Software enables secure online exams for BSMS students

After a successful pilot last year, some of the postgraduate taught courses at BSMS have started delivering fully electronic exams. Last month, students studying on the Clinical Radiology course completed multiple-choice exams for the module topics Anatomy and Physics, which were delivered through University of Brighton’s ‘studentcentral’ virtual learning environment and secure software, Impero.

Nick Feather
Nick Feather

Apart from the obvious benefit of exam attempts being automatically scored by the system, there were additional positive reasons for trialling this online delivery over a paper-based approach:

Firstly, a comprehensive question bank can be developed within studentcentral which can be adapted to create individual exams; you don’t have to create the test in another piece of software. If using multiple-choice, the correct answer can be set within the system and all relevant staff (internal and external) can be provided with access. Studentcentral also supports essay style answers for online exams.

Secondly, in terms of security, the online exam can be made available to students within a defined timeframe (e.g. the link appears just 15 minutes before the start of the exam) and a custom password was provided to grant access. The questions were presented randomly as a list on a single webpage, so students each had a unique view of the exam ‘paper’. The Falmer Library computer room used for this exam has a network of PCs running classroom management software, Impero. This software enables internet access to be restricted on those machines to ‘white-listed’ websites so students are prevented from visiting any websites not applicable to the exam, as well as from accessing USB or network drives.

Thirdly, the system offers question analysis data. As an example, it is possible to quickly retrieve a difficulty score for each question, alongside ‘average score’ and ‘standard deviation’ and ‘standard error’. All this data can be downloaded as a report.

Finally, when scores are released to students, these are available through ‘MyGrades’ within studentcentral so students can see their scores where they expect to see them (and, therefore, consistent with University of Brighton’s EMA policy). The ‘post date’ – ie. when the grades are made available to students – can be set by the course team.

The Department of Medical Education (DME) are planning to rollout this online delivery of exams to further modules. If you would like more information about this type of assessment via studentcentral, or Impero software, please contact your learning technologist: Tim Vincent (undergraduate) or Nick Feather (postgraduate).


Minor update to studentcentral – some new features

Studentcentral had a minor upgrade recently giving some new features for the 2017/18 academic year. These are the headline changes:

  • Drag and drop files – when uploading files (e.g. docs, slides), you can drag an drop them to save having to navigate through your file directory
  • Submission receipts for studentcentral assignments – when students submit assignments using the Blackboard assignment tool (different to Turnitin), they now receive digital receipts of proof of submission
  • Photo class lists for your modules – The eLearning Team have built a new tool that shows the students’ photos (as on the Student Record System). It can only be seen by staff.
  • Mobile Apps – there are two new mobile apps that replace the former Blackboard Mobile Learn app:
    • Blackboard App (iOS Android) – for students to browse content, check grades, view announcements, and participate in discussion boards
    • Blackboard Instructor (iOS Android) – for staff to browse content, check grades, send announcements, and participate in discussion boards. More features will be coming soon apparently.

Full details are given in this post by the University of Brighton eLearning team:
Studentcentral: upgraded!

Physicians Associates at BSMS

  Dr Nikki Dearnley, Clinical Education Fellow, BSMS

In September 2016 BSMS opened its doors to its first intake of Physicians Associate students. As part of my role as a Clinical Education Fellow I am heavily involved in teaching on this course. When I explain to friends and colleagues what my job involves I often get a lot of questions about the role of a Physician Associate, so I am going to use this blog post as an opportunity both to answer some commonly asked questions and perhaps sell to you the benefits of teaching on this course!

What is a Physicians Associate?

Physician Associates are collaborative healthcare professionals with a generalist medical education. They work alongside doctors to provide medical care as a part of the multidisciplinary team. Physician Associates are dependent practitioners working with a dedicated supervisor, but are able to work independently with appropriate support. Physician Associates work within a defined scope of practice and limits of competence. They can:

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