Preparations for testing
With distance exams, there must be increased emphasis on communication with students, not only in terms of supplying sufficient advance notice when announcing terms, but also the method of technical support for exams. We recommend testing in the presence of at least two students (or instructors), as in the case of in-person exams, so that the student is not alone in the virtual room with the examiner. The guarantor of the course may also modify the terms of the exam, including the time for preparation, according to the nature of the exam itself.
Before starting the exam, the following steps should be taken:
- You should set the term and manner of holding the exam and inform the students in time;
- You should check the technical conditions prior to starting the exam.
Term and manner of holding the exam
Students register for the exam in SIS based on the terms announced by the examiner. When registering for a term, it is important for the students to know that the exam is a distance test and which tool will be used. Student must also be informed of what they will need for the exam (technical equipment, Internet connection, etc.)
The instructor creates an online meeting in the selected tool. When selecting a tool, they should also consider the capacity and possibilities of the tool. i.e. reserving the room on time in Adobe Connect. When planning a term, it is also important to consider sufficient pauses between the individual exams (the need to take into account complications when logging in, fine-tuning the settings for ideal transmission, slowness of the transmission, etc.).
The instructor sends the log-in link to students by e-mail at the students’ addresses provided in SIS and informs them of the required information for holding the exam (or provides instructions for installing the tool). You may also set up a time for a test call in the selected tool.
Prior to testing, we recommend that you get the students’ telephone numbers. This could be used for emergency connections in the event of technical difficulties during the exam.
Inspection of the technical conditions
Before starting the exam, the following steps should be carried out with the participants of the exam:
- Install the videoconference software, ideally on more than one device (laptop, telephone);
- Before testing, check the functions and make sure the software is updated (so that it does not start updating when you start the videoconference);
- Check the microphone and headphones (headphones are preferred over speakers because they produce less feedback noise which would interfere with the quality of the audio transmission); or check the Bluetooth connection for the headphones, etc.;
- Check software controls, the switching of windows, opening the chat window for troubleshooting, feedback, etc.;
- Make a test call in the software to verify all key functions (sound, monitor, sharing desktops, and recording).
If a student does not have the proper technical equipment (e.g. a laptop with a video camera, microphone and speakers, an Internet connection), you can contact the Carolina Centre to borrow equipment firstname.lastname@example.org (however, the capacities of the Carolina Centre are limited).
Starting the exam and testing procedures
- The examiner and the students being tested log in to the online exam (see the recommendations for testing in the presence of at least one more student).
- At the beginning of the exam, the examiner also informs the students of the rules and conditions in the event of being disconnected, which can be set by the faculty rules.
- The examiner explains the basic rules for communication, e.g. “When you are not speaking, turn off your microphone.” Nevertheless, we recommend that the tested students have their microphones on at all times due to verification. The first student is tested, and the second student is just present. After testing the first student, the second student is tested, and the first student is just present. The evaluation is carried out jointly after testing both of the students.
- The examiner asks the tested student to turn on their microphone and video camera.
- The examiner asks the student being tested to show their surroundings using their video camera (circling the room with the camera to demonstrate that no one else is in the room, no textbook or other equipment, etc. are behind the computer or on the desk).
- The examiner asks the student being tested to share the desktop/monitor of their computer, not only one application (verify the visibility of the main application panel Windows/MacOS/Linux).
- The examiner asks the student being tested to turn off any applications or applications running in the background, except for the exam application (option to check this using Task Manager).
- If it can be demonstrated that a student is cheating, this may be considered as a disciplinary offence.
- If drawing questions is necessary, we recommend following the rules according to common practices. The drawing in this case may be done by the examiner. However, fairness and impartiality must be demonstrated (e.g. showing that the set of questions is complete and the drawing is done in front of the camera; the drawing is done using an electronic tool guaranteed by the faculty, etc.). Drawing questions may be done using, for example, Microsoft Forms.
The instructor tests the students:
- The instructor asks the student questions orally, and the student answers the questions orally;
- The instructor lets the student complete the test, which they have prepared in advance (e.g. in Microsoft Forms, Moodle, or some other tool) and shares with the student a link in the chat during the exam (which will also log the student’s answers);
- A combination of both options above;
- The instructor monitors the student’s actions, e.g. they watch a student’s conversation with a patient, how the student carries out a procedure (on a simulator, on the screen), independent solutions to examples, case studies, etc.;
- The instructor monitors the screen, the video, and the audio of the tested student for the entire time.
After testing the first student, the instructor invites the second student to be tested and the procedure is repeated. The first student remains present while testing the second student. At the end of the exam, students are informed orally about the results, which will then be entered in SIS.
In some cases, practical exams may be carried out in a similar manner. When demonstrating practical skills, a student may need assistance with videoconferencing, e.g. when moving or capturing details while processing a task.