Converting exams to digital formats

This page contains information and guides to help teaching staff convert traditional exam forms to digital formats.


Step 1: Focus on the learning objectives for your course

Due to the physical shutdown of AU’s campus, written and oral on-site exams cannot be administered as usual. As a consequence, that it’s necessary to conduct these types of exams in alternative digital formats. It’s important that you focus on figuring out the best possible way to conduct your exams under these circumstances. When considering the most appropriate way to conduct your exams digitally, you should keep these guidelines in mind:

  • The exam must still test the learning objectives set for the course. 
  • The exam must resemble the exam student have been expecting to the greatest extent possible – in other words, the exam described in the academic regulations as agreed with the board of studies. 
  • As a rule, exams must take place on the same day as originally scheduled, unless the conversion of an exam to a digital format makes this impossible.  
  • In case of oral exams with many participants taking place over several days that are converted to written at-home exams, it may be necessary to have multiple exam questions. 
  • The workload involved in assessing the exam should not be significantly increased. 
  • The student’s workload in connection with taking the exam should not be significantly altered.  
  • In special cases, it may be necessary to consider converting exams with many participants to written at-home assignments. 

Students will need a clear, precise description of the learning objectives that will be tested and how the concrete form of the exam (exam question, etc.) relates to them.

Use of aids

It is impossible to ensure that students do not use external resources/aids – including the internet – in connection with a written at-home exam. For this reason, the use of aids must be permitted in connection with all written exams.

Step 2: Choose an alternative exam form

On the background of step 1, you can now focus on choosing an alternative exam form that will allow you to assess students’ fulfilment of the learning objectives for your course.

Note that some decisions about digital administration of exams and exam formats may have already been taken at your department.

Original exam form 

Alternative exam form 

Description 

Oral exam with/without preparation 

 

Oral exam as Zoom meeting with/without preparation. 

The exam takes place in the form of a video meeting between the examiner, examinee and co-examiner.

 

Produce a product (for example, a video, presentation or PPT with sound) that is graded

The examinee produces a video, audio file or PPT and submits it digitally within the set time.

Written at-home assignment

The examinee accesses and submits the exam digitally at home within the set time.

 

Written multiple choice test  

Written multiple choice test with randomisation of questions and answers.

The examinee take a digital multiple choice test within the set time.

On-site written exam without aids/internet  

At-home written exam with aids/internet. 

The examinee accesses and submits the exam digitally at home within the set time.

 

On-site written exam with aids/internet  

At-home written exam with aids/internet.

The examinee accesses and submits the exam digitally at home within the set time.

 

Step 3: Prepare yourself and your students for the chosen exam form

It’s important that you are able to describe to your students exactly how the type of exam you have chosen will take place. Because the experience of online oral exams is significantly different to traditional oral exams, we recommend that both you and your students practice the chosen exam form in advance. To do so, you will need to thoroughly familiarise yourself with the digital tools you will be using when conducting the exam. If you have practiced both the exam form and using digital tools, you will be able to keep the the technical aspects in the background and you and your students will be able to focus on content during the exam itself.     

IT security and administering exams on Zoom

All online oral exams must take place on the aarhusuniversity.zoom.us platform.

Zoom is a well-known, user-friendly platform for distance learning as well as a secure platform for administering oral exams. Zoom is safe to use, both in connection with evaluating and grading and for the exam forms which involve personal data or confidential information. Examples include exams that involve patient data or exams involving collaboration with industry where NDAs have been signed.

Administering oral exams on Zoom 

To increase IT security, the following rules must be followed when oral exams are administered on Zoom:  

  • Only use the Zoom solution offered by AU/DeiC through WAYF.- Do not use other Zoom  solutions, such as the free version from the Zoom website. You can access AU’s secure Zoom solution here: aarhusuniversity.zoom.us 
  • Both examiner and examinee must log onto the Zoom client on their computer through WAYF. 
  • Check to make sure that the Zoom client on your PC is up-to-date, preferably on a daily basis. 
  • Always use the ‘waiting room’ feature in Zoom, because this gives you greater control over who participates in your meetings. 
  • We recommend that you set up the Zoom meeting for the exam through Blackboard.
  • All Zoom rooms must have a password if sensitive personal data will be included in the exam. The password must be sent to the examinee and the co-examiner (where relevant) through another channel, for example by mail or Blackboard.
  • Do not use a personal meeting ID for an exam, and do not set the Zoom meeting to ‘recurring’.
  • Do not record the exam in any way.

Guides

A series of guides are being developed to help users to meet these requirements. The guides will be published here as they become available.

High IT security and secure processing of sensitive personal data

The solution provided to AU by DeiC and NORDUnet is based on an installation which ensures that personal data is only processed by NORDUnet or NORDUnet’s sub-processer AWS in Stockholm. This means that data is not sent to the United States because we bypass Zoom’s own commercial cloud. Data is encrypted and cannot be stored outside DeiC’s protected environment.

Read more about IT security and the Zoom solution provided to AU by DeiC:

System support

If you need help setting up and administering your oral exams on Zoom, contact the teaching development centre or IT support team at your faculty. Use the links on the right to get help.

Guidelines for handling technical difficulties at oral exams

If you experience technical problems, the guidelines below apply. They apply both in the event that the student cannot log on to the chosen exam platform (Zoom) at the start of the exam, and in the event that you experience technical problems during the exam which make it impossible to complete the exam.

  • In case of technical breakdowns, contact must immediately be established between the student and the examiner or between the student at the IT support. See the specific guidelines for your faculty by following the links below.
  • When you have established contact, you must first of all try to (re)establish the connection to Zoom.
  • If Zoom still does not work, you must try to establish a connection via Skype for Business.
  • If it proves impossible to establish a connection within five minutes, the exam will be terminated.
  • After this, you should contact the student by email or phone to arrange a new time for the exam. If this is not possible, tell the student to participate in the exam the next time it is offered.
  • If the exam cannot be held due to technical problems, this will not count as an exam attempt, without exception.

You will find more specific guidelines in the guides on your faculty’s website on online exams (will continouisly be updated).

The student will not be asked to document the technical problems. In this light, we encourage you to advise your students to make absolutely sure they understand how the online exams will be conducted.

Guidelines for handling cheating on exams

All exams will take place online, and AU’s rules on cheating on exams are the same as always. AU is confident that students want to earn their grades through their own honest efforts, and that all students comply with applicable rules and behave in an ethical manner in the exam situation. We expect that students familiarise themselves with the rules and follow them in the new online exam formats.

Below you will find the rules and guidelines you as an examiner should be particularly aware of in connection with online exams.

Rules for oral examinations and at-home written exam papers

AU’s internal rules on exam supervision cannot be used in relation to written at-home papers and oral exams online. For this reason, the rules have been changed to allow the use of aids in connection with all written exams. Aside from this, the rules for conducting oral and written exams online are based on the following foundation:

  • The standard guidelines for cheating on exams. AU has produced a new version of the pamphlet Avoid pitfalls at exams adapted to the coronavirus situation that clarifies the rules for collaboration during an exam which requires an individual exam paper.
  • AU’s disciplinary rules.
  • The guidelines for exams in the individual courses, as set out in the plan for the reorganisation of exams of 1 May 2020 for the individual course.

 

The following special requirements apply to the administration of oral exams online:

The student must have access to a video link via webcam for the exam to be administered, and the examinee must identify him or herself with a student ID card before you begin the exam. The student is responsible for fulfilling these conditions.

You and the external examiner may – but are not required to –  begin the exam by asking the student to perform a 360-degree panorama of the room with their webcam, in order to ensure that:

  • No one else is present in the room. However, students are allowed to have guests at their exam, as long as they remain visible in the background throughout the exam.
  • The screens of any tablets, cellphones and other devices which could be used to communicate with third parties must be placed on the table facing downwards.

Note that audio and video recordings during an examination are not allowed, unless such recordings are an integral part of the exam itself. This is stated in Section 4(5) of the Examination Order. If you discover that the student is making audio or video recordings of the exam, you must ask the student to stop. If the student fails to comply with your request, you must stop the exam, which will not be graded. This will count as one exam attempt.

If you suspect that someone is cheating on an oral exam:

If you or the co-examiner discovers that a student has infringed against the guidelines relating to cheating on exams, the student must be informed after the exam that a report regarding suspected cheating will be submitted. The grade should be discussed in normal fashion, but the grade should be withheld. The normal procedures for reporting any suspicion of cheating on exams should be observed. Further details can be found here (in Danish).

If you suspect that someone is cheating on a written exam:

If you suspect  someone is cheating on an exam in connection with the assessment, you must report it to Educational Law, and the grade must be withheld. The normal procedures for reporting any suspicion of cheating on exams should be observed. Further details can be found here (in Danish).