Software developed in Carlisle could transform how exams are taken in the future

Software developed in Carlisle could transform how exams are taken in the future 
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A piece of software developed as a result of the pandemic that allows people to take exams in the comfort of their own homes has moved beyond pilot stage and is now being used by five universities, including the University of Cumbria.

The handy piece of software downloads to a smart phone and allows the safe and secure invigilation of online exams, which have become more commonplace as a result the pandemic.

The Sn@p Invigilation Centre allows universities to monitor each student’s activity on their computers as well as using their mobile phone to give a view of them sat at their desks working on an exam.

Developed by the Health and Education Co-operative, based in Carlisle, the non-profit co-operative was initially set up to create an online training resource for the NHS.

However when the pandemic hit, the problem of how universities were going to administer exams online came to the fore and so the idea for the software was born.

The pilot was tested at the University of Cumbria predominately with healthcare students and student nurses, who were able to qualify and complete their regulated studies because of the system.

Some of the participants were resitting numeracy and prescribing qualifications under lockdown.

Positive feedback from the students involved in the pilot included the ability to practise revision questions within the software and how being able to take exams from home saved a tremendous amount of travel time for what would have been a 30 minute assessment on campus.

Joanna Tate, Chief Officer at the Health and Education Co-operative is seconded to the cooperative from the University of Cumbria where she worked in the business development team.

She said: “The system is now established in Salford, Bolton universities and the University of Cumbria with pilots running in the Universities of Chester and Central Lancashire.

“It is also being used to support student recruitment, so we’re aware that the software has a wide range of applications. We’re looking to expand its use into other higher education institutions or course sectors where this level of verification is required or makes a difference.”

For the University of Cumbria, this software supports its current position of blended learning by which its healthcare students and students on specialist or practical courses receive a mixture of face to face and online learning.

Carleen Hawkins, senior lecturer, at the University of Cumbria said; “This development although necessary to adapt to the current restrictions in place at universities has brought with it many positives that will allow students more flexibility when studying with us.”

Joanna and her team’s hard work has paid off as Sn@p Assessment and Education has recently been commended in the ‘most innovative use’ category of the BlueJeans by Verizon customer awards.

Further information about the BlueJeans by Verizon customer awards can be found their website