19948 Remote supervision of exams

Remote supervision of exams

The guidelines apply to video and/or microphone supervision of exams taken outside the campus and other interactive learning evaluation situations held over the Internet. Where applicable, the guidelines can also be used in other similar situations.

Instructions for teachers and exam organisers
  1. Consider the following before deciding on the use of remote supervision
    • Check what is stated in the curriculum on the evaluation method for the course. The exam format must be specified in the course description. If remote supervision of exams is not mentioned in the course description, the use of remote supervision requires changing the curriculum. The Dean or, if so decided, the Vice Dean of the faculty has the authority to change a curriculum during the academic year.
    • Think about whether remote supervision of the exam is necessary. Can the achievement of learning objectives and competence be verified or evaluated by other means without real-time remote supervision, such as with an open-book exam that requires the ability to apply skills and knowledge? It may also be helpful to discuss the evaluation method with students.
      For more advice, contact servicedesk@uef.fi
      You can also write to the address in questions related to remote exams.
    • If you decide to use remote supervision, please note that it must be implemented using every means to protect students’ privacy and collect as little personal data as possible. The teacher in charge of the course assesses on a case-by-case basis which implementation method is suitable in the situation while acknowledging the above. For help in making the assessment, contact servicedesk@uef.fi.
  2. Use the digital services of the University of Eastern Finland for remote supervision: Zoom (Funet Meet) or UEF O365 Teams.
    • The maximum number of participants in a remotely supervised exam is 100 students. To ensure the privacy of personal data, however, the recommended number of participants is significantly lower than this.
  3. Students cannot be required to attend a remotely supervised exam from their home or another private location chosen by the student. At the student’s request, an alternative method for taking the exam that does not involve remote supervision and treats students equally must be offered. Plan the alternative method for taking the exam ahead of time. Whenever permitted by COVID-19 restrictions, students should be given the option to take the remotely supervised exam on the university’s premises. Another option is to consider organising the exam using other electronic exam systems.
    Any alternative method must also treat students equally. In other words, all students must be given a chance to take the exam within roughly the same period of time, such as by the end of the period.
    Note that students belonging to an at-risk group must be able to take the exam in a way that does not require attendance in person on the campus.
  4. Give students clear information well ahead of time on how the course will be evaluated. Inform them of at least the following:
    • Students have the right to request an alternative method for evaluating the course.
    • Students also have the right to discontinue remote supervision for unexpected personal reasons, for example. In such cases, the student can turn off the webcam, for example. If this happens, the exam may be failed.
    • Inform students ahead of time as clearly as possible and in writing whether the remote supervision will involve a video or audio connection, phone call, supervision through the use of activity or log data or something else.
    • Inform students of the type of Internet connection, device and environment required for the exam.
    • Advise students to choose a place for taking the exam that contains as few personal details as possible.
    • Clearly inform the students if they are required to share their camera with other students due to the way the exam is organised (such as a group exam).
    • Tell students which devices, applications, materials or other aids they are allowed to use during the exam.
    • Inform students about who will supervise the exam.
    • Protect the supervised exam with a password. The password is sent to students’ UEF email address.
    • Inform the students that if they want, they can use a virtual background offered by the electronic service.
  5. The exam supervisors must be assigned in advance and their names shared with the students. Access to the exam must be restricted by a password, for example. In Zoom, this can also be done by granting permissions to join the meeting when creating the meeting.
  6. Supervisors are permitted to check students’ proof of identity in a remote exam. The need for proof of identity and the verification method are assessed on a case by case basis. As a rule, information related to identity verification is not stored.
    • If it necessary to verify students’ identity, this can be done by any of the following means, using a secure connection and after ensuring that access to the information is restricted:
      • require students to login to the remotely supervised exam with their personal username and password
      • use some other means of identification other than a personal identity code (such as student number or student card)
      • make a phone call during the video call to verify the student’s identity
      • require that students show proof of ID to the camera during the meeting. In this case, you must use the breakout rooms command or some other method that allows students to identify themselves privately
    • Students’ identity may not be verified by any means necessary. For example, don’t ask students to email you a copy of their passport. Treat students equally when verifying their identity.
    • In situations where a face mask is used, assess the method for verifying identity on a case by case basis.
  7. Implementing remote exam supervision
    • If remote supervision is necessary, this should be done in a way that ensures the smallest threat to privacy and collects the least amount of personal data. For example, consider whether it is necessary to monitor students via webcam or if it is sufficient to use screen sharing. Requiring students to present their face, voice and home environment collects more personal data than simply sharing the student’s desktop during the exam without audio. On the other hand, screen sharing may expose students’ personal information.
    • The general principle is that students cannot see each other’s video feeds.
    • Do not save students’ video or audio feeds.
    • Exam answers are confidential information , and students may not be allowed to see each other’s answers during the exam.
  8.  Suspicions of cheating and other abnormalities during a remote exam are handled according to the standard procedure for academic fraud.
    • Apply the university’s guidelines on cases of academic fraud and abnormalities
    • If it is necessary to review log data or otherwise investigate the suspected fraud after the exam using data collected by remote supervision, this must be done in accordance with the university’s guidelines and principles of good governance.
    • In the event of an abnormality during a remotely supervised exam (such as a general connection failure, disruption in the supervisor’s connection or electronic system, outsiders joining the supervised exam), the exam supervisor decides whether the remotely supervised exam can be continued after the situation has been resolved as in a normal exam. User activity data and log data may be processed to investigate the abnormality in accordance with UEF’s log policy.
    • In the event of suspected cheating during the exam, the supervisor may take a screenshot of the incident for later investigation.
    • Students have the right to discontinue supervision (by turning off their webcam, for example), but doing this may result in failing the exam.
Instructions for students
  1. The university supervises exams in order to ensure that students are treated equally. In supervising exams, the university may use live video or the login, activity and log data collected by the digital system.
  2. Your identity will be verified when taking the exam.
  3. If you are taking the exam in a location of your choosing, participating in remote supervision is voluntary. By participating in remote supervision, you agree to the terms of the supervision, such as that you must keep your webcam turned on. You have the right to discontinue the supervision during the exam for unexpected personal reasons, for example, but this may cause you to fail the exam.
  4. If you refuse to agree to voluntary remote supervision for privacy reasons or lack of a suitable device, for example, the university will arrange for you to take the exam under remote supervision in a public space or by some other alternative means.
    Individual arrangements
    Instructions for students who are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19: course arrangements for the autumn term 2020
  5. Students are responsible for the functioning of their Internet connection, applications and devices
  6. Personal data are processed in accordance with the university’s data protection and security policies
    Processing of personal data (in finnish)
    Information security guidelines (sign in UEF account)
    Information security policy (sign in UEF account)
  7. Your teacher will provide more information about other details of the exam.
  8. For more information about remote supervision in general, contact servicedesk@uef.fi.
Key provisions governing remotely supervised exams
  • Under the Universities Act, education, teaching and granting of degrees are part of a university’s statutory duties. Universities must organise their activities in a manner that ensures a high international standard in research and education in conformity with research integrity and good scientific practice. Universities Act (Sections 2, 6 and 7)
  • Students’ skills and knowledge may be evaluated by means of a written or oral examination or other similar study assignment. For details, see the Study Regulations
  • The lawful bases for remote exam supervision and related processing of personal data are compliance with a legal obligation and exercise of official authority (EU GDPR Article 6(1)(c) and 6(1)(e)).
  • The exam supervisor is bound by professional secrecy regarding any personal circumstances of exam participants that the supervisor may learn while performing actions related to the processing of personal data (Data Protection Act 1050/2018, Section 35). Exam answers are confidential documents (Act on the Openness of Government Activities, Section 24(1), paragraph 30).