The University of Auckland announced online examinations will be held on a new platform, Inspera, on the 16th of April.
According to the University’s website, Inspera is “a best-in-breed, specialist examinations platform that provides a consistent, user-friendly examination experience”, providing equally consistent assessments for students who are in New Zealand and located off-shore. The use of Inspera attempts to improve time management, be accessible to multiple device types and reduces the risk of submission issues. A key feature of the software is what Inspera refers to as ‘network resilience’ in which it monitors the exam and saves it even if your internet connection cuts out during the exam.
For predominantly equation based subjects, over the past year students had been handwriting their equations and scanning their answers onto Canvas. Inspera offers a ‘Maths Working’ option where students can access a math palette, consisting of a basic palette and an advanced palette. The palettes can be designed by lecturers to fit the specific needs of the class, however the University has not confirmed if it will be using this feature.
Inspera does have a monitoring system available, but this is not being used this year. However, lecturers at the University have told classes that the assumption is that the exams will be closed book and monitored in upcoming years. The monitoring system includes live analysis of the behaviour of students, where ‘suspicious behaviour’ is flagged. However, there is currently limited description available on what this behaviour actually entails.
Students have reported that despite an official email announcement being sent out mid-April, a handful of lecturers had also mentioned that the technology was going to be used this year in lectures, back to the earliest reported date of this on 26th March. A number of students who spoke to Craccum were still unaware that the software was going to be used for exams. The University’s website recommends completing the demo assessment available on Inspera before your exam, however this may prove challenging if students are still unaware of the software.
Third year Bachelor of Arts student, Liz*, says “I’m a bit confused by the decision to use a completely new software that virtually no one knows anything about…I feel like forcing everyone to use a new software for the first time for our exams is just going to lead to more problems with the technology, and add another layer of unnecessary stress to the already nerve-racking exam period”.
First year Bachelor of Science student, Louie, also added “Canvas seems to be a fairly successful class organiser, I don’t mind using it at all…if exams [on canvas] run anything like the mid semester tests did; then it should be totally cool.”
To find your exam timings, visit your student services page online. The University website states that all exams for the year will be “conducted as online, non-invigorated, time-limited examinations”.
*Name has been changed on the request of anonymity