Some wore homemade hats made from egg boxes, others created headgear from cardboard and coat hangers and some wore Halloween masks as they sat their exams.
Their purpose? To prevent cheating.
Professor Mary Joy Mandane-Ortiz, an engineering instructor at the Bicol University College of Engineering in Legazpi City in the Philippines, stumbled across the idea while browsing Facebook, she told NBC News on Tuesday.
So two days before several engineering and computing exams on Oct. 17 and 18, she instructed her students to create “anti-cheating hats.”
“They accepted the challenge without any complaints,” she said, adding that she was delighted with the creativity they had shown while making them, before they sat their first exams in a classroom after more than two years of online tests because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I was quite nervous at first,” said student Marc Louise Pelaez, 21, who wore a handmade hat during the exam. “Seeing the hats made by my classmates was hilarious. The mood inside the classroom changed from intense to exciting,” he added.
The hats made the exams less stressful and more enjoyable, he said. “I really enjoyed the activity and I’m looking forward to our final exam in December,” he said.
Calling the idea “very effective,” Mandane-Ortiz said some of her students finished their exams early and no one had been caught cheating this year.
She added that she had been inspired after reading about a similar idea that was implemented in 2013 by a university in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok.
After her students shared photos of their hats on social media, some gained thousands of likes in a short space of time and the story was picked up by local media, as it had been in Thailand.
“I believe the students will never forget this. In the future, I am planning to try it again,” Mandane-Ortiz said.