5 February 2021 - Digital TeachingNew Moodle Environment for Digital Examinations

Many students and instructors will be facing the challenge of taking/offering digital exams at the end of the semester. In order to simplify this process, the university has set up a separate Moodle environment to be used exclusively for examinations, independent of the teaching platform.

A student taking a digital multiple choice exam

Access to the examination environment via VPN

The new Moodle instance will be available at the following URL (https://exam.moodle.uni-heidelberg.de). Instructors as well as students can only get access to the examination environment in the Heidelberg University internal network through a VPN (Virtual Private Network). To this end, they can use the free VPN client Cisco AnyConnect.
All students and employees of the university with an active teaching position have access through their Uni-ID.

New effective examination environment for secure administration of exams

The exam environment will be kept intentionally streamlined and will contain only the most important plugins, e.g. there will be no connection to heiCAST. This is to ensure that the environment is as stable and secure as possible during the exam periods, when many examinees and examiners will be accessing the system.

Possible electronic examination options

The Moodle examination platform can be used for written exams. Due to its high performance independent from the existing teaching platform, the platform offers the ability to conduct various examination scenarios in an environment that is as stable and secure as possible.
Instructors can find concrete suggestions for various exam scenarios in the Moodle course "Anleitungen & Tipps Online Lehre" (German). The possible exam scenarios fall within the category of non-supervised open-book exams.
To set up an exam, instructors need to have the disseminator role, as they do on the Moodle learning platform. All disseminator roles on the Moodle learning platform will also apply to the new examination platform.

Recommendations for implementation

  • Observe legal requirements
    The university has regulated the scope for conducting exams in the Supplementary Examination Regulations (Ergänzenden Prüfungsordnung, EPO). A handout on this is available on the Heidelberg University homepage (German). Solutions are currently being developed to safeguard the legally required option to archive in the examination environment.  
  • Limit number of people per exam room
    For larger courses with more than 50 students, make sure to set up multiple exam rooms so that no more than 30-40 students use the same room for each exam.
  • Access key for examination rooms
    Students will be given access to their respective examination rooms by means of an access key, which will be provided by the instructors, e.g. via the corresponding course on the Moodle teaching platform.
  • Plan alternatives and offer them, if necessary
    To ensure equal opportunity, students who cannot access the platform, e.g. due to a lack of technical equipment or stable internet connection, or those who refuse to take a digital exam must also be given the opportunity to sit the exam. One alternative could be allowing the students to pick up the exam papers at the examination office and to return them to the office after completion . Should there be any difficulties in downloading or uploading the exams on the Moodle platform, the exam could also be disseminated, for example, through email or with heiBOX (e.g. via upload and download links).
  • Move already prepared exams to the examination platform
    If you have already set up an exam on the Moodle learning platform, it is recommended to migrate the exam to the new examination environment. The open course "Moodle-Migration" (German) contains an instruction video for migration of Moodle courses.

You can find further recommendations and concrete tips for instructors in the Moodle course "Anleitungen & Tipps Online-Lehre" (German).