Inspera Assessment, Digital Exams Launch – Presentation Recording

Inspera joined us via zoom for a presentation about the new Inspera Assessment software.

The presentation was delivered by Graeme Redshaw-Boxwell and Susan Barfield from the Learning and Teaching Development Service, who were joined by Suzanne Keys and Harvey Tayman from Inspera. Graeme and Susan discussed the journey Newcastle has taken with Digital Exams, why we are excited about the new software and what it will allow future digital exams to do. Suzanne and Harvey went on to demonstrate the assessment software, from a student and academics perspective.

This is the link to the recording from the session.

The following questions and answers were discussed during the sessions

I want to introduce a digital exam using Inspera, what can I do next? 

Digital exams for semester 1 are only available for modules that have this listed in their 2021-22 MOFS. If you wish to run a digital exam for 2022-23, when you complete your 2022-23 MOF select “PC Examination” for  the Assessment Component.  

If you are interested in running a digital exam in future and would like to find out more, please see our Digital Exams webpages, or contact digital.exams@newcastle.ac.uk .  

We would like to pilot it on some modules, where do we start? 

Please see the  Digital Exams webpages for information on how to get started. I you have a semester 2 exam that you would like to turn into a digital exam, please email digital.exams@newcastle.ac.uk to discuss. 

What capacity is there for digital exams with large cohorts?  
We have previously supported exams with over 400 students and it possible to manage large cohorts, although this may be over several venues. 

Can external examiners access? 

All Canvas users have access to Inspera. If your external examiner has been set up with a Canvas account, they can access Inspera. 

Can you download a copy of the exam paper? 

It is possible to download a PDF version of the exam. 

Can I download feedback 

It is possible to download students’ submissions, feedback annotations and marks as two separate PDFs. 

Can you use Turnitin to check for similarity on typed essay questions? 

Turnitin has been integrated into Inspera, so it possible to check a student’s submission for similarity. The Turnitin marking tools are not available, so it is not possible to use QuickMarks. 

How do we ensure the academic integrity of digital exams? 

It is possible to use a lock down browser on cluster room PCs and students’ own devices exam for digital exams. Ahead of the exam, the students will be asked to install the Safe Exam Browser software on their own laptop if it is bring your own device exam. To start the exam, they must run Safe Exam Browser, which will lock their PC from being able to access anything else. When they submit their exam and close lockdown browser, they can use laptop as normal.

It is not possible for a student to access an exam that requires use of Safe Exam Browser without using Safe Exam Browser. There are warnings in the monitor module if a student had tried to exit the lockdown browser. 

The Inspera Assessment, Digital Exam Launch will continue with two more sessions taking place in person on the 9th and 10th November, click for further details and to book a place

Announcing the University’s new Digital Exam System: Inspera Assessment

In September 2021 we will be launching a new system for centrally supported digital exams, called Inspera Assessment. Implementing the system will enable the Digital Exam Service to: 

  • Deliver secure locked down present-in-person exams on University computers and students’ own laptops, monitored by University invigilators 
  • Ensure that digital exams are accessible to all our students, and enhance the student experience of exams 
  • Increase the University’s digital exam capacity in the long term 
  • Enable more authentic exams by introducing new functionality

New exam types possible with Inspera will include:  

  • Students taking written exams online, by typing their answers on computer, and incorporating drawings or written calculations done on paper into their online answers where needed. 
  • Allowing access to specific online resources or applications during a secure exam, using allow listing functionality. 

Introducing Inspera is a big step forward for education, assessment and feedback at Newcastle University.  Adopting a specialist digital exam system allows us to do much more than would be possible if we continued to use the Virtual Learning Environment for digital exams.

Choosing a digital exam system 

Inspera has been selected as our digital exam system following a rigorous procurement process, which began with requirements mapping workshops in February 2020, attended by over 60 academic and professional services staff.  The procurement was postponed for a year as a result of the global pandemic, and restarted in semester 2 2020/21 when colleagues had the opportunity to feed in any new or updated requirements via an online survey.   

Once the tender was issued key digital exams stakeholders contributed to a rigorous evaluation process to decide on the system that best fit our requirements.  Students and staff were invited to volunteer for usability testing in each system that met the mandatory technical requirements. The team are very grateful to the 36 colleagues, and 13 undergraduate and postgraduate students, who completed a total of approximately 150 hours of usability testing between them! 

Inspera scored the highest overall for both usability, and for technical and functional requirements. 

Rolling out Inspera 

As standard all 2021/22 modules that have a present-in-person digital exam in MOFS will use Inspera.  If the public health situation requires, it will be possible for these modules to use the system for open book take home exams.

Numbas maths assessment system remains an option digital exams that need specialist mathematics functionality.

The system will be available for additional new digital exams from 2022/23 onwards.  There will be opportunities in the coming months to see demonstrations of the software, and learn more about the new types of assessment that it makes possible.  If you would like to learn more now, please contact digital.exams@newcastle.ac.uk

How to get started  

The Digital Exams Service team will contact all 2021/22 module teams with a digital exam in their MOF at the beginning of September, with details of the process for preparing their exam. 

Training will also launch in September 2021, and all colleagues who will be using Inspera in the new academic year are encouraged to sign up.   

Online resources to help students prepare for a digital exam will be published in September, and students will also be able to try out a demo exam in Inspera to help familiarise themselves with the system. 

If you are interested in introducing a new digital exam using Inspera in future, or if you have any queries about a 2021/22 digital exam, please contact digital.exams@newcastle.ac.uk

Newcastle University Digital Exams Service announced as finalist in the e-Assessment Awards

The e-Assessment Association has announced the shortlisted finalists for its international awards programme, The e-Assessment Awards.

We are delighted to announce that the Newcastle University Digital Exams Service has been shortlisted in the ‘Best Use of Summative Assessment’ category.

The e-Assessment Awards programme holds a unique position, as it encompasses all sectors of education: from schools, through further and higher education to workplace training and professional exams. The Awards programme was launched in October 2016 to highlight and celebrate the outstanding and positive contributions that technology makes to all forms of assessment, and has gone on to showcase the best practice, research and innovation in the sector.

Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education, recognised this excellent acheivement:

“The nomination reflects the fact that we are a leading institution in the sector for digital exam provision.  It also recognises our commitment to ongoing innovation, exemplified by the recent introduction of digital written exams that students can take using their own devices. 

The Digital Exams Service plays a pivotal role in providing our students an educational experience supported and enhanced by technology, which is one of the four key themes of the University Education Strategy.  Delivering a diverse range of summative exam types in a secure online environment enables authentic assessment, enhances the accessibility of exams for all of our students, and supports the University’s commitment to lowering its environmental impact by reducing the amount of paper required for exams.

The success of digital exams at Newcastle University is founded on collaboration between academic and professional services colleagues in academic units across the institution, together with the Learning and Teaching Development Service, IT Service, and Exams and Awards Office. This commitment to collaboration and innovation provides a strong foundation as we prepare to meet the challenges of delivering rigorous, authentic, and accessible assessment in the new educational landscape resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Finalist e-Assessment Awards 2020

The Digital Exams Service here at Newcastle has also been recognised as an example of good practice and innovation in the recent JISC report: The future of assessment: five principles, five targets for 2025.

e-Assessment Awards – Selected finalists showcase, 3 June 2020

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