The news this week that hundreds of medical students at one of Scotland’s top universities will be forced to resit exams after a cheating scandal has sent shockwaves through the educational world. Around 270 final year students at the University of Glasgow’s medical school will have to resit after authorities uncovered evidence
of “collusion” among a small number of learners. It emerged a handful of students had shared information about the test using social media.
Examiners and IT managers have been grappling for some time with the wider challenges of moving away from paper-based exams to digital examinations, where students use a locked-down PC. There are clear efficiencies from eliminating paper but setting up a secure digital examination environment can be a challenge. One university in the Netherlands appears to have solved this issue by using an innovative and simple to use endpoint management solution from IGEL.
Hanze University is using IGEL UD Pocket, the micro universal desktop thin client, to slash its set-up time for exams. To ready a classroom for examinations the university needs to secure the desktop for exam conditions, removing internet and folder access, effectively locking down the PC. Setting up and restoring the desktops could take as long as six hours but by using IGEL UD Pocket 60 classroom desktops can now be exam-ready and then restored to classroom configuration in less than one hour.
Hanze University now has 250 IGEL UD Pocket devices for converting its classroom Windows PCs into IGEL thin client-like devices for examinations. No larger than a paper clip, they simply plug the UD pocket into the USB port of the desktop. UD Pocket enables dual boot, either to the IGEL Universal Desktop or to the local operating system on the PC, laptop or any compatible 64-bit x86-based endpoint device. One installed, the device becomes much easier to configure and lockdown with a few simple mouse clicks using the automatically integrated IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) software. Once the exam is over, the IT administrator can simply reboot from the local OS and return the PC to the usual classroom desktop.
Following Hanze University’s lead, the widespread use of IGEL UD Pocket to quickly set-up secure exam rooms and then return them to classrooms could be a simple way forward for many universities.