How to Make the Online Exam Experience Better for Higher Education

Post Date: 04/06/2020
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Today’s disrupted world means most of our schools and learning institutions have closed, and hundreds of millions of students around the world are now in distance learning mode.

Online learning is not a new concept. Many people, including myself, have accessed accredited online courses for years.

However, it is now the only option for all institutions of higher learning, most of which have primarily focused on traditional in-person teaching models.

online exam

As a matter of practical life necessity, distance learning and online assessment are now essential business continuity plan (BCP) considerations for ALL schools and universities to make sure course schedules and program arrangement can continue, even in these extraordinary times.

Some have been able to leverage free teleconferencing software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom for the classroom experience or a learning management system for more advanced engagement with students.

Read: Best Practices and Advantages for Setting up Office 365 as a Free LMS.

But no matter how universities or colleges have tackled the challenge of remote learning, there is one learning experience that has not been successfully “digitized.” The online testing and examination experience has been terrible for professors and students alike.

This was the challenge one of our Singapore institute of higher learning (IHL) customers presented to us. We have been working with Singapore IHLs for years to provide a cutting-edge, Office 365-based learning management system that has dramatically improved their learning and teaching experience.

As I will detail below, it was not an easy challenge to solve. However, with our Exam Management System, we were able to dramatically improve the online testing experience and align with best practices.

Why The Online Exam Experience Has Been Terrible

Generally, online exam solutions have been limited in four key areas:

  • Security and Control: You want to make it hard for students to cheat, which can be challenging when by the very nature of the solution they are online and have access to a virtually infinite collection of knowledge. And how can you make sure it’s really John Doe who is taking the test?
  • Accessibility: Students may have different devices, browsers, and operating systems, and the testing solution needs to be consistent across all of them.
  • Exam Design and Grading: In the higher education setting, where a test might account for a large portion of the overall grade/mark, exam design is important and can typically involve many parties. Educators want to have flexibility in the types of questions they can ask and want to see patterns in how students are responding to them to determine their efficacy at assessing learning. The ability to delegate grading and assessment is also key when you could have hundreds of students in one class.
  • Integration: An exam testing solution must have been flexible while seamlessly working with best-in-class, free productivity solutions such as Office 365.

How AvePoint Is Making Online Testing Better

AvePoint is here to help keep your learning programs and students ahead of the curve with online learning and exams.

With AvePoint, lecturers can deliver personalised, immersive, and collaborative learning today for the leaders of tomorrow.

Educators can be empowered with the latest Microsoft cloud technology, without creating IT overhead.

Students can take formative assessments and exams on their own devices, online or offline, all while giving exam proctors complete oversight and control.

Our Exam Management System solved the previously mentioned challenges for our Singapore IHL customer by:

  • Whitelisting which technologies, books or other materials are allowed to be accessed during exams (and which are not).
  • Generating a key for students to unlock their encrypted exam packs.
  • Leveraging technologies that create a BYOD-enabled exam package that gives students a consistent experience across devices, browsers, and platforms. We support online and offline test taking, even if the student loses network connectivity mid-stream.
  • Defining and delegating roles for creating, proctoring, accessing and grading exams. A professor can quickly create an exam, have it approved by an academic head, given by a proctor, graded by an assistant and then view the statistics for each question.
  • It also syncs seamlessly with our LMS built on Office 365.

online exam

We also have advanced AI capabilities that can use video conferencing and facial recognition technologies to ensure the person taking the online test is not an impersonator.

We’re Here To Help

AvePoint has been a key technology partner serving some of the largest government ministries/agencies and institutes of higher learnings (IHL) since 2001.

As previous Microsoft global Partner of the Year in Modern Workplace Transformation, we know what it means to be a trusted partner, faithfully serving our local communities across our 29 offices in 14 countries and 5 continents. In these extraordinary times, AvePoint lives with your challenges and pains, and we’re here to help!

To find out more about AvePoint’s cloud-based education technology offerings, please read more on our EduTech solution page.

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As AvePoint’s Chief Executive Officer, as well as a member of the Board of Directors, Dr. Tianyi Jiang (TJ) is responsible for the overall strategy and direction of AvePoint, which includes product innovation, investor relations, and business development. He is focused on delivering value to customers, partners, shareholders, and the AvePoint team, every day.

TJ was named 2023 CEO of the Year, in the Information Technology Products or Services category by the Globee Awards and is a recipient of Ernst & Young’s 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year award in New Jersey. He received both B.S. and master’s in electrical and computer engineering from Cornell University, and a Master of Philosophy and PhD in Data Mining from Department of Information Systems, Operations Management, and Statistics, Stern School of Business, New York University.

View all posts by TJ
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