Online exams using BigBlueButton or Webex - teachers' guide
BigBlueButton or Webex are best suited for proctoring online exams in small groups or discussing submissions with individuals and small groups.
For a stable connection during the exam, please use BigBlueButton with a maximum of 30cameras running. For larger groups, please use Webex.
Please ensure that all students have the technical equipment necessary to be proctored online. If this is not possible, you must provide an alternative form of examination. Also, students must be informed about the examination mode sufficiently in advance.
In order to use BigBlueButton, you need aTeachCenter course. If you do not yet have a TeachCenter course or BigBlueButton is not yet activated there, please contact the TeachCenter support and let us know which course (number) it is.
Teachers and students can access BBB via the TeachCenter by accessing the activity and clicking Join session.
If you use BigBlueButton, request BBB activation for your TeachCenter course. If you use Webex, create a scheduled Webex meeting.
Attention: Since the URL to your personal Webex room always remains the same and it could always be entered, it is advisable to create a separate meeting (with password if necessary) for exams.
Create a quiz in the TeachCenter or TeachCenter Exam. You can find more information about in the user guide on the quiz activity.
In the TeachCenter Exam course Test your Exam, you and your students can take a dummy exam and familiarize themselves with TeachCenter quizzes.
If you want to divide the students into multiple rooms ("breakout rooms” in BBB, “breakout sessions” in Webex) for easier proctoring, you can hire study assistants, for example as additional moderators to supervise one breakout room at a time.
Let your students know sufficiently in advance that the exam will take place via BigBlueButton or Webex and TeachCenter (Exam). Before the exam, students should log into the TeachCenter (Exam), open BigBlueButton or Webex and place the camera or device so that their workplace is easily visible. Request your students to acccess the meeting in time (at least 30 minutes before the exam starts), as experience shows that the pre-check takes 3-4 minutes per person.
Shortly before the exam, create a list of all registered students to be able to check if everyone is present.
In the TeachCenter settings of a BBB activity, you can revoke certain rights before the meeting begins, e.g. that students are not allowed to see each other.
Go to the TeachCenter settings of the BBB activity.
In the section "Lock settings", select all the rights you want to revoke.
The checkmark "Lock settings on join" must be set, otherwise the locks will not be applied!
Alternatively, you can adjust the participant rights directly in the meeting:
Access the BBB meeting early enough by clicking on the BBB activity in the TeachCenter and then clicking Join session. Adjust students‘ rights by clicking the gear symbol next to the participant list, then Lock viewers.
In the following pop-up menu, you can assign or revoke individual rights. For example, lock all rights except sharing the webcam and microphone so that students cannot send chat messages or see the other webcams. Click Apply to save the changes.
Please note that students in breakout rooms all have the same rights and can see each other.
If you want to let all students into the meeting at once, activate the waiting room.
Click on the cogwheel next to the list of participants - Guest policy
Select Ask moderator
When students join, you will see a pop-up window. You can let students into the meeting all at once via a button in the chat/shared notes section.
When creating a meeting on Webex, specify that the meeting can have cohosts (e.g. study assistants) and, if necessary, select that whoever joins the meeting has to wait in the"lobby" until they are admitted by a moderator.
Access the meeting sufficiently early. Go to Participants > Assign privileges to customize students' rights. For example, block the ability to send chat messages to others. Click Apply to save the changes.
Known issue: In Webex, you cannot keep participants from seeing each other‘s videos
Assign the role of cohosts to your study assistants as soon as they join the meeting.
As students arrive, greet them individually and let them know you can see and hear them. Check the list you have created earlier to make sure all students are present.
BigBlueButton: If students have selected "Listen only" when entering the meeting, ask students to re-enter as they might also need the microphone for the identity check.
Once all students are present, carefully explain the rules and procedure:
Welcome everyone again. Explain that the exam will start in ... minutes, or as soon as all students have gone through the identity check.
If students are using a smartphone as a camera, ask them to check if their smartphone battery is sufficiently charged or otherwise plug in the phone.
Remind students to visit the restroom before the exam if necessary.
Explain that by participating in the exam,students implicitly agree to the rules.
Remind students of the time limit of the exam and where to find the exam (e.g. at TeachCenter Exam).
Describe what their desk should look like: students are allowed to leave paper for notes, a pen or two, drinks, and their ID on the desk; everything else must be put away. On the computer, only the browser tab with the TeachCenter Exam may be open. No more than one external monitor should be used and it should be clearly visible in the video. Other monitors should remain turned off..
Let students know that they will now be called individually for ID and desk checks.
Call the students one by one. Each student first films the notes on their desk with their smartphone to make sure that no notes have been taken there in advance; then they film themselves and their student ID; and finally, a 360-degree overview of their workspace to prove that no other aids can be found on the desk.
If everything is correct, ask the students to place the camera or device so that they themselves, the workplace and the screen are visible and that the screen or the note sheets are not covered by the arm or body on the video. The position may also need to be adjusted if the environment is too bright or too dark.
Good camera configurations: sufficient resolution, student, workplace and screen are well visible
Bad camera configurations: poor lighting conditions, screen not well visible or resolution too low, focus only on the screen instead of on student and workplace
Once a good position for the camera or device has been found, ask the students to mute themselves and leave it in that position. Explain that you will address the students directly if there is a problem.
You can mute all participants in Webex as well as in BigBlueButton. In BigBlueButton: via the gear next to the participants list; in Webex: Participants > Mute All.
Explain what to do if there are questions during the exam: students should unmute themselves and ask the question aloud, but they will be heard by everyone. Otherwise, they are to remain muted.
Explain what to do at the end of the exam: for example, agree that students who have finished the exam may give a thumbs up to the camera and leave the conference.
Important note for moderators or hosts who leave the meeting earlier: In BBB, click on logout, NOT end meeting.
In Webex, click on Leave Meeting, NOT End Meeting.
Explain what to do in case of technical problems: if students notice that their video disconnected, they should try to join again as soon as possible. If error messages occur during the exam, it is best for students to take a screenshot of them.
Finally, explain that students will now be sent to breakout rooms (BBB) or breakout sessions (Webex) and the exam will begin. Wish them good luck!
Create breakout rooms by clicking the gear symbol next to the list of participants. Do not send more than 12 participants to a room, otherwise the proctoring will be difficult. Set the time available rather too long than too short (e.g. 100 minutes for a 90-minute exam, as leaving earlier is always possible). In each breakout room there should be a moderator to proctor the students.
Keep track of students during the exam or click on individual webcam feeds to enlarge them and make more detailed checks.
If the students' camera resolution is too low, ask them to point the camera only at the screen and to stop filming themselves. This way you can at least check that students do not switch to other windows or applications.
To communicate with students during the exam, speak to them directly. Chat messages are easily missed, especially if notifications are turned off.
Keep checking that the number of students in the conference is still accurate. Students might drop out without them noticing. In this case, ask students to restart the webcam transmission by addressing them directly. If this does not work, students will need to re-enter the conference.
Known issue in BigBlueButton: When a person's camera transmission freezes and that person reconnects, a second instance of that student appears.