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E-assessment from vision to practice

The eduhub days were held at the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) on 9 and 10 February. The theme of e-assessment proved popular, drawing in e-learning experts from more than 30 organisations.

Text: Nathalie RothGuido Biland, published on 01.03.2017

The Programme Committee, which SWITCH freshly recruits each year via the Educational Technology Working Group (ETWG), chose "E-assessment from vision to practice: exploring new scenarios" as the theme for the ninth edition of the eduhub days. This attracted a lot of interest from the Swiss e-learning community, with 28 submissions received for the 21 planned slots. A record 148 people signed up for the event – more than enough to fill the available space. The prospect of greater convenience and efficiency in organising, conducting and marking exams drew participants from all corners of Switzerland to Lugano.

Intensive exchange of experience

The community appears to have an impressive wealth of experience in e-assessment. The "show and tell" sessions provided an overview of the existing, tried-and tested tools, methods and scenarios, while practical experiences at Swiss universities were presented in the "semi-plenaries". Jacqueline Gasser-Beck, Executive Director IRP-HSG at the University of St.Gallen, gave a fascinating talk under the heading "Legal framework for e-assessments – why security issues, personal data protection and copyrights matter".

The "debate and open questions" sessions centred on possible scenarios for the near future at Swiss universities.

The numerous talks made it clear how much e-assessment is intertwined with other e-learning issues, some of the key terms being Moodle, BYOD, flipped classroom, e-portfolio, authentication, team-based learning, mobile learning, infrastructure components and certification. There was also some lively discussion of experiences using the Safe Exam Browser (see box).

Keynote speakers from Germany and Australia

Participants took a great deal of inspiration from the two keynote speakers. Jürgen Handke, professor at The Philipp University of Marburg's Institute of English and American Studies, spoke on the topic of "eEducation in the 21st century: new approaches towards learning, teaching and assessment". He explained that experiments are already under way using robots to assist with exams. "Assessing for quality decision making" was the topic of the following day's talk by Geoffrey Crisp, professor and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education) at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Both talks are available on SWITCHtube.

 

Presentations: https://tube.switch.ch/channels/95772335
Event info: https://www.eduhub.ch/events/eduhub-days/eduhub-days-2017/

Safe Exam Browser

The Safe Exam Browser (SEB) is a secure browser application that allows online exams to be conducted reliably on learning management systems (LMSs). Starting the SEB application switches a conventional Windows or Mac OS X computer into "kiosk mode", temporarily turning it into a secure workstation. SEB controls access to aids such as system functions, other websites and programs and prevents the use of banned resources during an exam.

SWITCH founded the SEB Consortium in 2016 together with ETH Zurich with a view to advancing the development of this open-source e-assessment technology.

SWITCH's commitment to secure online exams

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