New notification feature in LEARN results in more accurate exam schedules

Skrevet af Jannick Friis ChristensenJesper Snedker Adamsen, (versioning) - Foto: © Aydindurdu | Dreamstime.com - 13. oktober 2015 - 12:310 kommentarer
The new notification feature in LEARN is merely an option, i.e. you are still entitled to get into the exam regardless of whether or not you have notified the program administration of your arrival.

A new feature in LEARN enables students to notify CBS whether or not they intend to turn up at any one specific exam that they are already signed up for. The administration estimates that this will decrease the number of no-shows and thus the students will be provided with more accurate exam schedules in relation to oral exams. 

Any examination period requires vast administrative efforts and the same time the students are eager to get their exam schedules as soon as possible.

So, in an attempt to accommodate the students without increasing the workload, the administration implemented a new arrangement in the spring semester, which enabled students enrolled in selected programs to choose their individual examination time slots via Google Sheets.

Google Sheets experiment backfired

Although the experiment was well-intended, it [understandably] provoked criticism from a large number of students, mainly because of the fact that Google Sheets allowed for students to overwrite each other’s time slots.

But the resistance from the students does not change the fact that a solution is needed as provisions in the Study Progress Reform states that binding registration for the regular, scheduled exams as well as the first round of re-exams is mandatory for all students, which has prompted a 300 percent increase in the number of re-exam registrations among first-year students.

Additionally, the number of students who choose not to turn up to exams has increased by 800 percent among undergraduates enrolled in 2014 compared to 2013 and naturally, this development has a negative financial impact on CBS as examiners are left with nothing to do but twiddling their thumbs.

New pilot project more successful

But now the administration is back on track with a new initiative; specifically a new feature in LEARN, which enables students to notify CBS whether or not they intend to turn up at any one specific exam.

- This feature makes it possible for us to ask students to inform us whether or not they intend to show up at their exams and in return we can produce more accurate exam schedules and limit the number of no-shows, says head of the Administrative Planning Unit, René Kramhøft Jakobsen.

Actually, the program administration implemented a pilot project prior to the new feature in LEARN where program secretaries – via email - encouraged students to notify them whether they intended to turn up at their re-exams.

- This initiative provided us with significantly more accurate information of the number of students we could expect at the re-exams. And if students do not reply to our mails, it is overwhelmingly likely that these students do not show up at the exams either, says René Kramhøft Jakobsen.

Exam schedules as fast as possible

The new feature in LEARN is tested in relation to exams during the fall semester and after the debacle in relation to the Google Sheets initiative, it is clear that students are interested in new, improved initiatives.

The feedback from students in relation to the experiment with Google Sheets was somewhat of a rap over the knuckles for the program administration – as René Kramhøft Jakobsen expresses it – as 64 percent of respondents in a survey said that it was a negative experience.

But despite this, 59 percent of respondents said that they would like to be able to choose from a number of time slots in relation to exams; and in the comments section several students wrote that they just want the dates of the exams to be published as soon as possible.

The new feature in LEARN can actually contribute to the latter request, but on the condition that the students actually choose to use the feature as it is just an option, not mandatory.

Student have legal claim to exams and thus CBS has no legal right to force students to reveal whether or not they intend to show up at exams they are already registered for; i.e., notification or not, students are entitled to a time slot at exams if they show up.

- Of course, we have no interest in preventing students from going to exams despite the absence of notifications, says René Kramhøft Jakobsen.

More initiatives on the way

In addition to the new feature in LEARN, CBS and the program administration are on the verge of introducing a new platform for online exams. The platform will be tested in relation to written exams during the fall semester.

CBS OBSERVER will monitor and address developments in relation to this platform, but we already know that one of the advantages of the platform is that it enables examiners to give feedback directly to students as part of the grading process.

If students hand in assignments after the deadline in the new system, the assignment is not rejected as it is in LEARN. Instead, the system will automatically start an exemption application process.

CBS OBSERVER embedded with the program administration

As part of efforts to provide insights into what it takes to administer and run exams, the program administration has invited yours truly to intern as an administrative employee during week 46, and the internship includes that CBS OBSERVER will take part in running an exam.

Thus, we apologize in advance if you experience any disturbances during your exam in week 46. However, CBS runs approximately 1,500 exams annually (including re-exams), which means that it is highly unlikely that the internship affects your particular exam.

But, during November we will publish a series of articles describing the goings-on in the engine room of the program administration, where every employee handles roughly 50 (!) exams per year – I’m already starting to sweat.