The iPad exam

Laptop and iPads

As part of the University's Blended Learning Strategy, the use of technology such as iPads, laptops and smartphones in tutorial rooms and lecture theatres is a common sight. Breaking ground in this area, the School of Business unit titled Managing Service and Experience successfully trialled the use of iPads during its Autumn session final exam.

"We wanted to make use of the technology that students had been given and to encourage them to engage with the unit," explains Tim Hall, Academic Course Advisor for Hospitality Management and Sport Management. "The iPad played a big part in this throughout the unit, so it seemed a logical extension to include iPads in the final exam."

Students were able to take their iPads or another electronic device such as a laptop into the exam. Students were asked to complete an exit survey as soon as they completed the exam, which gave them the opportunity to provide feedback on the experience. 

"Overwhelmingly, the response was positive with many students indicating that the ability to access information on the iPad and via the internet made them more relaxed entering the examination," says Tim.

Tim collaborated with Colin Sheringham, Unit Coordinator within the School of Business, Blended Learning Advisors, Designers and E-Learning (BLADE) specialists and the Learning and Teaching team to put the idea of iPads in exams into action. As the idea grew, input was provided from Paul Jewell, Business Librarian; Lynnae Rankine, Blended Learning Manager; Andrew Baron, Assessment Coordinator; and was supported by Associate Professor Sara Denize, Deputy Dean, School of Business.
The success of the iPad exam trial was important on several fronts, Colin Sheringham notes. "We were able to provide a memorable exam experience for the students, important in the context of the unit," Colin explains. "It is believed to be an Australian first initiative for UWS, but more significantly we have successfully begun to explore the possibility of using mobile technology to enrich learning. Looking forward, we have already begun discussions about the obstacles to increasing the scope of the use of mobile devices in exams."

For information on the journey that led to the exam, you can watch an interview on the trial with Colin Sheringham and Kate Alley, Blended Learning Designer:

You can also watch a recording of Colin and Kate's presentation on 'The iPad Exam' at the July Blended Learning forum below:

If you have any questions about this initiative, please contact Colin via email: