Education

Victoria University Conducts Successful Online Proctored Exams amid Covid Lockdown

This Photo courtesy of Victoria University shows a student interacting on the University's VClass digital platform (Photo: VU Media)

As various universities remain stranded during the Covid-19 pandemic with no lectures and or assessments going on, Victoria University Kampala, the technologically-enabled university has significantly enabled continuity of e-classes supported with an in-house built state-of-the-art Learning Management System (LMS) environment (The VClass), which comes with a smart VClass Examination Integrity Software (VEIS), something that has made ‘anytime-anywhere assessment’ possible.

Through this software, an extended digital assessment module of its VClass Digital Campus, the university successfully conducted its first phase of the online end-of-semester proctored exams registering a 99% success rate.

According to Dr. Lawrence Muganga, the Vice-Chancellor, the VEIS system is thoughtfully crafted to allow students of various disciplines to have their semester exams done successfully and it supports both open and non-open book types of examination. The VEIS system provides students with:

i) Online Questions and Online Answer sheets – which a candidate can access and fill or complete online,
ii) The download and attach or upload your answer sheet type of exam; where a candidate can download the digital answer sheets and questions and then uploaded to the VEIS system, and
iii) Hybrid type; which involves both online answer sheets and downloadable attachments.

Asked how the system supervises students to avoid cheating, Dr. Muganga explains that; “When a student sits for an exam, the artificial intelligence guided software that is built into the examination system, begins to monitor the students’ movement, time spent on the exam, tracks facial recognition, blacks out any background tasks and browsers and reports any suspicious attempt to leave the computer; till the exam is finished. ”After the set time, it locks itself and automatically delivers what the student has answered.”

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The VC noted that despite being an online-based exam, “the system fully adheres to the standard of grading and assessment as per the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) guidelines, and therefore the final mark is consolidated from the continuous assessments, course works and these exams and then this final mark is awarded after a student defends their submitted online answers.”

“This defense is coordinated and conducted by Victoria University staff via online, still using the VClass Learning Management System and not Zoom or Google Meet as is the case with many institutions. The element of having students to defend their work is another required additional level of ensuring examination integrity.” He emphasized.

Victoria University’s VClass digital interface (at www.vclass.ac)

Some of the students, including prominent celebrities who sat for these proctored exams, say the experience with VClass e-learning and examinations has been an impressive challenge that has given them a new interactive learning environment and a remarkable assessment approach as far as university learning is concerned.

“Online learning has been a wonderful experience of course with some challenges but which I believe can be worked upon. I think VClass will add a lot of value to my learning, given the fact that even the world outside school requires these computing skills. It is the only way to go currently,” says Siya David, a student pursuing Higher Education Certificate in Biological Science.

Kirabo Michelle, an aspirant for Guild Presidency and second-year student pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and Media Studies says with time, the online examination will catchup countrywide, but the initiative taken by Victoria University to be the first institution with successful proctored exams is a huge boost to the education sector in the country.

“I guess it will. I’ve only used it for my first few exams and not studying. With a little touch of perfection, I hope we’ll leave VU as a different breed since the system uniquely shapes our mindset in such a way that our intellect, IQ, and knowledge will be better off compared to the normal traditional handwritten exams which gave zero computing skills to students,” she says.

Victoria University becomes the first University in Uganda to successfully have online proctored examinations done successfully, laying a foundation for many other universities to benchmark on. The Proctored Examination Integrity software is the future and it only makes sense to implement it now to avoid being left behind.


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