TU Delft

Swift adoption of Bring Your Own Device by students, staff and invigilators


Increased fairness, shorter review cycles and simultaneous testing are all supported by digital testing. Mathematics students at TU Delft have quickly adapted to this new mode of working, as did the academic staff and invigilators. The university needed a solution for secure testing, since online surveillance with an online proctoring solution – as used previously – became forbidden. “Our first digital exam using Schoolyear with 900 students ran flawlessly”, Dennis den Ouden says.

Key takeaways

  • Easy to install and use
  • Testing with many students
  • Innovation with future options

TU Delft is one of the four technical universities in the Netherlands. It is also the oldest and largest. Some classes have 10 to 20 new students each year, others over a 100. There’s a significant variety in numbers amongst the different subjects. Mathematics comprises over 900 students and is the first department to partner with Schoolyear on digital exams. Dennis den Ouden is university lecturer in mathematics and assigned with the task to roll-out digital examination within the institution.

Advantages of digital examination

“The pace at which the university transitioned from exams on paper to digital testing increased. And we needed a solution that was both secure and worked with larger numbers of students.”

The student base at TU Delft is growing. This comes with challenges as the computer lab capacity at the university is limited.  

Digital testing started during the covid pandemic. Going back to normal, the initial thought was to return to paper. However, soon advantages of digital testing became apparent and it was embraced again.  

Digital testing could be completed with fewer teachers, and review cycles became much shorter. From three weeks in the paper era to one week, or even 3 days as it currently stands.

Transition moved quickly with The Safe Exam Workspace from Schoolyear

Some adjustments had to be made. For example, remote online surveillance – as used during the forced homestay – was not allowed anymore due to the university’s privacy restrictions. The search for a secure solution for digital testing began.  

The limited capacity of fixed PCs doesn’t allow for testing large numbers of students. There’s a computer lab with 320 PCs, and then some smaller rooms with around 120 devices. And they get fully booked quickly. There’s a mathematics class of 900. So in this situation, digital testing would only be possible using multiple locations and batches. This is a lot of hassle and leads to pressure.

When using computer labs, PCs need to be set up in exam mode. This is done manually and requires valuable time of staff and teachers. Consider that one by one, each PC must be switched from regular classroom mode to exam mode.  

“We have explored multiple solutions, like investing in additional computer labs, but that seemed unfeasible. We did a pilot with the open source solution Safe Exam Browser. That worked, but wasn’t optimal in terms of workflow and support for BYOD. It also didn’t comply with the IT requirements of TU Delft. At a conference we discovered Schoolyear, and then things moved quickly,” says Dennis.

Simple backup solutions in case of need

In January 2022 the search for security solutions for digital testing started and in October 2022 the first exam with 900 mathematics students took place. With Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), this number of students can be hosted in the sports hall of the university.

“It went flawlessly. Of course, there was some stress. It was all new to us, and we didn’t know how to respond to certain questions. But I was at the venue and could oversee everything,” Dennis says.

Exploring a hybrid version of examination

“Now we’re fully engaged in rolling out the digital testing to as many educational programs as possible. And we’re exploring a hybrid version where most of the questions are digital, but some assignments have to be done on paper.”

The main advantage of Schoolyear to TU Delft is the simplicity of the product.  

“It’s easy for teachers. Students are guided smoothly through the installation process. Invigilators build up experience with it quickly.”

Dennis sees a bright future. “It would be great to do digital testing with other software applications as well. Schoolyear might also be very suited for use not only during exams, but also in classes and practicals, where you want students to find out solutions themselves, and not by ChatGPT.”  

Wim Graas
CEO Schoolyear

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We wanted to introduce safe and robust on-campus digital testing where at several moments 800+ students could be taking the same exam, however no combination of exam rooms had 800+ computers available at those moments. For us Schoolyear was the perfect and robust solution that we were looking for, as this allowed us to use the laptops of the students in regular exam rooms.

Dennis den Ouden

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