Exams over WLAN?

It may just be possible!


Last Friday (22 May 2015), thanks to lecturer and study coordinator Dr. Roland Müller, first year D-HEST students could take part in a mock exam as a preparation for the real exam in August. This exam has been done at the computer for several years now. Long ago, when we planned this, people would warn us that the WLAN may crash and that (many) other problems would occur. This did not scare us! 🙂

Key numbers:

  • 160 students with their own devices (133 computers and 27 tablets)
  • moodle exam (not too complex, mostly kprime and text questions)
  • 4 access points (HPH G1 standard installation)

We also instructed everybody to switch every other device they had brought along onto airplane mode or to switch them off. At the beginning, I helped three students to get onto a wireless network, and one student had real problems with his laptop. Stephan Walder from ID NET oversaw the traffic and found out a few irregularities. For example, one access point took over half of the clients, and the other three access points shared the rest. The mock exam went on smoothly and students worked in absolute silence. It was a wonderful experience.

Doing exams with portable devices may further:

  • flexibility (especially with rooms)
  • hand drawing capabilities
  • silence! (in contrast to the keyboards in the computer rooms which are incredibly loud)

It is not planned to go into BYOD for real exams but the use of tablets or portable computers for ‘exams at the computer’ may well be in the near future at ETH Zurich.