This article is a supplement to the Implementation Guide and provides information about IT infrastructure and tips on how to prepare test takers for the first live exam.
- IT infrastructure
- Preparing and informing test takers
Conducting digital examinations requires the setup of both physical and digital infrastructure to ensure that exams run smoothly. During the project, it is important to evaluate your IT infrastructure to ensure that it meets the necessary requirements. The requirements are dependent on your scope, such as the number of students, use of lock-down browser, and whether you aim to use your own computer labs or have examinations using a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy.
Inspera Assessment supports the following devices:
- PC (Windows)
- Mac (macOS)
- iPad (iOS)
- Chromebook (Chrome OS)
- Linux (Ubuntu)
Lock-down and web browsers
For full information on requirements for lock-down browsers and web browsers, please see System requirements.
Inspera Assessment can be used without a lock-down browser by allowing access to specified destinations through the whitelisting feature in the firewall. The firewall can be configured to block all resources other than the DNS name Inspera Assessment uses. Inspera provides a list of DNS names (10-12 depending on the services used) that can be whitelisted. In addition, the whitelisted destinations must be added to the firewall. See also the List of DNS names article.
Physical infrastructure for onsite exams
Power consumption levels differ depending upon the type of device in use. In the planning phase, it is important to take into account which scenarios you initially want to support along with what might be desirable in the future. When desktop PCs are used as clients, each examination seat must be equipped with two sockets. In other cases, one socket per seat will suffice. With ad-hoc infrastructure solutions, it is important that the power distribution scheme complies with electrical installation regulations.
The following figures may be used to budget power consumption:
|Client type||Power consumption budget||Number of clients per 10A circuit||Number of clients per 16A circuit|
|Desktop with screen||200 W||10||15|
|Laptop PC||100 W||20||30|
|VDI client||50 W||40||60|
When calculating bandwidth needs for the examination hall, the contents of the exam and the choice of task type will affect the bandwidth needs. For example; tasks involving use of video will involve greater bandwidth than plain text. The network traffic will wax and wane, with the heaviest traffic occurring when the examinees start their exams, and in the finishing phase. During the exam, the traffic will be somewhat lighter.
The following figures may be used for budgeting bandwidth (uplink):
|Client type||Typical client connection capacity||Number of clients per 100Mbit uplink||Number of clients per 1Gbit uplink|
|Desktop PC (wired), open book exam||1Gbit||50||250|
|Desktop PC, wired), closed book exam||1Gbit||100||500|
|Laptop PC (wired), open book exam||1Gbit||50||250|
|Laptop PC (wired), closed book exam||1Gbit||1000||500|
|Laptop PC (wireless), open exam||802.11ac up to 866Mbit||50 per base, 2 bases minimum||250|
|Laptop PC (wireless), closed book exam||802.11ac up to 866Mbit||50 per base, 2 bases minimum||250|
|VDI client||100 Mbit||25||200|
|Tablet||802.11ac up to 160Mbit||50 per base, 2 bases minimum||250|
- For desktop computers owned by the institution, the spare-equipment factor should be 5%
- For laptop PCs owned by the institution, the spare-equipment factor should be 5%
- For BYOD equipment for test takers, the spare-equipment factor should be 10%
Infrastructure for desktop computers
A desktop computer with a large screen, set up by the institution, should be permanently set up with:
- Screen, usually between 20” and 27” in size
- Ergonomically correct full-size keyboard
- Ergonomic mouse
- Updated software
|Pros of desktop computers||Cons of desktop computers|
Requirements for BYOD (onsite and home exams)
- Initially limit BYOD to Macintosh and Windows laptops.
- Have an adequate service and support apparatus standing by, so that the test takers can get help if the equipment is not working.
- In the beginning, a considerable need for borrowing equipment is to be expected. It is recommended that at least a 10% reserve of spare equipment to be purchased.
- Proven compatibility with the eduroam wireless network (cf. UFS 127) is required
- Equipment that keeps starting and stopping the network interface to save power, or similar, should not be used.
- Drivers on the computers should be updated
- BYOD equipment should have the appropriate keyboard or language, e.g. English. Otherwise, borrowed (spare) equipment must be used.
- The computers should have an appropriate version of the operating system.
- The computers should have an appropriate version and type of browser, compatible with the software used for conducting exams.
- Draw up a proposal for recommended equipment.
- Get a signed statement from the test taker that his/her own equipment has been verified, that eduroam works and that a test exam has been held without problems.
If the test taker does not possess a suitable computer and has to borrow one, consider placing all test takers that are borrowing computers in a suitable room. Distributing borrowed devices in various exam locations and test sittings is a significant amount of work.
For exams and tests conducted in locations with no internet connection, Inspera’s offline delivery solution ensures the safe and smooth delivery of an unlimited number of tests.
The secure offline package is downloaded in advance for each test sitting and distributed to each learner workstation with a memory stick or similar. The package can only be decrypted using a password available exclusively to Planners, and on devices with a proper certificate installed. Once decrypted and opened on the learner computer, test takers assigned to the test can log in, take the exam and save their submission as a local file. The submissions are collected using memory stick or similar, and batch uploaded after the exam has been carried out. Submissions are then available on the Inspera platform as regular online submissions.
- How to save submission as file and upload offline submission
- Loss of internet - Inspera Exam Portal and Smarter Proctoring
The offline package
The offline package generated by the Planner and downloaded by the Chief Invigilator, is run in Safe Exam Browser or Inspera Exam Portal, and contains:
- The Assessment Player (test taker application)
- The Question set (exam paper)
- Media files used in the question set
- Learner Ids and Login credentials (only learners assigned to the test session when the package is downloaded can access the test)
- Invigilator password
The offline packages are double encrypted with X.509 identity on the outside and AES 256 on the inside, offering strong content protection.
For online exams where BYOD equipment is used, it is important that the exam requires only minimal installed software: ideally speaking, just a wireless network (cf. UFS 112) and a lock-down browser.
A standard procedure during an exam, is for the test taker to use a software called a lock-down browser, to restrict access to other software and local files on their computer. The only accessible content is the exam and any pre-determined resources/software. This is considered an important approach to prevent the possibility for cheating.
Preparing and informing test takers
A new assessment environment can be an extra source of stress for test takers on their exam day. We therefore recommend that test takers are prepared in good time prior to taking their assessments with Inspera Assessment.
Introducing test takers to digital exams
Test takers should be informed about any changes, the purpose of the changes, the implications for the test taker and any actions they need to take regarding these changes. The best approach is often to provide the information multiple times, in a range of formats, over a prolonged period. The more preparation, the better. Information can be provided through a combination of the classroom, emails, test taker information system, and more.
Demo tests in Inspera Assessment
Test takers should also be able to familiarise themselves with the new tool, i.e. Inspera Assessment. This can be achieved through the creation of demo tests, where all test takers can try the relevant functionality and question types.
A demo test can also be used to test that the test taker’s devices meet the system requirements. You can create multiple demo test with different purposes, e.g. one with Safe Exam Browser (SEB) / Inspera Exam Portal (IEP) and one without.
For more information about demo tests, see the article Create a demo test.