University introduces online invigilation

20 June 2020

The University has invested heavily to introduce a third-party "online invigilator" system to support students who are off campus to take online examinations. Offsite “online” exams are taken under similar conditions as those for on-campus exams, using the same question paper and held at the same time as the on-campus exams. Offsite and on-campus exams will operate under the same regulations concerning no talking and no looking at textbooks or notes.

Cai-Ning FanJiang, a year two student who has to take five exams at home, said that this was a unique experience for her as well. “This is my first time to set up the ‘examination room’ myself and upload my exam papers.”

The day before the exam, students receive an email reminder according to which she would check that she has received the link to her exam, make her desk, print out the standard answer sheet and prepare a mirror. Before the exam starts, the invigilator will check the student ID through the webcam; the student is required to hold and rotate the mirror for the invigilator to check the exam environment comprehensively. Electronic devices are not allowed in the room until the exam is finished and the papers are to be photographed and uploaded. The whole examination period will be monitored by the invigilator and by the online system. Reports of the examinations showing the screens of the students and the video recording from the students’ webcams are provided for the university.

This semester, a total of 183 examinations are held both online and offline simultaneously. There are 578 students making up more than 1830 examination slots who have not returned to the University for various reasons and need to take online exams. With students coming from over 70 countries and regions, UNNC tries to accommodate time zone differences when scheduling online exams.

In order to ensure the successful completion of the test, the "online invigilator" system will give directions to the students and is able to answer questions that students ask during the exam through a dialogue window. “It appears that around 93% of students are able to use the system well and submit their work online,” said Peter Morgan, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Business and project leader of online invigilation. “We have been offering as much support as we can to ensure that the majority have had a smooth experience.”