The wuthering heights of online exams

Published on 08 Jul 2021

Teacher’s perspective: Dimona Bartelet of University College Venlo recounts how she conquered the mountainous challenge of online exams the past year.

It is mid-March 2020 and here I face my own Mount Everest…of education. Within a week, multiple assessments of the running courses must be digitalised. How? Whom can I contact? At that time, there is no Sherpa to guide us. It is unknown territory for many of us at the UM. Colleagues and I brainstorm at the weirdest times, I steal some of my sleep, just to somehow digitalise the assessments in time. Assessments digitalised? Check! Quality? Eeehhm, don’t remind me.




Moving more than a year ahead, I no longer curse digital assessments. Yes, I still feel like a program junky. But digital assessment has also enriched my education. It triggered me to think about how I can best assess my ILOs. It has enhanced assessment variation. Canvas and TestVision have improved the quality of my take-home exams. Students can tap into their knowledge without time pressure, and I love TestVision’s ability to create and distribute numerous randomised assessments, and where necessary cluster questions in blocks. So it will be a keeper for some of my courses.


For other courses, especially those focusing on lower-level learning (knowledge/understanding), I cannot wait to return to traditional on-campus exams. Finding the right balance between the number of questions in a TestVision exam and time given to students – in order to avoid the use of notes/books – has gone wrong way too many times. So for the near future, traditional on-campus exams it will be for those courses, though I will then miss the fact that I did not need to decipher the handwriting of some of my students and the time that has saved!

Author: Dimona Bartelet, lecturer at University College Venlo, Faculty of Science and Engineering


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.


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Last updated: 08/07/21

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