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Digital exams

Conversion to di­gi­tal exams

Yes, the new Co­ro­na Epidemic Uni­ver­sity Ordinance published 1 December allows di­gi­tal exams again this winter semester. For more in­for­mation, please refer to „Higher Education Law“.

If you wish to conduct a registered classroom exam in di­gi­tal form, please keep the date and time of the exam and inform the ITMC of the format change using this form. The in­for­mation is also automatically forwarded to the Department of Construction and Facility Management' This avoids an overloading of the IT systems and the freed up room capacity can be used to distribute larger exam cohorts across multiple rooms. 

If the form or duration of the examination is to deviate from the specifications in the examination regulations, module descriptions or subject-specific regulations due to the pandemic, a resolution of the examination board is required. A change in the form of the examination, e.g. from written to oral examination, must also be reported to the Central Examinations Office.

Implementation of di­gi­tal exa­mi­nations

A detailed checklist and a chart with general in­for­mation on on­line exams are available on the Service­Portal.

Examiners can choose different di­gi­tal alternatives instead of a written exam on site. For example, exams in Moodle or open-book exams for download and upload within a specified time period are possible. In the case of open-book exams, the task is designed in such a way that the focus is not on knowledge that can be looked up, but on a higher level of understanding, which is why using resources/aids is permitted.

However, it is also possible to have a homework assignment (take-home-exam), in which students write a paper on a more complex problem within a specified period of time, or to switch to oral exams. Examinations that have already been carried out with EvaExam Online can still be carried out with it.

Yes: The examiner/proctor can and must check whether the student is actually the person authorized to take the examination by registration. In proctored exams, this can be done via video con­feren­cing, for example.

The examiner/proctor is eligible to ask students to hold an identification document (UniCard, ID card, or other official ID document with a photo) up to the camera. In the case of exa­mi­nations with several participants, e.g. di­gi­tal written exa­mi­nations or other group exa­mi­nations, care must be taken that identities are verified individually in a protected area of the video con­fe­rence, for example in a breakout room. This prevents the other participants from seeing personal data from documents such as ID cards. Likewise, an extended view into the private premises remains protected if - as is usual for oral exa­mi­nations, for example - the entire room has to be shown once via webcam at the beginning. All details except first and last name and the photo may be masked on the ID document. If necessary due to time reasons, the identification procedure can also be carried out in parallel by several supervisors in several breakout rooms.

Examiners/proctors may also decide that the verification of identity will be done via the submission of an affidavit in which students affirm that they are lawfully taking the examination, are working on it independently, and are capable of taking the examination.

Yes, this is legally permissible and privacy compliant. The examiner/proctor is allowed to supervise students by video and also to be shown their room once before the exam. Observation is only permitted from one perspective (i.e. no more than one camera).  The breakout function in Zoom can also be used to verify identity. Recording during the exam or the use of AI-supported software for video surveillance, on the other hand, is not permitted under data protection law and is not technically possible due to the available systems. There is also no observation of the screens. For teachers, there is a Moodle room with in­for­mation and tips on how to organize and conduct di­gi­tal exams.

Yes, students are allowed to use the background function, e.g. of Zoom, at their own request to protect their privacy. If cheating is suspected, the examiners can request clarification in a breakout session where the display of the background image is briefly discontinued.

Digital exams can be taken via the existing Moodle, Zoom, and Webex systems. Sciebo and UniMail can be used as well. Teachers who have already been trained accordingly can also use EvaExam Online. No new purchases are planned in the short term.

Many tasks can be edited digitally and uploaded afterwards. Editing or digitizing may require the installation of certain programs (e.g. scanning apps or PDF annotation software). Submission formats/file formats must be clarified in a timely manner. Assignments that are completed on paper can be photographed with a cell phone and uploaded. Teachers can additionally offer examinees alternative ways of submitting their results, for example by e-mail. This can also ensure timely submission of results if, for example, technical problems occur with Moodle.

Students are responsible - as in analog exams - for ensuring that their solutions are legible to the examiner. This also applies to the legibility of scans.

Teachers are not allowed to demand that the students obtain additional equipment for the examination. Even though there is no general right to an examination on campus or to an alternative form of examination, the examiner, however, may make a discretionary decision on a case-by-case basis and provide a room if an examinee does not have the necessary equipment. The right to disadvantage compensation for students with special needs remains unaffected. General ­in­for­mation on disadvantage compensation can be found on the home­page of DoBuS.

If problems of a technical nature verifiably occur through no fault of the student, the responsible examination board can examine the circumstances and, for example, grant a retry of the exam. Students should document any technical malfunctions that occur, for example by taking a screenshot. Teachers can also offer examinees alternative ways of submitting their results, for example by e-mail.

Students taking a di­gi­tal exam must submit a declaration of authorship. A text module is provided by the examination office for this purpose.

Just as in the case of analog exa­mi­nations, attempts to cheat may be con­trolled in case of suspicion. It is therefore possible for teachers to ask students to come into a breakout room during the examination in order to carry out a check there.

Yes, examiners/proctors are not allowed to prohibit restroom visits during the exam. However, as with exams on campus, examiners/proctors may document such exam interruptions.

Yes, even if written exa­mi­nations in face-to-face format are changed to di­gi­tal formats at short notice, equal opportunity examination conditions for students with impairments must be guaranteed. You can find more in­for­mation about disadvantage compensation in di­gi­tal exams on the website of the Department of Disability and Studies (DoBuS).

Further in­for­mation

Since mid-January, teachers have been able to access a steadily growing offer of support services on the Moodle learning platform. The zhb Department of Academic Teaching & Faculty Development can answer questions about the de­sign of open-book exams. A guide for video exams is available in the Service­Portal.

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