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Fig.: Andreas Vollmer

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - E-Assessment

Conducting the Exam

When conducting the examination, in addition to the actual examination time, sufficient time must be planned for preparation. Similar to face-to-face exams, the identity check of the examinees can take some time. An additional complicating factor for e-examinations is that the technology must function properly during the entire examination period in order for the examination to be conducted successfully at all.

Preliminary phase

Immediately before the examination, the technology (e.g. the video conferencing software) should first be set up correctly so that both the identity check and the actual examination can be conducted in a data protection-friendly manner.

If the examination procedure has not already been made known to all examinees in advance, e.g. through information in the examination course, final "working instructions" can be given in the waiting room (without camera) and in the chat. Afterwards (or during the examination), the identity of the examinees must be established. Only after this identity check (minimally via the HU account, if no camera is used) do the students receive the questions or statements on health, autonomy, cheating and resources. Only if they answer all items in the affirmative will the actual exam be unlocked for them.

Attention: Depending on the size of the cohort, a corresponding amount of time must be planned for the identity check. For a reliable guideline, examiners should have tried this process beforehand.

Summary: Immediately before for the exam

Step 1: Set up technology - switch exam course or exam sections to visible, open zoom meeting, set up waiting room and breakout sessions, ensure own telephone support.

Step 2: Identity check via video - only possible in the 1:1 procedure, i.e. each examinee holds his or her photo ID up to the camera in a virtual room where otherwise only the examiner or the supervisor is present (or he or she is personally known to the examiner)

Step 3: Start of the examination: The examination can be started automatically if a task start is noted in the explanations under "Settings", e.g. 01.03.21 9 am. Alternatively, the examination can be started by manually activating the explanations.



Whereas in in-person examinations, for reasons of equal opportunities, both closed-book and open-book examinations are conducted under supervision in order to prevent cheating (e.g. unauthorised aids in the closed-book procedure, communication with each other in the open-book procedure), comparable supervision cannot be implemented in digital examinations at a distance.

Supervision of digital distance examinations can only be implemented by using cameras and microphones in the students' private environment. This form of supervision is not only of limited effectiveness, but rather represents an infringement of the students' personal rights, which must be a) justified and b) mitigated as far as possible (see Handreichung zur Online-Durchführung von Closed-Book-Prüfungen, 29.1.2020).

Therefore, the following applies to digital examinations at a distance on the basis of the handout of 29.1.2020:

  1. Open-book procedures are to be preferred. In them, the use of camera and microphone is dispensed with by setting the tasks accordingly, so that consultation or cooperation with others can also have little effect on the result (similar to take-home exams). The only exception for the short-term use of the camera during the examination, announced accordingly in advance, is a possible identity check, where students hold their photo ID into the camera (§ 107a para. 2 ZSP-HU). Normally, the identity check should take place before the examination or be covered by the minimum requirement (HU account).
  2. Closed-book procedures should be protected from cheating attempts primarily by didactic means such as random arrangement and selection of different items. In addition, the use of cameras and microphones in accordance with the handout can be added if it has been announced in advance. It is important to communicate these additional examination regulations (including reference to data protection regulations) in a timely and transparent manner.


Further tasks of examination guidance ("supervision") by examiners or supervisors in general consist of writing the examination protocol, noting unusual occurrences in the examination protocol, providing technical support and assisting students with problems and questions during the examination.

If an examiner suspects that a candidate is cheating during the examination, this is noted in the examination protocol and reported to the responsible examination board. The exam board can ask the Moodle administration for the log files within seven days of the start of the exam (deletion period) in order to investigate the suspected cheating from a technical point of view.

Important for support (see also "Handreichung zur Betreuung während der Prüfung"): During the examination, support of students should be secured both by telephone and by a video conference set up separately by the examination course. In both cases, the contact options are announced in advance so that students can also handwrite this information if desired and place it next to the exam (internet failure).

Attention: In the settings for the video conference, the waiting room function should definitely be set so that students can only "enter" the supervisor's conference room individually. This can also prevent students from contacting each other.

Summary: Supervise the exam

Step 1: Have the protocol ready and ensure support throughout by telephone and video conferencing.

Step 2: If cameras and microphones are used, go through the students' separate virtual examination rooms

Step 3: Note any special incidents, such as cameras and/or microphones being switched off, absent students or technical problems, in the protocol.

Step 4: Respond to "calls for help"

(status 2/20/2021)