Thursday, 12 March 2015

MOLE Exams - A New Process

Me presenting the new process
Over the last six months, I have been working on a new MOLE Exams process with Jo Hardy, the Exams Team leader in Students Services. Jo and her team are responsible for arranging and running all the exams held at the University, but until recently MOLE exams were not part of this normal process. This has now changed, and we now have MOLE exams fully integrated into the standard exams process.

We ran a pilot with the Faculty of Engineering MOLE exams last year to assess how we could integrate these properly, and then used the outcomes of the trial to develop a complete process that allows both our teams to provide full support from the very beginning right through to the end of the exam process. Although MOLE exams are handled in the same way as a standard paper based exam, the preparation and delivery is obviously very different, so we have developed this new end to end process to ensure that the details in these differences are understood, which makes everything run much more smoothly for everyone involved.

In simple terms, the exam request from the department is made to the Exams Team. If the department has never run an exam before then the Exams Team will put them in contact with us for pedagogical and technical support around building the MOLE test that will be used for the exam. If the department is experienced, then they simply need to build the test in MOLE and wait for the confirmation for the exam schedule, then let us know. We will deploy the test in the course ensuring the configuration of the settings are correct. This means that the Chief Invigilator running the exam on the day does not get any unexpected surprises in the room the exam is being held. Any changes that need to be made to the test after this has happened must be confirmed with us, to ensure that it hasn't altered any of the settings, as this can causes issues on the day.

On the day of the exam, we offer full support but we no longer routinely attend the room, as MOLE is much more robust and we find we are not needed in the room most of the time now. The Chief Invigilators have a direct line to us for support, and we can be in the room in a few minutes if we are unable to resolve the problem over the phone. We trialled this new process during the last exams period in February, and we found it to be a success. We expected some things to require adjustment and we are reviewing those at the moment and will update the process accordingly.

We are also continuing to look at developing the whole area of MOLE exams further. Although there have been no real issues with security and unfair means in these exams, we are looking at introducing a lockdown browser to improve these aspects of the exam on the day. More information will be coming on this very soon.

Overall, the new process is working well. More information about it can be found on the Exams Team web pages (requires a UoS login), and we delivered the first on a short series of sessions to go over this in greater detail and answer any questions people have. The next session will be scheduled soon, and information on that will be available as soon as we know more details.

Clearly we don't have unlimited capacity for the number of students sitting an exam on the day as room space is always a key factor, but  we are saying that if you are interested don't let this put you off,  get it touch and we will help.

Danny

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