Examinations are stressful, but two recent innovations have lightened the load for students this summer. Individual student exam timetables can now be accessed online, and the majority of past papers are also available to download.
The timetables are part of the Managed Learning Environment (MLE). By logging onto My.Insite students have access to a wealth of personalised information and services, from the opportunity to top up on printer credits to online module registration. Examination Timetables are the latest addition to the service. 9400+ timetables for the summer exams were available from 29th April – 2500 were accessed within the first two days and the numbers have been rising ever since as the examination period looms ever closer!
Several departments were beginning to create online archives of exam papers for students, but 2004 saw this undertaken by e-lab and the Library as a service for all departments. The archive can be hosted within departmental web pages, either as the complete store, or just those papers relevant to a particular course. In order to avoid excessive server load, news of the service was released slowly, but word has spread rapidly and over 100,000 papers have been downloaded since the start of term.
In future years the exercise should evolve from scanning paper copies to re-publishing digital papers, with greater control by departments over which papers are released, and the opportunity to include supplementary materials such as solutions to accompany the papers.
Students have been particularly enthusiastic about the service, though searches for the upcoming 2004 papers (and there have been many!) have proven unsuccessful. Most have found the service easy to use and appreciate the benefits of being able to access papers from any location. Indeed the only negative was a complaint from a Modern Languages student that upon opening a paper it was ‘in an unintelligible language’. Further enquiries revealed it was not her Italian that was lacking, and she was advised to install Acrobat Reader!
Both of these innovations are in line with the Managed Learning Environment strategy… which in essence aims to create the ‘joined-up University’ by providing a suite of tools, applications and resources, all web-based, for students and staff to accomplish their study and administrative tasks within an integrated, cohesive environment. E-lab is always very happy to receive suggestions for further innovation. Do get in touch!
For more information see www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/its/elab/projects/mle/