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Introducing the case: digital exams

Introducing the case: digital exams (5:09)
Hi. My name is Ashley Klapwijk. I study real estate studies and finances at the faculty of spatial sciences and economics and business. Besides my studies, I’m a board member of FRESH, which is short for “Foundation for Real Estate Students from Holland.” Within the board, I fulfil the position “Career.” This means that I’m responsible for our career platform. I also work as a student assistant at Nestor support, the help desk for the online learning environments of the University of Groningen. In 2012, the University of Groningen introduced digital exams, and is now one of the leading universities in the field of digital examinations. Digital exams can consist of open questions and/or multiple choice questions.
We at Nestor support are responsible for the technical support during all digital exams. Compared to paper exams, digital exams offer several benefits. On the one hand, teachers can grade student simultaneously, but also more efficiently, since teachers do not have to decipher the students’ handwriting. On the other hand, students are able to write faster and have the option to receive their score right after finishing the exam. The University of Groningen started off fairly small with 288 tables with an integrated computer for the digital examinations. Since then, the demand for digital exams has grown rapidly.
By the end of 2015 we had 600 computer tables in our special digital exam halls, and we expect that in 2020, 80% of the exams will be digital. Furthermore we have a dedicated department which helps teachers to set up digital exams and we deliver quality feedback about the exam or assessment. Student assistants at the University of Groningen are involved in digital exams in two ways. First of all, student assistants of a particular course may be responsible for handling content specific questions. Examples are, questions of students who do not understand a specific exam question, or believe that there is incorrect or missing information.
Secondly, student assistants who work at Nestor support are involved in digital exams and are responsible for handling technical difficulties, such as a malfunctioning mouse, or system error. Subsequently, we document every problem to improve our service. Furthermore, we have a great deal of responsibility. For example, we can view the results of all students, regardless of the teacher’s decision to show the results immediately or not. Moreover, we are the first contact point for students and teachers before, during, and after an exam. Since this is a rather new method of examination, there are additional stress factors for both students and teachers during a digital exam. Staying calm and handling questions professionally is thus also an important task.
So, imagine that you work at Nestor support and that you are in charge of a digital exam. This particular digital exam consists of multiple choice questions only, so the score can be directly available after finishing the exam for students. However, the teacher made the decision to not show the results immediately. It’s right before the start of the summer holidays and some second year business administration students are taking their last exam. While the students are taking their seats, you notice your younger sister was also taking the exam. Of course you begin a quick chat and encourage your sister to do her best just before the exam starts. After the exam, you start closing all the computers.
Your sister is one of the last students to finish, and walks up to you. Naturally, you ask her how the exam went. She replies that she’s not really sure, and that she’s afraid she failed the exam. You encourage her to stay positive and await the results. Your sister knows what your responsibilities are, and subsequently asks if you can look up her score so she knows whether she has to do the resit at the end of the summer or not, and can enjoy her long awaited summer holidays. She mentions that, of course, nobody will ever know. As you can imagine, this can be a rather difficult choice. What would you do in this situation? And more importantly, why?
Think back to the framework we discussed in week one and think about confidentiality, or maybe your actions will depend on the structure of the institution. Please share your thoughts in the next step.

In this step, Ashley will introduce you to the third case study. The setting of this case study will be the digital examination hall of the University of Groningen.

The issue will be about behaving in a professional way when you as a student assistant have to provide support during a digital examination. However, you suddenly notice your sister is one of the students taking the exam.

View Ashley’s profile on FutureLearn.

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Becoming a Student Assistant: Teaching and Mentoring

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