How to avoid your exam getting lost in cyberspace

Skrevet af Jannick Friis ChristensenMia Mathilde HansenTranslated by Felix Kasperek - Foto: Mia Mathilde Hansen - 6. februar 2014 - 14:040 kommentarer
Well I’ll be damned, there it is! Good thing the belt-and-braces approach was used.

A few weeks ago, CBS OBSERVER brought you the story of a CBS student who’d gotten stuck in the system because of a technical error at an electronic hand-in exam. To help you avoid a similar situation, we’ve compiled a guide and some good advice from the IT support on campus. Belts-and-braces!

Technical error didn’t have any consequences in the end
Two weeks ago, CBS OBSERVER brought you the story of student Chris Lundshøj who, due to a technical error in CBS’ new electronic hand-in system which swallowed his assignment, received a failing grade and therefore had to attend a reexamination.

In the meantime, Legal Services has taken the side of the student in this case, so his original submission can be evaluated on the same terms as the submissions of his peers.

At the same time, IT Support would like to inform that the bug that caused Chris Lundshøj’s submission to get lost in cyberspace has been fixed.

The latest update to the electronic submission system has added an extra underlying check when a document is uploaded, which should mean the end of submissions disappearing.

IT head: always a small risk of error
Program Director and IT Project Manager Martin Tong recognizes that the system has had a few teething problems, since its launch. First, as a pilot project on CBS’ HD program and full-time programs in the beginning of 2013, and later at e.g. ISUP in the summer of 2013.

When compared to the fact that over 16,000 written exams have been submitted electronically since the launch of the system, however, the number of errors isn’t alarming. But as with all other software, the submission system must be updated every once in a while, and the IT department works on continuous improvements based on user feedback.

However, Martin Tong says that there’ll always be a small risk of errors, but that students can do a lot to keep the risk at a minimum.

According to Martin Tong, you can ensure that an assignment has been uploaded correctly. You do that by pressing continue on the receipt page, after having pressed ‘submit’ (see screen dump via the link, Ed.). That way, you can download the submission through the generated link.

However, if you’re unable to download it, then something’s gone wrong – and this counts even if you’ve gotten a receipt!

Secretariat head: the students’ responsibility too
René Skaanning Jakobsen, head of the BSc secretariat, agrees with Martin Tong that the electronic submission system isn’t flawless.

He notes that the students also have a responsibility for being familiar with the procedures , especially for the written exams – something that the large majority does.

- You should, in addition to knowing the procedures, as a minimum thoroughly read the quick-guide, which you can find at every workstation in the Amager exam halls, says René Skaanning Jakobsen and adds:

- At the exams you should make sure to continuously save your documents to the local C-drive and your own S-drive, when you have the chance. That way, you have a backup.

You’re your own best insurance
René Skaanning Jakobsen emphasizes that all students should make sure they’re signed up for the classes, since if they don’t, they won’t appear on the exam lists due to the move to the new student administration system STADS.

This can be done by ensuring that you – in addition to definite exam registration on E-campus – also have access to the exam folder under Learn Exam on the front page of Learn. It isn’t yet synchronized with the exam portal, but it’s well underway and will hopefully be done in time for the spring and summer exams.

- We’ve experienced that some students’ names weren’t on the exam lists. That’s a problem we can solve before the exams, luckily, but it’s much easier if it’s handled before then, the secretariat head explains.

New interuniversitary system on the way
Even though the electronic submission system via Learn has only existed for a year, CBS has already found its replacement.

CBS, along with the University of Copenhagen, the University of Roskilde (RUC), the University Aarhus (AU) and Aalborg University (AAU) have found a supplier that, leading up to the summer of 2015 will phase in a new electronic exam system. You can read more about it here.

- We’ve always known that Learn probably won’t last five years into the future, but we’re keeping it alive until the interuniversitary system is fully implemented, says René Skaanning Jakobsen.

The secretariat head explains further that there’s money to be saved by 5 of the nation’s 8 universities collaborating on a common solution, and that the new digital solution will be an improvement over Learn.

- We’ve made a Fiat here at CBS. With the new system, we hope to make something that’s more reminiscent of a Rolls Royce, René Skaanning Jakobsen.


Belts-and-braces when submitting electronically

If you take the following 5 precautions when you submit you exam, then you’ve done yours to avoid technical difficulties, according to IT specialist Martin Tong.

1: Check the student administrative rule collection (SAR)!
Via E-campus you’ll find SAR, a collection of rules and guidelines for the exam in question – including documentation.

Here you can find ‘Rules and regulations for written sit-in exams at CBS, including rules and regulations for electronic aids’ and a ‘Computer exam check list’.

2: Check if you’re signed up for exams on e-campus!
When it comes to electronic exams, you have to make sure you can access the portal for the exam in question via Learn. You can make sure you can by logging onto Learn and clicking on the exam folder of the course. You should also be able to see your exam(s) in the Learn Exam section on the front page of Learn.

3: Get familiar with the electronic submission system!
You can test the electronic submission system on Learn. You can do that via the test site that you can access from the front page of Learn. You can also find various guides, Q/As and ask questions directly to the project group.

However, make sure that you don’t accidentally upload your submission to the test folder – if you do, it won’t count as submitted.

4: Read the guide!
Read the guide that your study secretariat sends out before the exam. Thoroughly!

5: There’s IT support!
Contact the IT support if you need help at a sit-in exam!
If you’re doing your exam at home, you can call the IT support who’ll always be aware of current exams.

That was the belt – here come the braces:

1: Make back-ups!
If you’re at a sit-in exam, you should always make sure to make back-ups of the files you’re working on, on the local C-drive that you have access to even if the network connection goes down. If you have access to your own S-drive, then it’s a good idea to save a back-up there too.

2: Only use stable connections!
If you’re doing your exam from home and plan on uploading it from your own computer, you should make sure you have a stable internet connection. If you experience network hiccups, that might result in your submission not being uploaded properly.

3: Keep your eye on the deadline!
Be aware that when you’re working on a home-exam, the submission portal closes exactly at the specified time (Danish time zone). At a sit-in exam, extra time after the exam ends is allocated for saving and submitting the final result.

4: Check, check and check again!
A good rule of thumb is that checking that your submission has been properly uploaded one time too many is better than the opposite. As mentioned earlier, you do that by clicking ‘continue’ on the receipt page, after having clicked ‘submit’. Then you can download your document via the generated link.

If you can’t download what you’ve submitted, then it hasn’t been uploaded correctly – not even if you’ve gotten a receipt!