illustration of students during an e-exam

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Modern Teaching: Test Run for E-exams

This summer term's last central examination is also a premiere! On Monday, a large e-exam was held for the first time at the University of Bamberg on specially prepared examination laptops.

Almost 250 information systems and computer science students came to Kapellenstraße 13 to take the exam "Introduction to Computers and Operating Systems" on laptops. To ensure that the whole thing works well and securely, the Chair for Privacy and Security in Information Systems (PSI) of Prof. Dr. Dominik Herrmann has developed the PSI-Exam examination system. With it, computer-based examinations can be conducted with low effort and fail-safe - without a huge PC pool and thus very flexible in terms of location. The special feature: all the programmes pre-installed on the computers were permitted aids in the examination. This makes it possible to set much more practical tasks and "programming on paper" is now a thing of the past in computer science.

And how does an e-examination work? The exam is processed in the browser and provided by a web server that runs directly on the exam laptops. Power or network failures during the exam are therefore no problem. To ensure that web access is restricted in line with the exam, the laptops are in an isolated WLAN controlled by a laptop at the exam invigilator (in the case of a remote exam, there would be corresponding firewall rules). The solutions entered by the students are saved on the SSDs of the laptops as well as on USB sticks and continuously transmitted to the invigilator's computer in the background.

QR codes and checksums are used to activate the examinations and assign them to the examinees. When all examiners have completed their examinations, two additional backup copies are made of all examinations submitted. The exams are ready for correction. And this is more convenient and quicker for the examiners than is the case when correcting analogue exams.

To ensure that the students were not overwhelmed by the new exam situation, an explanatory video was made available in advance, and students were allowed to bring their own mouse to make it easier to use - in addition, there was a mock exam for practice just two months beforehand.