Use of Computers on Exams

Current as of Spring 2017

The Faculty devised this policy to facilitate the use of computers to take exams without changing the nature or scope of the Honor Code. Proportionality was considered as part of this policy to balance the interests of those who prefer to use computers with those who choose to write exams by hand. This policy is expected to be reviewed regularly by the appropriate student and faculty committees, especially as technology develops.

1. Students may use private equipment - computers and/or printers - to write in-class examinations. School computers, when available, may be used for exams and/or papers.

2. Students are permitted to use school-owned computers to take examinations if:

a.  A computer related emergency exists,* AND

b.  A school-owned computer is available.** 

*This policy does not define "computer emergency" nor will the Law School Administration make that determination.  Students are on their honor to manage this policy as a privilege when needed.

**This policy does not define "available."  For example if a student is writing a paper and there is an "exam emergency," the student writing a paper is not expected to vacate the computer for the emergency.  Again, we expect students to manage this policy as a privilege. 

3.  To the extent available, Law School printers may be used to print papers.

4. Students who have their own computers are not prohibited by Law School policy from using them to type exams. However, any individual faculty member may choose to prohibit their use for any particular exam, including take home exams.

5. Students who write their exams on a computer will submit their exam within the exam platform (in the case of technical failure causing the platform to be unavailable, students would instead copy exam to a thumb-drive for submission) [see footnotes 1&2 below] prior to the completion of the examination period for a course. The electronic version must be readable by a system using a Microsoft Windows operating system and the student's answer file must be written in either Word or Adobe pdf. Any student who either failed to hand in a written answer in a blue book or failed to submit a copy of his or her exam to the exam platform prior to the conclusion of the time allotted will be considered to have failed to complete the examination.  Thumbdrives become property of the Law School.

Students are responsible for any problems--for example, the power goes out at a crucial time, or part of the answer is inadvertently erased before it is printed out, or the disk crashes five minutes before the exam is over, or the printer jams. Failure to turn in an exam on time will be penalized and may result in a grade of "F." Students are advised to take precautions, including, but not limited to, frequently saving the document both to the hard drive and to a thumb drive, printing the exam answer as it is completed, and having bluebooks available should a terminal computer failure occur. Exceptions may be granted in rare circumstances.


Students using computers may take their exams in the scheduled exam classroom, the make-up room, or in the authorized areas in the Library.   Space in these rooms is available on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Students may type exams in the Library with the following restrictions:

Students may use any available carrel or table space that is located next to an outlet in a public space of the Library (students may not take exams in study rooms or offices).

Students may not use equipment, wires or extension cords in a manner that creates any kind of hazard. For example, wires or cords may not be run across aisles or walkways. The Library staff will determine whether a hazard exists.

Students may not reserve any space in the Library in advance for purposes of typing an exam.

7. Students must type their answers by hand during the examination period. If permitted by the exam type, students may use "cut" or "copy" and "paste" functions within their answer but they may not copy ("cut and paste") material into their examination from any other source.

8. a. During an open-book examination, except as specified by the instructor, students may access and read material previously saved but may not copy previously saved material.

    b. During a closed-book examination, students may not access or read any previously saved material and may not open any file other than the file in which the exam answer is being composed.

    c. Students may use Control-F, hyperlinks, a table of contents, or similar search functions to search within an exam answer or, on an open-book examination, within any other source. Under no circumstances may students conduct a file search via “My Computer,” “Spotlight,” or a similar function to locate a particular document or to locate all documents (including e-mails and Excel spreadsheets) containing particular text.

     d. Under no circumstances may a student open an internet connection during any examination (except to log into the exam platform in preparation of the exam upload).

9. In any examination that has restrictions on the length of answers, an exam written on a computer must be printed in type no smaller than 12-point type with one-inch margins and must not exceed the maximum number of lines permitted.

10. Individual faculty members may add further restrictions on the use of computers for examinations, or may amend the restrictions listed above. In that case, the faculty member will communicate his/her policy to the students, and will provide specific, written exam instructions.  The faculty member's instructions are what governs if there is a conflict with the Law School computer policy.

11. Failure to follow these guidelines and restrictions may constitute a violation of the Honor Code.

[1] "thumb drive" is used but includes CD, USB, Flashdrive.
[2] If not able to save in Word or Word Perfect, save in a text (.txt), rich text (.rtf), or pdf file.