Photographer:Fotograaf: Ingrid Wijk
MAASTRICHT. The first digital exams are planned in the MECC for June, for up to eight hundred students at a time. The first day of testing this week with 864 Chromebooks, exam software and Wi-Fi installation went well.
Long rows of tables with laptops. In June, students will be sitting there in a shielded area (there is no Internet access) taking their exams. A project group of staff members from various faculties and service centres, supervised by the University Library, tested the capacity of the Wi-Fi signal in the MECC’s Westhal. A second test day will follow at a later stage.
Elsewhere in the country, digital exams are a familiar phenomenon, but in Maastricht it is new, certainly for large groups. It was the Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences that made the request, says University Library director Ingrid Wijk, who has been responsible for the digital learning environment (such as Blackboard, videos in education, scientific resources in the learning environment, and now also digital exams) for years. “They have been carrying out similar exams in the computer room at the Randwijck University Library. This room is too small, so the group was split into two and two exams were planned back-to-back.”
The main advantage of taking exams in this way is the time it saves lecturers, says Wijk. “It is easier to mark exams, because you don't need to try and make sense of handwritten texts, and sharing questions among lecturers - who will check which question - no longer needs to be done by hand, but can be done with a press of a button.”
The project has been set up for three years. “Maybe we will move towards one hundred per cent digital testing, maybe not. At the moment, there is a project led by EDview that looks into the future of education and testing at the UM. It is uncertain whether large-scale initiatives will fit into the strategy.”