0 - 20 000 online exams in 1 year with Aalen University

Niklas Vernersson
Niklas Vernersson

Going from 0 - 20 000 online exams in 1 year, from purely on-site examination via fully remote and now into a hybrid setting where students have the option to choose whether they wish to take their exams on-site or remote. What has Aalen University learned during this journey? 

Their digital transition started in 2020 when Covid hit. Before that, since 1962, Aalen University had been an on-site university like the majority of universities out there. Covid meant new challenges, one of the biggest dilemmas was: how to maintain the highest quality of education for its 6500 students and 500 professors when not being physically available due to the lockdown?


On-site university with a remote option (the hybrid approach)

When going remote or hybrid, Dr. Martin shared his most important key takeaways:

1. Set the strategy: what are the reasons for implementing a hybrid strategy and what are the goals of the change? It may sound basic, but having this in place will help universities keep the direction and support the change from the old to the new way.

2. Once the strategy is set, make sure all stakeholders are informed and on board with the change. Talk about the why and how. This will help with the transition as well as the adoption, which is key to driving the results you want to see.  

3. Make sure you have the right technology in place to be able to deliver a high-quality experience through your education and meet the new demand as well as stay competitive in the educational landscape. What does this mean for Aalen University? Their “Digital Learning Platform” consists of three components, Canvas, Zoom, and Digiexam. 


In our webinar, Dr. Martin Franzen, Digital Learning Manager at Aalen University shared important insights to some of the most eminent universities in Europe. 

Introducing online exams

Once you have an idea or a strategy in place, stakeholders on board, and set your foundation of technology to deliver on your hybrid strategy, how will you introduce this new workflow within your organization? Dr. Martin Franzen pinpointed three important factors that helped them.

1. Start small 

The goal must be high adoption of the tools, which Aalen University has managed in a very short amount of time. Start with the faculties or classes with the highest willingness or need to change. Once the formula for success and adoption is set, it’s much easier to scale the online examination process to other faculties and the whole university if needed. 

2. Digital learning team 

What Aalen University experienced is that having a digital learning team in place with at least two employees will help support the adoption and drive the process forward. E.g. support with training and integrations, testing technology, and new exams to drive the success of the online examination process.  

3. Hotline/support 

In the actual exam scenario, it has been greatly appreciated by students and staff to have a support channel that can take care of most upcoming questions that arise. This will provide all participants with a "safety net" and ease the stress when using new technology. It also provides insights to learn upon till next time. For technical support errands that can't be solved on-site, Aalen University’s hotline had a direct link to Digiexam for further assistance.

Other learnings

Martin also shared some more learnings and results which can be heard in more detail in the webinar e.g.: 

  • How they handled security and GDPR, being a German University and part of the state of Baden-Württemberg
  • Pen and paper scenario, how they combined paper, Digiexam, and Canvas to create “high cheating resilience exams” for mathematics
  • How a typical online exam at Aalen is conducted 
  • Ranked 8th among German Universities in digital readiness 

Hear the full story here where Dr. Martin Franzen shares Aalen University’s learnings in more detail.