Computers, Wi-Fi, webcams… All set and ready to go for the final assessment tests, which, for the first time ever in the history of the UOC, will be entirely online this year. The first day of testing began on Saturday 6 June with 4,046 students sitting 4,520 tests from 522 courses.
But what’s going on behind the scenes?
Many of the University’s teams have been working flat out and in record time to modify a model that has been primarily on-site to date to adapt it to full-on virtualization. These include Technology, the different faculties, Campus Services, Student Support Services, the Office of the Vice President for Teaching and Learning and the Office of the Deputy General Manager for Teaching.
As José Manuel Santos, project manager with Technology, said: “We’ve found ourselves faced with an exceptional situation, highly complex and with tight deadlines, which translated into seeing through up to 10 projects in a little over 2 months. We’ve modified the existing systems to meet the new needs and put new tools in place. To make all this possible, the creation of a multidisciplinary team, made up of Academic Services and Technology, was key. We’ve worked as a team in every sense of the word to be able to take on and analyse needs from every point of view and angle, finding the best solution possible. All in all, it’s the result of the hard work of an infinite number of people in the organization; it’s they who have made it possible, and I’d like to thank them personally for their dedication.“
During the first test, the student support teams answered 1,339 calls to the helpline set up specifically for the tests, and the new test-related queries and information tool carried out 2,039 exchanges with students.
Toni Manzanares, director of Student Support Services, stressed that “we’ve been able to meet all needs and help the students at a key moment in the semester”. He went on: “The new identity verification process and the new plagiarism detection system were rolled out in the final assessment tests. All the elements that we’ve been working on so intensely these past few months worked properly, so we can rate it all positively. We hope to achieve similar results in the coming test days. I’d also like to highlight and thank the hard work of all the students, who remain undaunted by the extraordinary situation we all know we’re facing. They were able to keep going with the semester and adapt to a system of online final assessment tests that is new to the vast majority of them.”
Àngels Novoa, director of Campus Services, added that, as a result of the experience gleaned on the first day: “We’ve put more focus on the queries that students may have on exam day. In this vein, we’ve published a that brings together the most frequently asked questions, and we’ve also changed some of the sidebars in the various sections that the students have to visit to take the tests, with the aim of streamlining the whole process”.
Novoa highlighted that her “assessment of it all is very positive, as it was a challenge getting the message across about what these online final tests would be like to all the students, the vast majority of whom had never done a test like this before, which on top of everything had a lot of new features compared with the previous model”. She went on to say: “We’ll carry on working to fine-tune whatever is necessary after each test day to be as much help as we can to our students”.
And the work is far from over. The final assessment tests are spread over six online testing days, so with one down there were still five more to go: Wednesday 10 June, Saturday 13 June, Sunday 14 June, Wednesday 17 June and Saturday 20 June. Good luck everyone!
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