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“If I panic, things definitely won’t get done”

“If I panic, things definitely won’t get done”

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Archive Tineke de Beaumont

UM manager of digital testing Tineke de Beaumont wins employee prize 2020

When the lockdown was announced halfway through March 2020 because of COVID-19, it wasn’t just education that went online, from one day to the next, but also the exams. Tineke de Beaumont, functional manager of digital exams at Maastricht University, really had to pull out all the stops. She did that so well that she can now pick up one of the two employee prizes 2020.

The fact that De Beaumont is receiving this distinction, is an indication of what a crazy year it has been, she says. “Because actually I am getting a prize for doing my job.” Even though she finds it a little awkward to stand in the spotlights – she was even doubtful about this interview – she is happy with the prize. “It is recognition for the work that goes into exam co-ordination.”

Proctoring
As a functional manager of digital testing at the University Library, De Beaumont ensures that the digital examination environment – called Test Vision at the UM – functions properly. She is also the first point of contact and advisor for the faculties’ exam co-ordinators. Online proctoring (digital examination under supervision) was added to her set of tasks last year. Initially, this was carried out by the UM itself and from September by American software company Proctorio. Things went really wrong in October: various students were removed from their exams by Proctorio and so either couldn’t take their exams or had to complete them in great haste. On that note, the jury report says: “Even when things didn’t run smoothly with the external provider, she looked for solutions so that the students would experience as little trouble as possible.” Furthermore, De Beaumont, just like her colleague Anja Ronken, is praised for her decisiveness and flexibility in stressful situations.

Calm
It is a job that she most certainly did not pull off just by herself, she emphasised several times. “I work closely with the exam co-ordinators from the faculties. Together, we put our backs into it this year.” What may have been underexposed in the jury report is De Beaumont’s capacity to keep a cool head. She exudes calm, even during the Zoom interview with Observant. “If something goes wrong, then it is my job to come up with a clear story as quickly as possible. To discuss the problem, but also possible solutions.” That meant a lot of phone calls last October. With students: “What happened? What error can you see? In that way, I could get a picture of the problem and its extent.” But also with Proctorio and Test Vision for solutions. “Those are stressful moments, but if I panic things definitely won’t get done.” 

UM employee prize

The UM employee prize is awarded every year to two people who have been nominated by their colleagues. The prize consists of honour, a certificate, flowers and a meal voucher worth 500 euro. The presentation did not take place during the New Year’s drinks party, as is customary – the event being cancelled because of COVID-19 – but at a later time.

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