Located in Belgium and governed by a Board of Trustees and Board of Directors, PXL University College (Hogeschool PXL) considers itself a ‘modern university college’ and strives to play a leading role in the application of new information and communication technologies in education. Its forward-thinking and innovative approach to the use of IT in education, and to monitor its examination processes, has led it to be seen as influential in its field; no other university or university college in Belgium is currently using a software solution such as Education Pro for live exam environments.
Recently, two university colleges merged into Hogeschool PXL. With a student headcount of 7200 it is the largest institution of higher education in the Belgium province of Limburg. The new students had previously been allowed to use their own laptops for learning, and this privilege was carried over to the new setup. Although the computers owned by the university college were already managed by the university’s IT team, challenges arose when the university college took steps to monitor students’ personal devices. All courses are now electronic, so this proved particularly difficult during live exam environments.
In addition to a variety of network and classroom management features, Impero Education Pro’s ability to block access to specific websites, applications and resources, when required, would help Hogeschool PXL to effectively manage digital examinations and create appropriate exam conditions. The extensive logging functionality would enable IT staff to ‘go back in time’ and discover what specific students have accessed during an exam, to prove or disprove cheating behaviour if necessary. Screen broadcasting, live monitoring and the ability to send and receive files and folders would enable an enhanced digital learning environment and better efficiency.
Initially, some students objected fiercely to the software being installed on their personal devices. Claiming that this was an invasion of their privacy, these students contacted the local media to express their concerns. Whilst teaching staff adopted the software quickly due to its simple interface and easy navigation, some issues arose in relation to the installation of Education Pro on student laptops, but this was due to the incorrect setup of the devices. Impero’s support team was on hand to help throughout this entire process, and the issues were resolved with ease.
Since implementing Impero Education Pro, the university has realised several benefits, including:
controlled exam conditions – live thumbnails and the ability to restrict access to specific websites, applications and resources, when required (and specific to each exam), helps to ensure accurate results are produced, whilst discouraging cheating behaviour.
saves time – the live thumbnail view provides complete visibility of all student screens, minimising the need for teaching staff to race from desk-to-desk, in order to ensure students are adhering to strict exam procedures.
improves productivity – screen broadcasting and monitoring combined with the messaging functionality helps teachers to facilitate an enhanced day-to-day electronic learning environment. Since students are aware that their activity is being monitored, they now use technology far more appropriately.
Q&A with Turan Ascioglu, System Administrator
how did students react when Impero Education Pro was implemented?
Although the majority of students were cooperative, some objected to having the software installed on their personal devices; this fuelled their decision to contact the local media. Unfortunately, some details were exaggerated by students, and many were misinformed, believing that the software could monitor their activity whilst using their laptops at home. We were able to clear up these fabrications by creating a document which clarified our confidentiality policies and exactly what the software could monitor, and when. Tech-savvy students also attempted to write scripts to bypass the software, but luckily Education Pro is so secure, they were unsuccessful!
how has the software improved the university’s examination process?
We believe in innovation, and Education Pro fits perfectly with us because of this. The software has been vital in achieving controlled digital exam environments, preventing dishonesty and helping to return accurate results. Next year all university departments will be rolling out the software for examinations, and we’ve been contacted by several universities that seek to adopt the same processes using Education Pro.
how would you rate the service offered by our technical support team?
I wish every firm had the same support department! Whenever we’ve encountered issues, I’ve had tight communication with the technical support team, with responses provided in less than 15 minutes. Impero have always listened to our feature requests – I was shocked to see that the latest software update included some of these requests.
describe Impero in three words.
Innovative (and I really mean that!), manageable and user-friendly.