Online Exams (Part 1)

Business School

Online Exams Series (Part One)  – What are they?

By Dr Victoria Clout (School of Accounting, UNSW Sydney)


Welcome to the world of online exams! This is the first article in a series of three to get you ready for online exams. This article will take you through two common online exam varieties you may encounter in your UNSW Business School course. Online exams come in lots of different varieties. Here are two of the most common types of online exams, deployed via Moodle, that you may face in your course:

  • An open-book, open-internet take-home exam where you have either an extended or shorter duration to answer questions (e.g. ranging between 24 hours to 2 hours)
  • A closed-book, webcam video recorded invigilated exam (e.g. through Examity AI).
What are they?

Open-book, open-internet take-home exam
Let’s consider the first type of exam. It would be shown to you using a quiz link or some template to download. You would be given the parameters for how long you have to complete your exam. You can have your notes and also the internet is open to access. Remember the usual conditions about academic integrity apply where any sources you quote or where appropriate referencing should be used. The exam would be typically deployed to you on the course Moodle site. You would have a set period to complete the exam and sometimes within set parameters, e.g. you get 2 hours within a 24-hour period to complete the exam. 

A closed-book, webcam video recorded invigilated exam
Now let’s consider the second type of exam. The closed-book exam with a webcam. This video recording would be performed by via a webcam and the video footage is examined later on by artificial intelligence (AI) such as Examity AI. What is Examity AI? This invigilation is not a human watching you during the exam but rather Examity will be using AI to view the footage of you sitting the final exam and also your computer screen just like a human invigilator would under a normal exam. This AI will flag any potential irregularities in a photo of you taking the exam, such as two people in the photo if you leave the computer for an extended period of time (5 minutes is allowed for a toilet break) if you looking off to the side of the webcam for a long duration, another person switching places with you when you are undertaking the exam. The footage that is flagged for a human to check on the video recording of your final exam. This video recording is encrypted and will not be provided to any third parties. Examity AI will ask you for only two pieces of information: 

  1. It will take a photo of your student ID card; and 
  2. It will ask for a phone/mobile number which is to be used  only in the very rare event of an emergency of you getting disconnected from Examity AI and the final exam. This phone number would be phoned to check if you are ok and log the technical incident so you could later rely on this information to apply for Special Consideration.

There are three reasons why a course Lecturer-in-Charge would choose to use Examity AI: 

  1. It ensures the integrity of the final exam is preserved because you are completing your own final exam by yourself. You are using your own course learned knowledge to answer the questions. 
  2. Equality is preserved as all students participate under equal exam conditions. 
  3. In order to ensure that this course remains accredited by the professional bodies. This ensures that for students who are seeking to become a professional accountant you will continue to be eligible for entry to either of the two professional bodies programs. 

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