but this has to be monetarily motivated. Because the decision just doesn't make any sense. Total drag for all of us.

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    Dean Schimmenti

    Now is the time to talk to your bosses and friends who are architects to put pressure on NCARB to not implement this testing change. If the testing becomes harder just because of this whiteboard vs. paper mandate, our bosses and their companies will suffer because there will be a smaller pool of NEW registered architects that they can hire or partner with.  This effects the entire profession!!!  This method would be MORE beneficial to everyone involved than trying to use lawyers to make it happen.  That will take too much time, and the whiteboards will already be in place.

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    Richard Balkins

    Anyone with issues of using a mouse in left-hand, it is actually simple and NCARB doesn't even need to do anything but even then, it is a simple solution in software. Windows operating system already has a feature in Mouse Properties to swap which buttons is the primary and secondary mouse button. In ordinary configuration, the left button is primary and the right button is secondary.

    If you want to swap, go to Control Panel or type it into Cortana (Windows 10) where it says "Type here to search" in the task bar next to the Windows icon. When the Control Panel appear switch it to icon view instead of category view. In order versions of Windows, you won't need to worry about that because it will already in icon view. 

    Once you see the icons in the Control Panel. Scroll as needed until you see the icon named "Mouse". This is for Mouse Properties. When the Mouse Properties window appear: (as it appears below) ---> then click on the check box as noted below then click on the OK button. You should use a simple two button mouse with scroll wheel with a design that can work in either hand because it has a symmetrical design that accommodates easy use in either hand. You just have to swap which button. 

    NCARB software could be set with a little check box for left hand or right hand use and then the mouse would be used in that mode during the running of the app. I understand that test centers may not allow you to make changes like the one above so the app can be design to swap which button is used for primary and secondary functions assigned. So if you have the app running in left hand mode, the exam software will simply swap exam software functions assigned to left button to the right button and functions assigned to the right button to the left button. It's very basic programming that anyone who knows how to do computer programming should be able to do. We are talking basic stuff since the history of event-driven programming which goes back to the 1980s. If we did this on a Commodore 64 back in the 1980s, there is no excuse why you can't do this on a modern PC running Windows or even Mac.

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