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From paper to online exams

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the cancellation of exams across the globe; turmoil for institutions and uncertainty for students about when or even if they’ll be able to take the exams they’ve worked hard for.

As many institutions accelerate their plans for online exams, we’ve seen drastic growth in enquiries and demand for our eSystem exam software.  However, we also know that for many, making the change from paper to online exams is a daunting prospect.

However, it doesn’t have to be unnerving – here we examine why we think now is the right time to make the move.

Greater internal receptivity

Gaining internal buy-in is a challenge, we often hear from prospective clients. It’s understandable, (especially when there are processes in place that work), why there’s a reluctance to change. However, the pandemic is making it difficult to run paper exams and increasingly people are seeking solutions to overcome these challenges and minimise disruption. It’s likely, therefore, that internal teams will be receptive to moving to an online exam management system and be prepared to invest time in learning about the options.

Bring your own device works

Whilst, it’s not a requirement, many institutions choose to invest in hardware to provide to students to take online exams. Additionally, pre-COVID the hire of large, (often expensive) exam halls or venues was commonplace. For some, the high cost of providing hardware coupled with venue cost was a barrier to adoption. During a pandemic, the additional challenges of social distancing make this option unfeasible. So, bring your own device (BYOD) where students take exams on their own devices, in any location – is a very viable option. And one that many are trialling successfully at the moment.

Exam security & proctoring

The security and integrity of your exams are of course, paramount. There are numerous features within our eSystem software which assist in running secure online exams, for example, the secure exam feature. When an exam is taken using the secure exam browser, candidates are unable to access anything on the device other than the exam itself. It completely locks down the device and prohibits access to documents, files or web browsers whilst the exam is in progress.

Alternatively, if you prefer a proctoring solution, then this is possible too. We’ve recently integrated a proctoring module within the eSystem. This means that a range of proctoring options including automatic and live proctoring are now available.

 Be running online exams in weeks

There’s been enough disruption to teaching and learning this year. That’s why we’re committed to getting you up and running as soon as possible. Depending on how quickly things can move from your end, this could be a matter of weeks. So, you could be in a position to run high-stakes, online exams sooner than you think.

Our customers have a proven track record of this. The new Medical School at Anglia Ruskin University decided to use the eSystem at the end of March. They were ready to run their first exams in June. In terms of the timeline, they had their install and training in April, after which they quickly created their MMI exams. The applicants to the Medical School took the exams in June and ARU were able to identify successful candidates for their first cohort of medical students to start in September. All went smoothly and ARU is delighted with the system. Read the full case study here.

With regards to hosting, you can choose what’s right for your organisation, either cloud hosting or self-hosting. The eSystem is available to purchase as a software as a service (SaaS) solution. This allows you to operate the software entirely from the cloud on a recurring annual subscription basis. Choosing the cloud-hosted route means we’ll make setting you up with the eSystem our focus. Plus, cloud hosting is likely to be the quickest way to get your online exams running. Read our article on the benefits of cloud hosting for further information.

Benefit from an advanced exam management system

There are many further benefits that the eSystem exam management system will give you.

The sophisticated question bank provides a streamlined question writing and storage solution. As well as the functionality to allocate questions into groups or learning outcomes. Additionally, it’s possible to author questions directly in the bank remotely, from any location. Bringing further benefits of a streamlined question authoring process to your team.

Plus, functions such as exam blueprinting and statistical analysis provide valuable insights for the ongoing improvement of your exams.

When it comes to the ever-important student feedback, it’s available at the touch of a button with the eSystem. The candidate feedback tool allows you to provide timely, personalised and detailed feedback to students online. Students simply log-in and view their feedback at a time and place to suit them. With the current situation of limited social and face-to-face contact, this has never been more important.

Free trial & short-term lease offer – Compatible with paper exams

We recognise (especially at the current time), budgets are stretched. So during the COVID crisis, we’re running a free no-obligation trial for anyone who is looking to try online exams. Furthermore, we have short-term leasing options that’ll allow you to run online exams without a long-term commitment.

And, since the eSystem is compatible with paper exams, it’s easy to revert after the pandemic and still get all of the benefits of an advanced question bank and exam management system. Although once you’ve run online exams with eSystem you may not want to!

Ultimately not only will the eSystem enable you to seamlessly run exams in these difficult times, but it’ll also give you time. Leaving you free to focus on creating better exams in the future.

Get in touch

To find out more about our eSystem, running secure online exams remotely, or how we can assist you, contact us. Call our sales team on +44 (0) 1223 851703 or email info@speedwellsoftware.com