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COVID-19: Remote exams procedure run-through

Instead of relying on electronic monitoring software, the University has chosen evaluation procedures that will, as always, reward students who have mastered the material covered in class. We, therefore, call upon your sense of integrity and remind you that exams are a vital step in your learning process that, if bypassed, will penalize you for the rest of your studies and even in your professional career. Your obligations during the exams (which include sitting them personally, and on your own) are outlined in the charter that will be presented to you soon on MonULB.

Written exams procedure run-through

The ‘VU 2’ platform


The VU is already under heavy load due to regular courses, so we have decided to host exams on a 'copy' of the VU platform with increased capacity. On the ‘VU 2’ you will find a page for each of your courses and, on each page, the related exams (tests or assignments). You can continue using the main VU platform to study for your exams.

The new platform dedicated specifically to exams is available at ulb-exams.be, and you can sign in using your usual ULB credentials (netID and password).

The interface is identical to the one you are already familiar with.
 

What you must do


We ask that you make sure, by midnight on Sunday, May 10:
  • that you can sign in to the VU 2 (apart from the URL, ulb-exams.be, the sign-in process is the same as for the VU; support is available from the home page);
  • that you have access to the various course pages required;
  • to notify us of any problem you may encounter, by contacting uv@ulb.be.

Do not worry if the course pages are empty at the moment; links to your exams will appear in due times.
 

What will happen if there is a technical issue?


Many of you have expressed concern about the possibility of a technical problem. The ‘VU 2’ exam platform was specifically designed to handle a massive number of connections in a short time, and to minimize risks. Here is important information in case you experience issues.
  1. If a major problem occurs, whether ULB or another party is at fault (server failure or general internet failure), the teacher in charge of the course will be responsible for taking appropriate measures (e.g. only mark questions that have been completed and automatically saved, reschedule the exam, etc.) in consultation with the head of the examination board.
  2. If you experience a temporary network issue, do not panic: every time you go to the next page during a test, your answers are saved; when you sign in again, you can resume the test where you left it off.
  3. If the problem persists, phone support will be available; you will be asked to identify yourself, specify which course you are having trouble with and describe the problem. All calls will be logged. If the problem cannot be resolved, the teacher in charge of the exam will be notified and will make a decision on a case-by-case basis, taking into account your contact with the call centre and your connection logs.
  4. Lastly, it is preferable not to wait until the exact time of your exam before you sign in to the VU 2, and instead to sign in a little in advance. All you will have to do is then to open the course page when the exam starts. You should not open the page before the scheduled time, as the exam will not be published yet and will have to refresh the page in order to see it.

Important notes:
  1. For a technical issue to be considered as a valid excuse, you absolutely must:
    • have successfully tested, before the exam session, your connection to the VU 2 platform—and Teams for oral exams—; your sign-in attempts can be viewed in ULB’s server logs;
    • have contacted phone support during the exam, as mentioned in III. above.
  2. Certain students who were concerned about network problems have suggested filming themselves as they sat the exam. In addition to the legal issues this may raise, it would not be helpful: such a recording would ‘prove’ nothing and would only use up your computer’s resources, distract you and possibly cause more problems.
  3. We once again emphasize that we are aware of how exceptional these circumstances are; as a result, teachers will be encouraged to show leniency, including in the event of a legitimate technical issue.
 

Where to find help?

  • Before the exam, any issues with signing in to the VU 2 platform must be notified immediately to uv@ulb.be (reminder: you must test your connection before Sunday, May 10 at midnight).
  • If a technical problem occurs during the exam, the only number you should keep close at hand is that of the support call centre, which will be provided at the beginning of the exam session and displayed in various places (e.g. the VU 2 home page).

 

Oral exams procedure run-through 

 

With the procedure below, we will help you check that everything is in order and that you can use Microsoft Teams, which will be the platform used for most remote oral exams. If a problem occurs, we will help you solve it. 
 

Important note regarding Teams 

You may have already used Teams (or another application such as Zoom or Skype) to attend remote classes. Even if this is the case, it is essential that you make sure you are signed in to Office 365 and Teams using your ULB user ID and password. Having attended a class through Teams does not necessarily mean you will be able to sit your oral exams.
 

What equipment do I need?

You must have access to:

  • A computer, tablet or smartphone with an internet connection, a camera and a microphone.
  • Your internet connection must allow video and audio communication for the duration of each exam.
Tip: For certain exams, audiovisual communication with your professor will be enough, and a smartphone or tablet will, therefore, cover all your needs. Your professors will provide specific instructions for each exam, such as what they expect in terms of preparation on your part (e.g. show your notes on the screen, or possibly share your screen and use tools like Word and Excel). If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to ask your professor. Remember to use whatever device will bring you the most comfort and the least stress during the exam.
 

What should I do if I do not have a computer or an internet connection?

Students who do not own or have access to a computer should not hesitate to contact us: we have already loaned a number of computers to students in need! We can also help you get online. The Student Welfare Office can be reached at sse@ulb.be, before May 4, 2020.
ULB will set up rooms dedicated to remote exams, for students whose home environment does not allow them to sit exams. These rooms will offer tables, chairs and adequate Wi-Fi coverage, enabling you to sit exams using your own device. This resource will be offered only to students who absolutely need it; you must contact us in advance to book an exam room. A registration form will soon be available on MonULB.
 

What software will be used for oral exams?

Unless your professors or faculty instruct you otherwise, you will receive invitations to sit your oral exams using the Teams application, which is part of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite. As a student, you automatically have a licence for Office 365.
 

How should I prepare?

We highly recommend testing your connection using the same device that you will use during the exam.

  • If you already have Office 365 installed and already use Teams, it is still essential that you make sure you are signed in to both using your ULB user ID and password. Having attended a class through Teams does not necessarily mean you will be able to sit your oral exams. Go directly to step C.
  • Perhaps you use Office 365 regularly but are not familiar with Teams. In this case, you can check whether you can access Teams by following the instructions in step B.

  • If you have neither Office 365 nor Teams installed on your computer, follow the instructions starting with step A.

A. First, you must access your Office 365 account through https://portal.office.com/.

If you experience problems signing in, please follow the instructions at https://support.ulb.be/web/support/-/je-ne-parviens-pas-a-me-connecter-a-office-365-que-faire-. You can find a summary of the sign-in procedure at the following address: https://support.ulb.be/documents/15172/790713/info-office365-VE2.pdf

B. Then, install the Teams software application on your computer, tablet or smartphone. If you need help installing Teams, this support page can guide you through the process:
  1. Windows: https://support.ulb.be/fr/web/support/-/comment-installer-teams-sous-windows-
  2. macOS https://support.ulb.be/fr/web/support/-/comment-installer-teams-sous-mac-
Then, sign in to the Teams application with the same user ID and password you used to sign in to Office 365.

C. Lastly, make sure that Teams runs properly and that you know how to use the basic features needed for your exam: microphone, camera, screen sharing (computer only). The following support page will help you test Teams by running a number of checks: https://support.ulb.be/fr/web/support/-/comment-vérifier-que-teams-fonctionne-

If your microphone, camera and screen sharing feature work properly, you are ready to sit your exam.

Important note:

  1. The earlier you solve these technical aspects, the earlier you can start focusing on the exams themselves. For this reason, we ask that you sign in to Office 365 and install and test Teams before May 4, 2020.
  2. We recommend installing the full Office 365 ProPlus suite in addition to Teams: if your exam includes a preparation phase, you may be asked to share your screen and show notes you have prepared ahead of time (e.g. using Word). You can install Office 365 ProPlus by following the instructions here: https://support.ulb.be/web/support/-/comment-installer-office-365-proplus-. You may also use the applications’ web versions.
  3. You will receive relevant instructions for each exam (date, time, duration, etc.). Invitations to Teams sessions will be sent either as ‘Meetings’ or as ‘Calls’. In both cases, you should be available at the appropriate time, with the Teams application open on your computer. Be available 15 minutes before your exam is scheduled to start! Make sure you have your ID card and your student ID, which you must show your professor.

Tips:

  1. Do not wait until the last minute to start using the work environment you will use during the exam: there is no need to stress over both the technology and the exam at the same time!
  2. On the day of your exam, place yourself in an environment that is conducive to an oral exam: you must be visible (no backlight or excessive darkness), in as quiet a room as possible, etc. As mentioned above, be ready on time! You will probably receive additional recommendations from your professors.
 

In case of an issue

We have made efforts to provide adequate information, including through the support pages linked in this message. If, despite this, you are still experiencing problems, please follow the instructions at https://tinyurl.com/yc7y63wx. For any problem related to the organization of exams, please contact your professor, your faculty’s main office or the Teaching Department at departement.enseignement@ulb.be.
 

If you still cannot use Teams

Contact your professor to arrange an alternative method, with their approval.

Note: Using an alternative method could result in a change in your exam schedule, as your professor will be unable to use the standard procedure to send you an invitation.
 

Examinations in a classroom made available by ULB


The registration period to be granted access to a room to take your exams is now over. Indeed, a letter was sent to you on April 30th as well as a monULB app notification. 
These rooms will only be accessible to those who have registered before May 4th at 8 PM.
 
However, if your personal situation has changed or if you are facing an unforeseen emergency (internet connection cut off, construction work has begun nearby, forced relocation, etc.), you can send an email to: Salles.Examens@ulb.be.
Your request will be analyzed with great sympathy as soon as possible.
 

Do you need technical assistance during your exams?

 

Contact the hotline on +32 2 585 53 52 from 08:00 to 20:00. Don't forget to have your student card at hand.
During the examination period, a hotline will be available for students who are having trouble accessing the examination platform (Teams for oral exams, Virtual University 2 for written exams).

This hotline is available from Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 20:00 (21:00 depending on the exam schedule). All students and teachers are invited to test their connection to these platforms before the beginning of the exam session, with the equipment they will use during the session. Should you not have completed these tests, the hotline will not be able to help you as effectively as expected. You will find all the practical instructions relating to these connections here.

If you are unable to use your testing setup right before or during your exam, please call +32 2 585 53 52.

You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Surname, first name, netID, personnel number, quality/relationship with ULB (students, teacher, other)
  • Number (mnemonic) of the course in question, title, name of the professor
  • A phone number where we can call you back if necessary

You may also be asked to provide other information depending on the problem you are experiencing. Note that, in order for us to assist you as efficiently as possible, the operator you will have online may require to take control of your machine remotely. If you consent, you will be asked to run an application according to the operator's instructions.

If in spite of your best efforts, you are unable to submit your exam, the hotline will notify the academic authorities, who will make the necessary arrangements and keep you informed. At any time, you can also check the state of online platforms for your exams on this page.

Updated on May 12, 2020