The University of Oslo (UiO), founded in 1811, is Norway's oldest institution for research and higher education and is, with 28,000 students and 7,000 employees, one of the largest universities in the country.
UiO's 8 faculties cover Theology, Law, Medicine, Arts and Humanities, Math and Science, Odontology, Social Science and Education. In addition, UiO has 10 Norwegian Centres of Excellence.
UiO's main goal has been to conduct paperless examinations in order to benefit its learners, planners, markers, and invigilators. The project conducted with Inspera Assessment has helped UiO achieve this goal by delivering digital exam service to UiO's faculties.
Benefits for the learners
● The exam will be more similar to the study/work
● It will be time-saving for learners to write on computers
● Equality for candidates as (undeclared) handwriting will not affect the grade.
Benefits for the markers
● Markers will be able to access the responses online
● Markers will have the opportunity to comment on the answers digitally, no need to have their own archive system
● It will be easier for markers to read machine-displayed text instead of handwriting.
Benefits for the planners
● Applications for appeals will probably be greatly reduced
● Costs associated with printing/distribution will be greatly reduced
● The technical solution for the digital exams can be performed on the existing technical equipment.
Three universities, University of Bergen, University of Oslo, and University of Agder, formed a consortium to collaboratively procure a commercial solution in 2014. Inspera offered the best solution at the tender, measured by its capacity to support development that was relevant and important for the sector and the objectives of this project.
'Our experience with the introduction of digital examinations has been a success. This may be because it was neither a so-called top-down nor bottom-up process, but the result of the simultaneous coming together of wishes from various partners,' says section manager Anne-Lise Lande, UiO.
Throughout, the project has involved close communication with the faculties, which is also being maintained now that the project has moved into its operational phase. The university management has not drafted specific policies for required adoption rates, and the faculty deans have taken the role of enthusiastic promoters.
It was important to manage user expectations of the system during the course of its functionality development. Therefore, Inspera was involved in the delivery of the communications plan, so that the information flow among stakeholders was managed effectively.
Today at UiO, 75-80% of all examinations are conducted digitally via Inspera Assessment. Even the term “digital exam” in UiO’s branding strategy has now been replaced with simply the term “exam”, given the high adoption rate.
'We should not digitise for the sake of it; our overriding aim in all we do is to add value,' says Anne-Lise Lande, section manager at UiO. Adviser Aleksander Lorentzen adds: 'And even though our primary focus isn’t to reduce costs, digital examination leads to a definite positive reallocation of what we spend our time on.'
Dedicated examination building opened in Silurveien in autumn 2016 and in the first semester, no less than 24,000 students sat their exams here. The premises accommodate 680 students at a time, distributed into two shifts per day.
Surveys completed at the faculties show that most students are extremely satisfied or satisfied with the digital examination format.
The project has involved large parts of the organisation. The important learning points from this success story are good involvement, focus on change communication, and the development of common goals. Anne-Lise Lande says that the project has had dedicated resources and people who have allocated time to work with it both centrally and at all the faculties.
In addition, the programme has shown how important it is not to underestimate the transition from project to the operational phase as this phase must not be treated lightly.
'We haven’t reached the finishing line yet, we have challenges going forward as we are looking at additional examinations forms. At the same time, it is great fun to talk about our experience because this project has been so successful and has gone so well!' remarks Anne-Lise Lande.
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