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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.