January 2014December 2019

Current Practice

Various coordinators have been using the Blackboard quiz tool for lab based tests for a number of years, and in a some cases for home based tests. One faculty has also successfully piloted Examsoft using student owned laptops or tablets in combination with a Bring Your Own Device  (BYOD) enrollment requirement. These exams were on-campus and invigilated but they offer the advantage that they can be run in tiered spaces because both the questions and answers are presented in a randomised order to mitigate cheating. This means they help greatly with space challenges during the exam period. The students were very positive about the experience and e-exams seem to be more efficient for the coordinators, not just in administration and marking but also in question management. 

What are we doing now?

While we currently have recommendations for online tests using Blackboard, there is a big push towards e-exams now with an official eAssessment project led by the ITaLI eAssessment project team that will go to market for a university wide system.

What are the challenges?

You can never really have enough lab space for e-exams and students can't take lab computers to class for active learning, so you really need a BYOD policy supported by an equity program so that all students have a laptop they can use in-class and for on-campus exams, and for lab work and for study in the Library and at home. This in turn presents WiFi and electrical power challenges. WiFi issues can be mitigated with an increase in access points and the selection of an exam system that does not need to be online during the test (only before and after). Electrical power issues can be mitigated by requiring that students also own a battery booster, and increasing the number of electrical power sockets, as well as having some spare boosters, sockets and tablets during exams.