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How Universities conduct Online Exams

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Wondering how online exams work? We explain everything to help you understand the process, its advantages, and how cheating is reduced via the web-based test-taking exercise.

The advent of technology has led to widespread digitization, and the education sector is no exception. High-speed internet and laptops have facilitated convenient learning and seamless evaluation of students via various learning management systems (LMS). With increased reach, scalability, and convenience, there's no doubt that many universities and colleges have embraced the idea of online exams.

Online exams enable institutions to conduct exams via the internet or intranet for remote students. Students answer questions within a predefined period, after which the issuing institution receives real-time reports. Evaluators then check students' solutions and grade them accordingly. Continue reading to discover more about how the process works.

Online Exam Software

Online exam software is a platform that enables test creation, assignment sharing, score calculation, report generation, and test-taking to happen. The software saves time by calculating scores in an instant and generating results almost immediately. It also secures tests and grades by restricting access to tests before they're administered and protecting grades so students can't see one another's performance.

The Steps Followed

  1. System Setup
  2. The first step involves setting up the exam environment. The administrators verify and upload questions to the exam platform. The examiners also integrate the LMS and configure results at this stage.

  3. Link Sharing
  4. At this stage, examiners upload the data of all candidates scheduled to take the test, select time slots for starting and ending the exam, and finally share the exam link with all students.

  5. Authentication
  6. Students use the link provided to log in and start the test. A three-step authentication is required. The exams usually undergo recording. They can be proctored using AI-based technology or by human proctors.

  7. Evaluation and Generation of Reports
  8. When students submit their test solutions, they're evaluated automatically so real-time reports can be generated. Later, results can be shared freely via various formats.

Online Exam Proctoring Variations

Exam proctoring is the process of invigilating exams to ensure proper conduct that complies with all examination rules. The process can take place online in the following variations.

  1. Recorded Proctoring
  2. In a recorded exam proctoring setup, the test taker's screen and audio-visuals are recorded throughout the exam period. After that, human proctors review the recorded feed and red-flag all suspicious activities noticed. This proctoring doesn't need any schedule as the student can take the test at any time convenient to them.

  3. Live Proctoring
  4. Here, a highly trained proctor invigilates the test taker throughout the examination period. Predetermined rules are applicable in this kind of proctoring. Proctors can stop the test if they notice any suspicious activities from the test taker's side.

  5. Advanced Automated Proctoring
  6. The automated type of proctoring is the most technologically advanced on the list. It requires no manual intervention whatsoever. The technology uses advanced audio and video analytics to record the test taker's activities. It also monitors for any red flags during the exam period. It may also include measures like limiting the user's access to the exam to a specific IP address, blocking copy-pasting, and others.

    Such conditions can cause panic among students, especially if they're beginners in that regard. Luckily, they can usually ask professional exam doers to take the exams for them. But in this case, they need to deal with trustworthy helpers online.

The Benefits of Online Exams

  • Accessibility to Remote Places
  • With only an internet connection, institutions can now break many barriers and reach remote places with their exams. Consequently, even students in hospitals can do their exams when they're ready. A lot of money is saved in the process.

  • Fewer Logistics
  • Online exams cancel the need to print papers, spend time and money on transportation costs, set up exam venues, minimize resources, and so on. Also, fewer or no human proctors/invigilators will be needed. Institutions, therefore, enjoy a lot of conveniences and save resources during student recruitment, mock practice tests, coding assessments, open-book tests, et cetera.

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  • High-level Scalability
  • Online exam platforms make it easy to manage a vast assortment of content; hence, they simultaneously cater to a huge audience. Therefore, institutions facing time scarcity problems can successfully administer exams within the shortest period. They only need a computer with a strong internet connection and a webcam to make this possible.

  • Several Types of Questions
  • Unlike traditional exams, online tests allow examiners to administer various types of questions to their students. For example, a single exam can contain multiple-choice, blank-filling, open-ended, and checkbox types of questions.

    How Do Online Exams Prevent Cheating?

    • Questions Require Higher Order Reasoning
    • Most of the questions administered in online tests aren't answerable by simply referring to textbooks or simply searching the internet. Instead, students have to evaluate, analyze, and synthesize the questions to find reasonable solutions. This way, they don't have an option but to maintain academic integrity.

    • Students Are Constantly Reminded About Academic Integrity
    • When lecturers remind students about the university's policies and the consequences of cheating in exams just before the test, they're likely to drop their idea of cheating. This method has a psychological impact that reduces their confidence in executing cheating plans. Plus, it reminds them of the rules they should follow while taking their exams to be on the safe side.

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  • Verifying Students' True Identities
  • Although it seldom happens, a different person can show up to take exams for a student. Verifying students' identities before they take the test can help reduce such cases. ID verification can take various forms, including measuring their identification documents against their profiles, verifying their faces, and so on. Most institutions do not, however, undertake this process.

  • Varied Types of Questions
  • There are several types of exam questions like multiple-choice, true and false, open-ended, et cetera. By administering all or more than one type of question, there will be lower chances for cheating as students will be forced, for example, to explain their answers in case of open-ended questions. There will also be fewer chances of similar answers.

    The Bottom Line

    The exponential uptake of online exams has sparked curiosity among many students. We hope that by reading this article, you're now enlightened about how it works. While this technology seeks to replace classroom exams, human involvement can't still be completely eliminated as reviews and evaluations still require human knowledge.

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