ExamOnline is a new system being introduced to support the electronic presentation of essay or short-answer examinations.

ExamOnline logo

Candidate submissions are entered via a secure and intuitive word-processing interface and can be exported to PDF for offline marking.

See for yourself…

Have a look at the Intelligent Assessment website for more information/video clips, etc.

Why use it?

  • May provide a more satisfactory and relevant exam experience for an increasingly digitally-literate student population,
  • who predominantly only writing extensively by hand in examinations
  • Familiar word processing format: input of information; cut and paste; basic formatting
  • Will support hand-drawn sketches/diagrams and calculations
  • Autosaves students' work and is tolerant to network/server outages
  • Paper-free efficient marking; no indecipherable hand writing to deal with

Who can use it?

Any member of academic staff.

Who to contact?

Initial enquiries to the Assess Team to discuss requirements.

Staff training

Is delivered in a number of ways:

  • InspirED programme of workshops and seminars
  • Group training tailored for specific schools/departments
  • One-to-one sessions as required

What service to expect from us

  • Creation of assessments from a word document provided by you
  • Administrative support to make assessments available to students throughout semester as required
  • Troubleshooting with staff and students for the above

What is expected from you

This ensures that the preparative work for the assessment can be completed. Receipt of the form will be acknowledged and the academic staff member in charge should take action if acknowledgement is not received.

  • To take responsibility for all logistical arrangements (booking of appropriate venue etc) and exam invigilation

Benefits for inclusive learning and teaching

Exam Online can offer particular benefits to enhance inclusion for disabled students and other students who may encounter learning difficulties, by:

  • Allowing students with mobility impairments to take an exam in a convenient and accessible place
  • Allowing students with visual impairments to customise the appearance of the exam script to suit their own reading needs
  • Allowing students who are blind to have exam scripts read to them by their screen reading technology or output via a Braille display
  • Allowing students with reading difficulties relating to conditions such as dyslexia to customise the appearance of the exam script and their answers to suit their own reading needs, or use text-to-speech technology to listen to scripts and answers
  • Allowing students with physical impairments to use their preferred input device (for example speech recognition software or a switching device)

Accessibility limitations of Exam Online

This section provides specific advice on ensuring that disabled students can benefit from the use of Exam Online, while providing guidance on avoiding introducing potential accessibility barriers.

  • The design of the login process does not appear to be optimised for screen reader users, but it is possible for them to log in
    • Tab focus of log in procedure is inconsistent and may be confusing. On confirmation screen, tab focus is on a button labelled "Start Again", but to complete the log in process, a candidate has to tab to the "I confirm these are my details" box, check it, and return to the original button which is now labelled "Login"
  • Display customisation is possible but limited:
    • There is some limitation to the extent to which a user can customise the display of the main Exam Online web site (not including the test interface), using a user-defined style sheet, to suit their own display needs
    • There is a separate interface for the actual exam itself, which does include some functionality for customising appearance:
      1. Two text resize buttons, to enlarge and decrease text size respectively
      2. A button to toggle through a selection of background colours - there is no indication of the colour choices or option to directly choose one
      3. A button to toggle through a selection of text colours - apparently limited to blue and black
    • It appears that this customisation functionality is only available once a test is started
  • The updating clock could potentially cause accessibility issues for screen reader users depending on how time notifications are reported
  • Keyboard access appeared to be very limited on first glance, but then seemed to improve:
    • In tests (Firefox 12 on Windows XP), could be tabbed to limited components of a page, but could not be consistently activated (more testing would be needed to diagnose when keyboard access is possible and when it is not):
      1. Previous and Next buttons
    • It did not seem possible to consistently use the keyboard to navigate to the following components:
      1. Page display customisation controls
      2. Links to specific sections of the test
      3. Links within the content of the text itself
    • There are no reported keyboard shortcuts that could be used to support navigation.
  • The use of frames to present content introduces multiple scrolling and could lead to disorientation amongst some students, particularly those with low vision who may find it difficult to understand what they are looking at
  • The demands on scrolling may also increase physical effort required to interact with the system

Using Exam Online in an inclusive way

Since instructors do not currently have responsibility for authoring exams in the Exam online system, authoring best practice
should be limited to following general best practice in authoring examination texts.

Ongoing support

Email our ongoing support email Assess

Terms of use