Transforming exams: How IT works for BYOD e-exams

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Mathew Hillier
Monash University

Andrew Fluck
University of Tasmania

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This paper focuses on the ‘IT’ side of a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) based e-Exam system developed as part of an Australian government funded project ( The context for the use of our e-Exam solution is the supervised space of the exam room. A key element of the work is to enable authentic forms of assessment. To this end we have designed the solution to allow complex constructed problems that can be addressed using a range of contemporary ‘e-tools of the trade’. The system works with BYOD where students boot their own laptop using a specially crafted USB stick that contains a standardised operating system and a suite of applications. By giving teachers and students access to contemporary software tools we are providing the opportunity to greatly expand the pedagogical landscape of the exam room encouraging more authentic assessment practices.

The paper provides technical details of both the e-Exam USBs used for the student test environment and newly developed tools used to streamline the deployment of exam data and retrieval of student responses. A phased strategy is outlined for moving from paper based exams via paper-equivalent e-exams through to post-paper exams involving multimedia, a range of software applications, quiz engine and then onto whitelisted network resources and fully logged Internet access enabled during an exam. The roles of groups (Us-s) and individuals (Me-s) within the process of running an e-exam are outlined by comparing current paper-based exam workflows and that of e-exams to provide a richer description of the approach.

About the authors

Mathew Hillier

Dr Mathew Hillier is a Senior Lecturer in the Office of Learning and Teaching at Monash University. Mathew is one of two co-leaders of the ASCILITE SIG for ‘e-Assessment’ and in this capacity is a co-host of the Transforming Assessment webinar series along with Prof Geoffrey Crisp.

He specialises in e-assessment and e-exams and teaches into the academic staff development program at Monash University leading the ‘technology and space’ theme. He has previously taught into Business, Information systems, Engineering and Arts programs at several universities in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Mathew is currently the leader of the ‘Transforming Exams’ project developing a toolset for authentic, computerised, high-stakes assessment (e-Exams). The project covers 10 university partners and is funded by a half-million dollar Australian government grant. He is also leading the development of a multi-language computerised exam platform for use in national professional translator accreditation. More about Mathew at

Andrew Fluck

Dr Andrew Fluck is a Senior Lecturer in Information Technology in the Faculty of Education at University of Tasmania.

Dr. Fluck trained as a teacher in Bristol, England. He has taught science, mathematics and computing in Nigeria, England and Australia. His numerous publications reflect his research interests in the transformational potential of computers in education. He was a co-author of the government report ‘Making Better Connections’ and the book ‘Seven steps to ICT integration’. His funded research investigates the use of computers to teach integral calculus and quantum mechanics in primary schools; and eExaminations, where students take their own computers into the exam hall. He is a past secretary of the Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACCE) and is now the chair of Working Group 3.3 (research into educational applications of information technologies) for IFIP/UNESCO. Andrew is also an avid longbow archer and continental archery judge. Andrew’s website