Outline of Exam Procedures

This page aims to give a quick reference to support's role in setting up and running on-line exams. It does not supercede the RAT unit documentation which can be found at LabExamsProc and LabExamsGetPapers.

A Handy Checklist

This LabExamChecklist should be used to check that each stage of the setup is completed in time. It doesn't tell you how to do things but it does list what needs to be done, when and by whom. Whoever is in charge of each exam should print a copy of this checklist and maintain it such each step can be signed off.

What needs signed

To formalise the exam process a little more, it has been agreed that we should also sign off various crucial stages within the exam setup process with teaching staff. A copy of this form should be printed, held in a folder in the AT support office and filled in/initialled/signed as each step is completed. Note that the final signature should be from the TA/lecturer confirming that they have run through the exam and are happy that it has been set up correctly. This is in addition to signing off the checklist above.

During the exam, any incidents relating to the exam/machine setup resulting in a student being given an extension should be recorded on this form (e.g. a student pulls the network cable out of the wall - yes, it has happened!).

Notes for Informatics Invigilators

If a computer crashes

  • Take note of the time.
  • Carry out a physical check of power cables.
  • If the power cable to the machine has been disconnected, reconnect and wait until machine reboots. This should only take a few minutes. The student should then be able to continue.
  • If the power to the monitor has been disconnected, simply reconnect. The student should then be able to continue.
  • If none of the above steps fix the problem, only then should you move the student to a spare machine as instructed below.
    • Choose another machine (once a machine has crashed it should not be re-used by any other student). There should always be one room set aside with spare machines in case there are no other machines in the primary exam room(s).
    • Invigilator logs onto the new machine and recovers the student's most recent backup files (into /tmp) by running examrestore sMATRIC where MATRIC is the student's matriculation number. Invigilator will need the submit role in order to do this. Most academic staff will have this role, as do some support staff and any PhD markers. Undergraduates and non-Informatics invigilators will not be able to do this.
    • Invigilator logs off.
    • The student should now log on to the new machine.
    • The student should then run the command examrestore (with no arguments this time); this extracts the recovered backup in /tmp into their new local home directory.
    • Wait while the student confirms their work has been successfully recovered.
    • Add extra time to exam to cover the time missed plus 5 minutes for inconvenience. Inform student of amount of extra time granted.
    • If the above steps to move a student to an alternative machine fail, contact support immediately. Do not try to move them again to another machine unless instructed to do so by a member of the support team.

If a student is unable to submit:

  • Check that the student is running the command from the correct directory. This is the most common cause of problems.
  • Check that the network cable is connected. The submit command requires network connectivity. If it has been disconnected, plug it back in to the port. The student should be able to submit successfully. NOTE: the student's files are kept on the local disk so network problems can remain un-noticed by the student until the point that they try to submit.
  • If the above steps fail, contact Support immediately. Do not move the student to an alternative machine until instructed to do so by a member of the support team.

If other help is needed:

  • Occasionally when a student logged into an locked-down SL6 client, after entering their username and password correctly, they were presented with a black screen and not the blue background with the various icons as expected. If this happened, the advice was to wait around 30 seconds to confirm that the blue screen doesn't appear and then log the student off by pressing <ctrl><alt><backspace> simultaneously. The student should then have been able to log in again successfully. If not, they were asked to move to an alternative machine and contact support immediately. This scenario has not happened with SL7 lockdown to the best of our knowledge. Random login failures do seem to occur every now and then, limited to passwords not being accepted on first try. Subsequent logins attempts are usually successful.
  • At least one member of computing support staff will always be present in FH-3.D08/9 on extension 502686 throughout the exam. They should be called in the case of any other technical issue associated with the computers or if the procedures above do not work. Note the time you called so that a suitable extension can be given.

†By crashing, we mean that the student is no longer able to use the machine at all i.e. either nothing is being displayed on the screen or the screen has frozen completely. This does not include the situation where the student is able to use the machine but the submit command fails.

-- AlisonDownie - 21 Dec 2010

Topic revision: r11 - 31 Oct 2019 - 14:31:54 - GrahamDutton
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