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Guide to conducting online video exams

In order to minimise the legal uncertainty associated with online video exams (possible violation of the principle of immediacy, problems in the event of technical issues), the following prerequisites must be met before and during the exam:

  • The initiative to undertake an online video exam should come from the candidate. The examiner must give their consent to the online video exam. The candidate is not legally entitled to an online video exam.
  • The conditions for conducting oral exams set out in the “regulations on taking exams via electronic means of communication” (Ordnung zur Regelung von Prüfungen in elektronischer Kommunikation) apply, e.g. with regard to the number of examiners, as well as the role and duties of examiners, observers and record-takers.
  • Listeners are not permitted, even where the exam regulations make provision for this. The coronavirus crisis represents important grounds for justifying the exclusion of the public.
  • The content, standard and duration of the online video exam must correspond to those of the conventional version of the exam.
  • In order to realise online video exams, an appropriate software solution must be selected, e.g. Cisco WebEx.
  • All those involved must possess the technical capabilities to participate in an online video exam:
    • PC/laptop/tablet with a camera, microphone and sufficient power supply
    • Proven stable Internet access
  • Each candidate must be alone in the exam room, which may only have one entrance. This exam room may be in the home of the candidate.
  • All those involved must contribute to ensuring that the exam is not disrupted (no telephone calls/visitors, etc.).
  • Examiners should consider beforehand which exam questions require only minimal written activities during the exam and which viewing materials could be prepared beforehand.
  1. The candidate will be notified of the formalities (e.g. duration, permitted resources, necessary measures to ensure a secure environment) and required technical equipment for the online video exam in good time (usually no later than one week before the exam).
  2. All those involved must familiarise themselves with the tools and go through the exam procedure before the exam itself begins.
  3. At the start of the exam, the candidate needs to demonstrate that they are alone in the room and that there are no resources or aids nearby by turning the camera around to show the entire room.
  4. Before the start of the exam, the candidate should also show their official photo ID and (where necessary) their student ID card to prove their identity.
  5. The camera must show the closed door and the candidate throughout the exam.
  6. The candidate must photograph their field of view at the start of the exam using their mobile phone/digital camera and show the image display to the webcam to prove that no resources/aids are positioned adjacent to the camera.
  • If a digital whiteboard is used during the exam, the screen of the candidate should be shared throughout the exam as far as possible (“share” function in the tools).
  • Once the exam is over, the candidate should leave the video conference. Once the grade has been determined, the candidate should be provided with feedback and notified of the grade in an appropriate way.
  • Candidates, examiners, observers and record-takers are not permitted to record online video exams.
  • In the event that the examiner suspects an attempt to cheat, the measures to ensure a secure exam environment (see above) may be repeated.
  • If an attempt to cheat is confirmed, the corresponding legal consequences set out in the exam regulations apply. The candidate should be excluded from all online video exams and the incident reported to the chair of the examining board.
  • In the event that an Internet connection fails, the exam should be resumed as quickly as possible. In the event of multiple connection failures, the exam should be stopped and a new attempt made. If the technical problems cannot be solved, the exam should be taken in person following the resumption of normal operations at HHU.
  • The type, scope and duration of all disruptions during the online video exam must be recorded in the exam protocol.
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