Find answers to FAQs about digital assessments (Inspera). These FAQs are in the process of being updated prior to the Semester 2 exam period in 2021.

Assessment type

In Semester 2 we will be able to support the following 15 question types.

Automatically marked:

Manually marked:

Not marked:

Inspera is a very intuitive system that supports a wide array of different questions types. For Semester 2 in 2021 it was decided to expand the number of supported question types to 15 so that we can support users and maintain the highest level of user satisfaction. We will be releasing more functionality over time as we build training and support capacity. The question types selected have been discussed with representatives from the Faculties and the School with the intention of widening the range of questions to cover most options but limiting support requirements, reducing complexity for students and keeping in line with accessibility regulations.  

Inspera does not use the camera at all. An email went out from Peter Lambert on 9 November 2020 to all students about this. Here's part of that email:

"Privacy. We will not be using the Inspera remote invigilation to monitor student activity using AI or any other method this academic year. Inspera can be assessed through a website as with Moodle (and many other University systems). For normal on-campus exams it is possible to use "Safe Exam Browser" with Inspera which controls access to the internet on devices but as we are using open-book exams this year there is no need to use Safe Exam Browser - it can all be accessed via the web."

This page on the University website also went live on 26 November 2020 with information for students.

Assessment timings

It has been agreed that for Semester 2 2020/21, exams will be open for 24 hours and students will have the full 24 hours to complete the exams. There may be a few specific exceptions. The exams should still be designed so that a student is able to complete them in a 2-hour period as some students will have multiple exams in a 24-hour period (as has been the case for a number of years). All exams will be open book, and exam questions should be designed to demonstrate understanding and application of knowledge (rather than knowledge itself).

The Exam Parameters for Semester 2 2020/21 have been approved by the Education, Quality and Standards Committee (EQSC) and are available to download from the CLT Hub. EQSC have agreed that, in exceptional circumstances, and where there is a strong evidence base, a request for an exemption to a parameter(s) may be made to the Dean. Where an exemption would have implications that would affect scheduling, be applied to a full department/faculty, or bring technical challenges the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) will also be required to agree to the request. Requests must be made no later than 10th March 2021. This downloadable document outlines the process for requesting exemptions to 24-hour exams in full.

Assessments

Students who need to handwrite any answers or workings or draw diagrams should add to a pdf for upload to Inspera.

The work-around for this would be to ask students to take a picture of their diagrams, notes etc. and embed them in the document they are working on and include this within the pdf document that they will convert and submit for upload (requires use of an‘Upload Assignment’ question type). There is student facing guidance on the Preparing your documents for submission page.

As exams will be taken across a multitude of time zones, there is no invigilation or 24/7 support during online exams.

All exams must be on Inspera, but coursework will still be on Moodle. All units with exams on SAMIS will have the exams automatically created in Inspera and the Unit Convenor and students will automatically be assigned. The unit convenor and administrative staff will be able to add other staff to author questions or mark scripts as appropriate.

Exams outside of the exam period (10th May - 28th May 2021) and supplementary exam period (18th - 27th August 2021) cannot currently be set on Inspera. Exams outside of the exam period can make use of Moodle quizzes.

If you are intending to use a quiz for assessment purposes:

As  most exams have 24-hour periods students should be advised to spend, say 2 hours, on the exam. Within this 24-hour period is extra time for students with Disability Action Plans (DAPs), so we won't be setting up extra time for students with DAPs.

There are some exceptions to this, where exams are given a fixed duration and extra time will be added for those students who require it.

The video below demonstrates how a Planner can add extra time for individual students within Inspera

Yes. Log into Inspera. If you log in as a student (select the bar top left that says ‘Students Candidates Learners’) you can try out the same demo exams that students have access to.

Authoring exam questions

In Inspera it is possible to include LaTeX in questions or use an inline equation editor. If staff are struggling to convert questions in time, it may be easier to include questions as a pdf file which students can download for each question.

Essay answers are written within Inspera’s in-built text editor online.  Whereas if the Upload Assignment question type is used, students can write their submission offline, before uploading it as a file type such as PDF or Word.

This is up to the Unit Convenor, and depends on which Option (1 or 2) is being used.
The simplest approach is to create an ‘Upload Assignment’ question type and upload an Exam Paper PDF file which contains all the exam questions in one go - students complete their exam off Inspera and then upload all their answered questions in one single file (preferably in a PDF format) onto Inspera.
Alternatively, you can set up questions directly within Inspera in your desired question type format. You will be able to either upload the same exam paper PDF file for all of these or type the exam question/instructions directly within Inspera.

Be aware that the number of questions on Inspera will have an impact on how exams are marked. If the whole script is uploaded/typed in one question, then is difficult for this to be divided up for use by multiple markers, for example where one marker marks all question 1's and another marks all question 2's.

If you require students to choose questions from a selection please see this video on optional questions for the required work-around, or see more information on the "Creating the examination" page.

No, you de-select each one individually. However, there are only 5 file types that need to be “unticked” in this case.

No, Inspera does not check the word count in uploaded documents . You could ask the students to add the word count to the end of their answer before converting to PDF.

You have the choice. The exam can either take the form of an uploaded file (e.g. the exam paper) or the questions can be entered directly into Inspera.  This should be decided across programme teams or departments to retain some consistency for students.

During the Semester 1 exam period, some staff chose to upload a file as well as the questions within the exams so that the students could download and view an offline copy as well.

The total number of marks for an exam could be different to 100, however these will not be displayed as a percentage within Inspera. Instead, when grades are transferred to SAMIS from Inspera, the student's score will be converted into a percentage

Whilst 100 is more typical, it is possible to have something different. Nice, round numbers are preferable! 

If you are used to marking individual essays out of 100, consider setting each essay to be worth 100 marks.

If you are using the optional question style exam please see this video and the guidance on the 'Creating the examination' page as this can cause problems if not set up carefully.

It is possible to upload an mp4 video file to the instructional text of any question type. However, this could create issues relating to file size, video length, connection, and access.

Videos would not have been part of exams in previous years in exam halls and not every student will have an internet connection to cope with the requirements for this sort of media. It would be best to keep it short, simple, and ideally not a requirement to answer the question. Students could legitimately complain that, while their internet is up to logging into Inspera, it is not up to streaming large video files. Videos will also have to be captioned in line with accessibility legislation.

That said, if anyone does want to include a video then we can produce guidance. Please email inspera-support@bath.ac.uk to discuss further.

This video on Scoring options covers how to set marks for manual and automatic questions:

Yes, using the 'Marks' options on the right hand side of the question creation screen you can adjust the marks for correct, wrong, and unanswered questions. Positive and negative numbers are allowed when setting these values.

In addition you can set 'Marks for all correct'. Note this is not bonus points, and if lower than the maximum, you could have a student with all answers correct scoring less than one with a mistake.

There is also a 'Minimum marks' option, which if set to 0 will ensure the question cannot award negative marks, even if using negative marks for an incorrect answer. This may be desirable for multiple response style questions.

For further guidance on setting the marks for automatic questions, see the video in the question above.

No, Inspera does not have this capacity. Planners on the test can download a csv file with the scores and perform this step if necessary.

Inspera can randomise the order of questions within each 'Section' using the randomisation button.

Randomisation button in Inspera

Supporting students during exams

Prior to the exam: Students should contact their departments if they require help prior to or during the exam. They will be asked to access the system prior to the exam period and complete a practice test. This will ensure that their devices are compatible, they are assigned to the correct exams and know their log-in credentials. Students can access information about exams from this student-facing webpage.

During the exam: The Exams Office will be providing an Examinations Helpline that students can contact in case of difficulties.

After the exam: Students should contact their departments in the first instance if it is a question about feedback or marks.

Students should not contact the Inspera support email inspera-support@bath.ac.uk This is a staff-facing address and does not have the capacity to field student queries in a timely manner.

 

Most exams have a 24 window so if any issues do occur there will be time to fix them. Inspera automatically saves every 15 seconds so students won’t need to start exams again from the beginning. In the case that a student needs to restart their computer, they will be able to check that their previous answers have saved. If working in Word (or other applications) students will need to remember to save their work regularly. The Exams Office will be providing an Examinations Helpline that students can contact in case of difficulties.

Students can access information about exams from this student-facing webpage.

Communicating with students

Students can access information about exams from this student-facing webpage. Other forms of communication will come from within departments.

Students should not contact the Inspera support email inspera-support@bath.ac.uk This is a staff-facing address and does not have the capacity to field student queries in a timely manner.

 

Student help guide

Students can access information about exams from this student-facing webpage.

Departments are welcome to create their own specific guidance and support materials and make them available to students on Moodle.

Yes, students can format the text they are typing in the following ways: changing text size, inputting maths functions, using bold/underline/italics, bullet points, special characters, inserting drawings, inserting tables, and using the paste function.

We do not advise asking students to copy and paste images into the essay question text box. Some students have had difficulty with this on their devices. If you wish for students to upload supplementary images, then consider using a separate Upload Assignment question worth 0 marks.

No, the ‘Essay’ question type only allows students to type / copy text directly into the Inspera interface. When the ‘Upload Assignment’ question type is selected, students are only able to upload an answer as a file.

There is no option which allows for these to be combined.

Inspera saves every 15 seconds as students are responding to exam questions. If they are writing a response for an ‘Upload Assignment’ question, the student needs to save their work in the programme/app they are using themselves (e.g. Microsoft Word, saved as a PDF) .

For the Essay style question, yes, they could. However, as there is a rich text editor within Inspera they shouldn’t have to. Moreover, students may want to check that when pasting in their answer, that all the formatting has stayed the same. For example, issues could arise when pasting in “rich text” without inserting this via the editor.

We do not advise asking students to copy and paste images into the essay question text box. Some students have had difficulty with this on their devices. If you wish for students to upload supplementary images, then consider using a separate Upload Assignment question worth 0 marks.

Staff support

Inspera is a very intuitive system. Basic guidance and support documentation is provided on the CLT Hub along with self-help videos. Some drop-in sessions will be run to help with specific tasks, details of which will be listed on the CLT Hub.

Email queries to inspera-support@bath.ac.uk should not be considered the first line of support; instead, we ask that when staff need additional guidance, they seek support from other professional support staff or academic colleagues first. 

Contingency

The uptime for the system is 99.5% and is measured monthly. We would not expect any interruptions to service. If this was to happen, however, we would not recommend an immediate transition to another platform as the expectation would be that Inspera would be operational within a short period of time.  

As most exams will be open for 24 hours the impact of a very short system outage will be minimal. Student answers are automatically saved by the system every 15 seconds. 

Inspera has been used for online exams at large HE institutions around the world for a number of years and has been shown to be a stable system. In the unlikely event of a major system failure which prevents access,  decisions on the approach would be made by the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Learning & Teaching ) in discussion with Associate Deans (L&T) and relevant professional services. 

Feedback

Whilst we will be collating feedback from users to enable a lesson learned process, there is currently no decision made on publishing a questionnaire. However, we are keen to understand more about the user experience so that we can improve, where possible, for Semester 2 and beyond. Questionnaires on the system will not be integrated with exams.

Marking

Moderators and external examiners can be added to your exams within Inspera.  This is a Planner function.  The Planner can add the moderators/external examiners as additional Graders if they need to view the completed scripts online, within Inspera. A University of Bath email address is required.

Guidance for External Moderators detailing the steps to login to Inspera, find scripts requiring moderation and respond to Annotations and Page Notes on the scripts can be found in the video below:


Further guidance about marking and grading can be found here.

When marking inside Inspera, once marks are finalised, having followed University protocol, the marks will be automatically transferred to SAMIS. Please note that this is a ‘one-way’ transfer, so updates in SAMIS will not show in Inspera, and any scaling will happen in SAMIS after BEU processes.

When marking offline, usual departmental processes will be undertaken to transfer grades to SAMIS via a CSV file.

Further guidance about marking and grading can be found here.

Work has started to integrate Inspera with Urkund in preparation for the Semester 2 exam period in 2021. More information will be provided in the Inspera grader section of the CLT Hub in due course.

Option 1: Marking and moderation completed offline.

Option 2: Completed in Inspera by Graders.

Visit the recommendation page to review the options.

PDF uploads can be marked in Inspera and are displayed in the Inspera grading module (unlike other file uploads). In the case of a word file converted to pdf, you can select text, highlight, and annotate words / sections. This works the same for "Essay" question types.

For handwritten and scanned work, you can annotate the page, but not individual parts. An alternative option is to download all the scripts and annotate / add comments. This would also allow the grader to draw on the document using a tablet and stylus for example, which you cannot do in the Inspera grading module.

Some departments have decided on workflows involving downloading and storing files offline, others plan to mark in Inspera.  We recommend consistency across programmes or departments wherever possible.

1) Yes, you can mark offline and just input the marks into Inspera.

2) Annotating -  departments are deciding on their own policies.  Many don't provide feedback on exams.

If the student has uploaded a PDF, then you can grade directly onto the PDF within Inspera. You can download all submissions, but you can only upload them back into Inspera one at a time which is time consuming.

Some departments are also managing the annotations offline.

Further guidance about marking and grading can be found here.

On most browsers you can change the settings for downloaded files to always ask where to save them. You can then navigate to OneDrive or the X:Drive if you have mapped your University drives (on Windows 10) (or on MacOS) allowing University folders to appear as if saved on your personal computer.

For Chrome, this option is in Settings -> Advanced -> Under the Downloads heading select "Ask where to save each file before downloading".

For Safari, this option is in Preferences -> General -> Change the 'File download location:" to "Ask for each download".

For Firefox, this option is in Preferences -> General -> Under the Downloading heading select "Always ask you where to save files".

For Edge, this option is in Settings -> Select Downloads -> Select "Ask where to save each file before downloading".

In all of these cases, you may wish to change this back after downloading the exam scripts.

Yes. There are two options to try.

  1. In Marking 2.0 you can try Shift +R (on your keyboard) on the PDF (this should rotate the page).

If this doesn't work.

  1. You can return to Marking 1.0 where you can access a menu in the PDF reader that lets you choose to rotate to screen (see the screenshot below). You can access Marking 1.0 by clicking the button at the top right with the two arrows (next to Options).

Screenshot from Inspera to show tool for rotating pdf.