UNE began implementing online examinations (OLX) in 2017 – well ahead of the mass pivot of the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on our expertise as Australia’s leading online university, we have developed an approach that uses the affordances of digital platforms to meet student needs and maximise student experience, rather than replicating paper-based practice in the online environment. This has positioned us as a leader in the sector through 2020 and 2021, and we are often called on to share expertise and advise other institutions.

In a recent instance of this, the Exams and eAssessment team attended the DataBee Exams Manager User Group – a community of practice that spans most universities in Australia and New Zealand. The team was one of only two universities presenting, with Angela Moon showcasing our flexible exam scheduling approach and 24-hour availability model. This practice is unique in a sector largely still scheduling exams during business hours, and UNE’s leadership in this area was applauded.

Also unique in the sector is our integrated Digital Education team created through Time for Change – rather than isolating it as an administrative area, UNE co-locates OLX leadership and management with the Learning Environments, Learning Design and Learning Media teams, allowing a team-based approach to process and practice design and the emergence of innovative practice.

Drawing on the affordances of this structure, Digital Education have now launched a collaborative project (OLXi) across the four teams to streamline processes and practices and embed further sector-leading assessment design as OLX becomes business-as-usual for UNE. We’ll initially be focusing on standardising workflows, easing pain points and building capability, then looking ahead to innovative practices like rich media integration and untethering exams from a scheduled period to maximise flexibility and open up possibilities for formative assessment.

Next on Digital Education’s OLX radar is the Exams Network conference in September, where a cross-team contingent is looking forward to sharing practice with and learning from colleagues in the sector and further consolidating UNE’s position as a leader in OLX and eAssessment.

For more information on OLX, contact Kylie Day, Manager, Exams and eAssessment (kday3@une.edu.au).