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5 problems Top 5 universities faced while moving online_main banner

Examination and Proctoring | 6 Min Read

Five problems top five universities faced while shifting online and how they solved them

Introduction

Educators refashioned their examination approach after the pandemic impacted assessment continuity, whether they catered to a small batch of students or thousands of college-goers across diverse streams.

 

But how did they recalibrate their approach?

 

We bring you inspiring stories of 5 global universities- International School of Business (ISB), Howard University (the USA), Christ University (Bangalore), PIP UNPAD (Indonesia), and various IIMs- that explored the online medium of assessments to make a successful transition.

The shift from ‘offline’ to ‘online’ was not an extremely challenging proposition for them. However, these institutions had to overcome their stakeholders’ real and perceived concerns to transform the various aspects of education with a practical solution. But, what challenges do you think deterred institutions, academicians and learners from adopting online exams? These entities were well-versed with and appreciated the advantages the online examination ecosystem accrued. Therefore, they were not averse to change and to adopt new ways of examination. So then, what do you think complicated the transition?

These are important questions, and you must know their answers to understand how some of the leading educational entities have undertaken that remarkable pivot in the past two years.

We have the answers for you!

This document elucidates five major barriers that the institutions mentioned above confronted in adopting the online exam approach. How did they address the challenge of continuity amid an unprecedented crisis of the pandemic, and what resource enabled them to rebuild their effective learning environments? This document has all the answers!

Five shared problems that top universities worldwide faced

So, let’s begin by identifying five shared problems that top universities worldwide faced, since the onset of the contagion, in onboarding digital technology for exams.

The absence of a dynamic platform for hosting tests

Academia sought to administer online exams and scouted for an agile platform to modulate a sizable number of students and several courses remotely. Hence, they warranted an exam console that helped them design reliable and diverse exam question papers and manage tests with verifiable analytics for insights. Besides, they also mandated a credible, scalable and easy-to-use system. However, systems on the market could not address these needs cumulatively, hindering their desired transition to the online domain.

 

IIMB

For instance, faculty at IIM Bangalore spent precious hours creating question banks and formats to test applicants’ capabilities. Hence, it needed a dynamic and versatile end-to-end examination system that supported multiple question types and exam formats without any operational complexities and delivered more prudent, transparent and efficient results.

The inability to find a proctoring mechanism

Preventing academic dishonesty and negating issues arising during online exams were academia’s priorities worldwide. Knowing they were unsupervised, besides location constraints and lack of real-time supervision, meant some students could commit academic misconduct. So how could institutions ensure a transparent and fair exam process and results? Furthermore, the absence of a multi-layered proctoring system to create a strict and uniform exam environment according to established guidelines and norms made it challenging to adopt online exams.

 

Howard University

For instance, Howard University’s foremost requirement was onboarding live proctors. Its staff usually invested significant time in proctoring individual candidates via the Zoom app. Hence, it sought live proctors to monitor multiple applicants simultaneously while actively assuaging concerns in real-time.

Global inaccessibility in the remotest of corners

Another thought that vexed many educators was technical glitches and intermittent internet connectivity. Unpredictable and intermittent internet coverage globally could mar the experience of giving and taking online exams. Hence, they faced a severe challenge in finding a system that was accessible to every applicant and faculty, even at the remotest of corners, at a large scale, with minimal bandwidth and maximum technical prowess.

 

PIP UNPAD Indonesia

For instance, PIP UNPAD Indonesia mandated a stable internet connection for all applicants, spread across the country’s 17,000 islands, since these islands did not offer seamless and consistent internet coverage.

Maintaining the integrity of exams

The integrity of any assessment is paramount for an institution, irrespective of its size, as even minor misconduct can tarnish its reputation built over time. However, that online exams compromised academic integrity was an unfounded notion. Instead, it was a fallacious presumption that the likelihood of academic dishonesty would be high, with no oversight on exam-takers. It, therefore, caused concern about whether the most deserving students would get promoted or admissions, hindering the adoption of online exams.

 

Indian School of Business (ISB)

For instance, the Indian School of Business (ISB) pursued all academic endeavors with integrity, which was intrinsic to its professional conduct. Hence, it wanted an online solution that was resilient against academic misconduct and data breaches, such as loss or theft and identity falsification.

A not-so-seamless experience

While many of us may have adjusted to the new ‘normal’ of employing online mediums for assessments and education, many students can find the process of online exams a unique experience. So numerous questions around time management, the unease of writing online, technical distractions and navigation difficulties are legitimate concerns. Furthermore, the absence of an online examination software that would ease these concerns and focus on seamless user experience and reduced efforts created some resistance in their adoption.

 

CHRIST University

For instance, academia at CHRIST University mandated a rational solution that offered students a seamless writing experience in their preferred formats for quantitative and qualitative questions. Students were tech proficient, but not everyone could type fast and manage their efficiency online for the entire duration of exams, given their distinct types.

Hosting online exams may have posed several challenges. But these educational entities are now experts at administering online exams for several courses. So, how did they solve their pressing problems and ensure continuity?

Let’s look at the solution that paved the way for online mediums’ quick and seamless adoption.

 

One measure to overcome every barrier

ISB, Howard University, Christ University, PIP UNPAD and various IIMs shared the advantage of an advanced online examination software system that offered them solutions. The system also offered an eclectic combination of location-agnostic, robust anti-cheating features, proctored supervision and stand-alone services. Its applications enabled their administrations to host highly secure online examinations with high integrity.

Here’s a solution that eliminated their problems: 

 

A robust and user-friendly online platform

The state-of-the-art Online Examination Software System allowed educators to conduct online exams in a cost-effective, secure, scalable and credible manner. Here’s how:

  • The end-to-end exam management platform encompassed test creation to real-time reporting, complete with a dedicated admin dashboard for detailed analytics and log and video recording.
  • The platform offered a rich repository of 26 different formats for exam papers, considering distinct exam patterns and academia’s user requirements, including knowledge-and-application-based questions and even complex formula writing.
  • With bandwidth as low as 512kbps, the platform supported multiple exam-takers and givers at various locations globally, customizable in 19 different languages.
  • An easy-to-navigate interface ensured hands-on expertise for examiners, students, proctors and even the senior-most faculty. The exam stakeholders found the platform user-friendly, even without any prior technical knowledge. There was also no change in the students’ test-taking experience.
  • A revolutionary feature addressed the students’ concern about managing their typing efficiency online. With the help of a QR code scanner, students could write the answers on paper, scan the answer sheets using a QR code and upload the images using their phones. The answer sheets were uploaded directly onto the examiner's system to eliminate any security leaks.
  • An in-built AI proctoring mechanism offered cheating prediction abilities as high as 98%. Configured to flag various suspicious cases, the AI detected non-visibility of face, presence of a mobile phone, an additional person, or a distracted eye movement.
  • The platform also offered a stellar combination of AI flags, human proctoring ability, and applicant authentication to ensure accurate cheating detection. This entire exam-giving session was recorded for viewing later using the proctoring software.
  • The platform offered top-notch security features, upholding the sanctity of their prestigious exams. The faculty did not raise any concern about unfavorable instances or about the compromise of their exams’ integrity, which upheld the institutions’ credibility.

Conclusion

If we are comfortable learning online, we should also be comfortable giving exams online. Moreover, exams do not have an effective or practical alternative. A sizable majority of educators recognize this reality now. And you must, too, if you envision a qualitatively superior and disruption-proof ecosystem.

Originally published November 29 2021, Updated November 30 2021

Shirisha Jain

Written by

Shirisha has been helping countless brands gain traction with her content. Her deep understanding of the education sector and sound knowledge of technical skills have helped her structure the most creative solutions for key stakeholders. Shirisha has also ghosted pieces for several industry honcho’s successfully published both online and offline. When she's not keeping up with the world, you're sure to find her catching up on bollywood stories or gramming for fun.

About This Topic

Online examination, also known as virtual examination, is conducted remotely on a computer with high-speed internet. Like a classroom exam, it is time-bound and usually supervised through a webcam and proctor, making it cheating-free, secure and easily scalable.

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