40 percent digital school exams

By Marita Kristiansen

19 December 2017 11:28

40 percent digital school exams

Also, all graded home assignments will be submitted and graded via the electronic exam system WISEflow. Student feedback has been very positive.

WHY WISEFLOW?

Security is a top priority - and one that is well attended to in WISEflow. Our exam system won the national competitive tender process that UNINETT coordinated on behalf of the higher education sector, and it meets all the security requirements stipulated in the requirements specification. At the same time, the secure solution for closed digital written exams is of course being maintained and updated by the supplier on a continuous basis.

WISEflow is a well-tried and quality-assured system. WISEflow has been used in more than 3,800 exams nationally by a total of more than 183,000 candidates. Approx. 137,000 of these candidates used FLOWlock. The rest used FLOWmulti. 

The candidates bring their own computer, on which they have installed in advance a program that blocks access to their own files and to the internet during the exam.

All candidates are given the opportunity to test the solution in advance in workshops that are held every semester. They can also practise using all the functions in a demo exam at home – at any time and as many times as they wish. In addition, skilled help will always be available at the exam venue on the day of the exam.

All the work that candidates do will be automatically saved every three seconds. In the event of unforeseen problems during the exam that take time to fix, the candidate is compensated by simply being given extra time in the system.

test how FLOWlock works for students

NB! As of spring 2018, you will need administrator access to your NHH computer to be able to install. IT can help you with this, or you can do it on a private computer.

1. Open the web browser (Chrome or Firefox recommended). 
2. Go to no.wiseflow.net/nhh and use your Feide logon.
3. Click on your name in the top right-hand corner, click on Edit profile.
4. Click on the tab System requirements.
5. Click on the download button to install the FLOWlock browser.
6. Open a demo of the FLOWlock browser by clicking on Start FLOWlock once you have completed the installation process.

essay-based exam answers

The exam type we have mainly used at NHH so far is called FLOWlock, and it functions, in short, as follows:

  • The person responsible for the course submits the exam questions in PDF format in the same way as for a paper-based exam.
  • The examination office creates the exam in WISEflow.
  • The candidates write their exam answers in a text editor similar to Word. It also has an integrated drawing tool, and drawings and writing done by hand can be photographed using a webcam and included in the exam answer.
  • By using the revision log, candidates can easily go back and retrieve material from a previous version of their exam answer, or even completely restore the previous version, during the exam.
  • Examiners can access exam answers by logging on to WISEflow, and they also record the grades awarded in the system. 

interactive exam questions

FLOWmulti allows for a combination of many different types of questions (multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks, text answers, images, video etc.), and also makes it easier for students to use fractions in their answers.
You can read more about the available types of questions here.

The FLOWmulti questions can also contain links to specified web-based content (without opening access to other online content or services).

Using FLOWmulti opens up possibilities for fresh thinking about what a written exam can contain. It requires more effort from the person responsible for the course when preparing the exam questions, but, on the other hand, it also allows for fully or partially automated scoring and grading. We have a significant potential for rationalisation here, for example in connection with compulsory bachelor’s degree courses where there are 400–500 exams to grade.

In October, the supplier visited us to teach a group of lecturers about FLOWmulti. More such training sessions will be held in future.  

BA exams in digital format

In addition to implementing FLOWmulti, we are continuing our work to put in place the necessary arrangements to digitise the written exams for big compulsory bachelor’s degree courses by the end of 2018. In order to do this, we must be rigged for digital written exams to be held in all our exam venues at the same time. As part of these preparations, the project has recruited and trained several technical invigilators this semester. The Aula, the Lehmkuhlhallen sports hall, the staff canteen and PC labs 1 and 2 are now technically ready for use as digital venues, but several of the teaching rooms are in need of upgrading as regards electricity supply and wireless network.

Further development of the exam solution

Although we are successfully carrying out more and more exams using WISEflow, there is also considerable room for improvement to this tool in terms of user-friendliness for candidates, examiners and administrators – and in terms of new features. NHH is continuously working with the other institutions that use WISEflow, and with the supplier, to improve and develop the exam system. For example, it will be a major and exciting step forward when we can offer candidates the opportunity to use third-party programs such as Excel, R or STATA in a closed exam situation.

Fresh thinking

In the meantime, we must make the most of the opportunities we already have, which for lecturers can also involve adapting exams to the technology that is currently at our disposal. In many subjects, it may be relevant to consider new exam forms rather than attempt to simply transfer the current exam form to a digital format. For example, digital written exams with open internet access and access to all available tools can be a relevant option for some subjects, and enable a more relevant test of achieved learning outcomes than is possible through paper-based exams. It is also possible to hold written exams where one part is closed and the next is open.

Contact

Do you have input or questions? Would you like to try something new for your course, or participate at a seminar to learn more? Feel free to contact Project Manager Marita Kristiansen to discuss the possibilities and limitations that exist.

Digital assessment as project

Since autumn 2014, NHH has conducted a pilot project on digital exams. With the establishment of the project group in September this year, we are now ready for a significant upscaling of the project.

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