Digital exams pilot

Beginning in Trimester 1 2019, Victoria University of Wellington will be piloting digital exams.

The first phase will involve a small number of Faculty of Law and Victoria Business School courses, at 200 level or above. These courses are:

  • LAWS330 Jurisprudence
  • LAWS370 Family Law
  • LAWS380 Evidence
  • MMBA502 Business Law
  • INFO388 Enterprise Security
  • PUBL211 Introduction to Public Management
  • IBUS308 Contemporary Issues in International Business.

Students involved in the pilot will type, rather than handwrite, their exam scripts. Other than this, the nature of the exam will not change, and all existing assessment rules and processes will apply. Students needing additional support will be able to access this through Student Learning and Disability Services as usual.

Prior to the start of Trimester 1, we’ll contact students enrolled in courses selected for the pilot with detailed information about how it will run. Students in the pilot will have the opportunity to practise and familiarise themselves with the software throughout the trimester, before exams begin in June.

Frequently asked questions

The following answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the digital exam pilot.

If you have questions, the project team can be contacted at digital-exams@vuw.ac.nz.

Why is the university trialling digital exams?

Digital exams are likely to have significant benefits for students. Students are experienced in typing essays, assignments, and other coursework, and this is an extension of that. Typing also means that the content is more legible to those marking the exam. In addition, typing rather than handwriting is common practice in the workplace.

Digital exams are likely to reduce the administrative tasks associated with assessment, and in the long term we expect students will benefit from more efficient processes around online marking.

It’s also important that we keep pace with other universities and meet the current and future expectations of staff and students. Digital exams are being trialled by the Universities of Auckland, Otago, and Waikato, and many overseas universities have been successfully running digital exams for a number of years. Digital exams have become standard practice in many law schools and business schools in the United States.

Finally, the reduction in paper use aligns with our sustainability goals.

What device will students use for digital exams?

Students will be able to use their own laptop. Tablets, Chromebooks, smartphones and other devices are not supported.

If you do not have a laptop contact the Digital Exam project team via email: digital-exams@vuw.ac.nz.

What software will the University be using?

The software we are using is called Inspera Assessment, which is used by universities around the world. Examples include the University of Oslo, where it was rolled out following a 2011 student-led campaign for digital exams, and is now used by over 50,000 students; more recently, it was selected by the University of Oxford who ran a successful digital exam pilot in 2018.

Will I be able to use my own laptop?

Yes, we want all students to use the laptop they are most familiar with. You can use Windows or Mac laptops.

There will be tech clinics where our IT specialists can check your laptop, ensuring it meets specifications and that the software is running smoothly. Information on when and where the clinics will be held will be provided during the trimester through your course.

Hardware and software specifications

  • The following operating systems are supported: Windows 7, 8.1/8.2, and 10; macOS 10.12 and newer.
  • An up-to-date internet web browser: Microsoft Edge; Mozilla Firefox; Google Chrome; Apple Safari (for macOS X).

A pre-check list will be provided to students through their courses, and there will be tech clinics available to help you with this.

Are there any changes to exams?

The only change to exams is that they are digital. All existing assessment rules and processes apply to digital exams. In the examination you will type rather than write your answers and submit your answers digitally.

The content, question formats, and the marking guide for the exam will be the same as they would be with paper exams.

Will I have the opportunity to practise?

Yes, students in the pilot will be able to try out the software and practise using it before the exam. The project team will support students closely throughout the pilot to ensure they’re comfortable with the software and the digital exam process.

I have further questions. How do I find out more?

We’ll be providing further information for students in courses selected for the pilot before the start of Trimester 1 2019. All students who are enrolled in one of these courses will be communicated to directly by email. We also plan to host familiarisation sessions during the trimester, where students will have the opportunity to have their questions answered.

You can also email the project team at digital-exams@vuw.ac.nz, or talk to your student representatives from the Law and Commerce students’ associations, who we’ll be working with throughout the pilot.