Testing Large Numbers Simultaneously with BYOD


Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is flexible, secure and easy to upscale. With Schoolyear, the University of Applied Sciences Inholland found a solution to costly IT management and maintenance of computer rooms for digital testing. “We encountered Schoolyear’s Safe Exam Workspace at an Dutch EdTech Startup event,” says Derk Riesthuis, project manager at Inholland. He supervised the Schoolyear project and is dedicated to change.

Key takeaways

  • Flexible and quick to implement
  • Fraud prevention instead of screen surveillance
  • Frees up space: fewer PCs needed

What’s unique about Inholland is its proximity to local communities. With 9 locations, this university of applied sciences is always close to its 25,000 students. In the past, lots of hardware was maintained to support digital testing on multiple locations. Now Inholland uses the BYOD solution for digital testing, which has resulted in significant savings on the IT management of computer rooms. Schoolyear secures the process of BYOD digital testing.  

Strong preference for the Safe Exam Workspace by Schoolyear

What started with a pilot is – after 1.5 years – fully integrated, with Schoolyear securing digital testing on BYOD.  

Other solutions were also tested. Safe Exam Browser was not stable enough. It is an open-source solution, which is both an asset and a downfall since there was no point of contact for resolving issues. Bootable USB sticks, a method of booting an operating system on a USB stick, were a drama logistically. With many different locations, too many USB sticks were needed and the distribution and updating were too complicated.

The Safe Exam Workspace solves the issues that occur with surveillance during exams. This is done by automatically preventing cheating and not by monitoring screens which is subject to error. On their own devices, students can only access the content of the exam. No access to other websites and applications is possible within this timeframe. Surveillance has become much more doable.  

Before the introduction of the Safe Exam Workspace, lots of eyes were needed to make sure students didn’t use search engines, chat apps, notes or email.  

On our computer labs the internet was still accessible during exams for example. Requiring testing in smaller groups with more surveillance. This was labour intensive.

Downscaling of computer labs

With the introduction of BYOD Inholland not only downscaled the capacity of computer labs and staff workload, at the same time the institution could upscale the number of digital tests. Resulting in a win-win situation.  

Derk explains: “We proceed with a digital test to be completed by 700 students simultaneously at 1 location. We know we are able to handle large amounts of students on several locations, but on 1 location, that’s a whole different story. In theory it would even be possible with 1,000 participants. It’s all very exciting, and a lot of organisation is needed, but I enjoy the adventure immensely.”  

A few computer labs are still maintained. When students have trouble with BYOD during a digital test, which only happens rarely, they are sent to the computer lab. "We have decided upon this as back-up, instead of lending laptops. This is a hybrid situation that works for us,” Derk says.

To guide the use of Schoolyear and digital testing in general, Inholland gives a lot of attention to communication. “We made an instruction map and asked them to check if their laptops follow the requirements. Our aim is mostly that students do the available Schoolyear device check.”

Detecting fraud

With Schoolyear, Inholland was able to detect a significant case of fraud. Derk describes what happened: “We had the suspicion of a fraudulent situation in which someone else made a digital test for a student. But we couldn’t prove it. But Schoolyear did. You could prove the suspected fraud.”

At Inholland, students and staff experienced how easy and accessible it is to work with Schoolyear. “It is an application you can gather and run the next day. The product and service match our expectations and we have high hopes for the future.”  

Successfully working with innovative young companies

Working with innovative young companies is not alien to Inholland. “At the moment we collaborate with 5 very different startups. We believe it is a must to do so, when aiming to move forward in educational tooling.” Inholland came into contact with Schoolyear at an EdTech event, where startups are given the opportunity to promote their product.

Schoolyear invests a lot in collaborating with schools and universities. Both to establish mutual partnerships and to speed up innovation.

“My experience with Schoolyear is that the team is flexible and acts swiftly. It comes along with solutions and lots of energy. Schoolyear is a big name as well. From the Dutch Special Interest Group Digital Testing through our own IT departments, everyone knows it.”

Wim Graas
CEO Schoolyear

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