Posted: Thursday 24th May 2018
Author: Claudia Cox
The 26th and final digital exam finished last week on Wednesday and the main examinations period has now officially drawn to a close. Our teams felt a lot more confident and capable about BYOD examinations and the trials and tribulations they entail, which meant that these were even better than last year. We received over 2000 submissions this time from Computer Science, Sports Science and Bioscience students - and we were also excited to trial two Business exams. Here's a brief summary of some key figures:
Exams conducted: 26 (44% increase from May 2016/7)
Submissions received: 2439 (60% increase from May 2016/7)
Number of students moved to power:
Number of non-BYOD students:
As academic users have become more familiar with the system, we've seen them begin to take further advantage of the enhancements it can offer: we saw the use of full colour, high resolution images that would have been costly and ineffective to print, and some more unique drag-and-drop and highlighting interactive questions that never could have been replicated and automatically marked in a traditional multiple choice examination. Some academics have already indicated that they're thinking of branching out further in 2018/9, with possibilities for animated diagrams, videos and WISEflow's whitelist feature (allowing students to browse a pre-approved list of websites) waiting to be tried out. Existing studies already suggest that the way a question is presented can influence the way students answer it, though this has primarily been explored in primary and secondary education, so this offers us tremendous incentive to explore the idea further.
Another nice feature of the digital exams is that the administrators don't have to push trollies full of hand-counted answer booklets and question papers back from the exam venue to the office:
Which means that there's much, much less of this:
These are just some of the hard copy exam question papers collected from venues; their purpose has been served and they now have to be shredded! Environmental concerns are an oft-touted benefit of digital assessment and, anecdotally, many staff members within the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Science are very grateful to have fewer stacks of hard copy submissions to contend with:
Until recently, many assessments taking place within CEDPS required students to submit an electronic copy of their work via Blackboard Learn and a physical hard copy version but with the adoption of WISEflow there is a gradual movement towards digital submissions only. As a result, administrators have also noted that there has been a significant reduction in the number of panicked students searching for an available printer in the last throes of their coursework deadlines, so perhaps there is an emotional or psychological benefit to this too. We'll have to investigate the true extent of the impact that decreased paper usage is having on our institution.