Digital examinations become the norm
The Faculty of Law is introducing digital written examinations for several subjects this spring.
The faculty board has decided that digital examinations will become the norm at the faculty of law. The first will be “Legal Method and Sources of Law” on 24 April. This will be a trial exam, and if everything works as planned, there will also be digital examinations in the subjects in years 1–4 that have examinations in June. In the autumn of 2015 the goal is that all examinations will be conducted digitally, including examinations in the subjects offered in English.
Head of academic and student affairs, Christine Stoltz Olsvik, is content that digital examinations finally have become a reality at the faculty.
“We have been working towards this since 2012, but it has taken time for the university to find the right technical solutions and to solve infrastructural challenges. On behalf of the students, the Law Student Committee (JSU) has actively promoted digital examinations for a number of years. They are due a great deal of credit that it now has become a reality. The Rectorate has also been an important central driving force,” Olsvik says.
Head of JSU, Vilde Martine Gjethammer, believes that now it will be easier for the students to take examinations in a good way.
“We are quicker with a keyboard than with pen and paper, so it will be easier to demonstrate what we know. We write assignments every week that are submitted digitally, so now there will be more agreement between the way we learn and the way we are evaluated. Currently many students have to prepare for examinations by using handwriting for a whole or half a semester because they aren't used to it. Now they won't have to. We are very pleased!” Gjethammer smiles.
May use own computers
Digital written examinations mean that the students can use their own laptops and write and submit their papers using a dedicated application that closes all other access on the machine. The students have to download this application before the day of the examination. Students who don't have their own computers or who don't want to use them, can borrow one on the day of the examination. The tool is a basic word processor without automatic spelling check. This means that the only change to the examination so far is that pen and paper is exchanged for a keyboard and screen. For this reason there will be no changes in examination aids in the near future.
Sure it will work
The head of academic and student affairs explains that something completely extraordinary would have to occur for the digital examination not to take place on 24 April.
“We are sure this will work. The students have plenty of time to test the software before the examination, and we will have backup solutions in the event of problems. The Faculty has appointed an administrative group dedicated to this, and we are collaborating with the IT Department, the Department of Estate and Facility Management and the Division of Student Affairs,” she says.
What about those wanting to use pen and paper?
The faculty board has decided that digital examinations will become the norm at the faculty of law. This means that examinations that can be held digitally, as a rule will be held digitally. Exceptions may only be made as an individual adaptation on application, following the same guidelines and criteria that apply to other adaptation of examinations. However, in the spring of 2015 there are somewhat less stringent requirements toward paper examinations as this is starting up.
“We need to remember that this is not a revolutionary form of evaluation,” Olsvik points out.
“In the first instance we are only replacing pen and paper with a keyboard and screen. In the long run we may permit certain websites and applications, for example various databases,” says the head of academic and student affairs.