As already announced, the summer semester 2021 will be held entirely in Distance Learning. There will only be a few exceptions for presence teaching in individual courses, which will be individually evaluated and approved by the Vice Rectorate Academic Affairs.
Of course, this step to protect everyone will again bring with it numerous challenges. In order to prevent any confusion that may accompany this, a new directive on online examinations, opens an external URL in a new window was developed in cooperation with the Admission Office, Data Protection and Document Management and the Distance Learning Team, as well as a guideline for the framework conditions of the 2021 summer semester, opens an external URL in a new window, and the previous concepts and pages were updated.
In principle, this directive does not create any new regulations but reflects the current legal situation and serves as instruction on how to implement the legal requirements and the existing study law provisions of the statutes of the TU Wien in the study and examination system in a legally compliant manner for the examinations to be conducted online due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
In order to provide you with an easier overview of the most important changes, I would like to highlight the most significant changes to the previous procedure below. These are excerpts from the Directive:
Information on the technical equipment required for participation in the examination must already be provided in the course announcement (§ 76 UG). The requirements for technical equipment must be proportionate. In any case, the requirement of two end devices with camera, e.g. laptop and smartphone, is permissible.
Students who, for example, do not have the necessary technical or spatial requirements for taking the examination can take the examination in person in the premises and with the infrastructure of the TU Wien under personal supervision, subject to the available resources. The students have to inform the examiners of this need when registering for the examination.
Recording of examinations
In principle, examinations are not to be recorded. A recording may be made by the lecturer if it is necessary as a measure within the framework of examination supervision in order to ensure proper assessment of the examination performance. If the examination is recorded, this must be announced to the students at the latest at the beginning of the registration period and the corresponding data protection information, opens an external URL in a new window must be made known to the students.
What is new is that the students' explicit consent to the recording is no longer required in this case, because we do NOT use the permissive element of consent for a possible recording of the examination, but rather the public interest (Art 6 para 1 lit e DSGVO).
If unauthorised aids are used during the examination and the examiner becomes aware of this, the student concerned must first be admonished and the admonition documented in the examination record. The warning must be given by contacting the student concerned so that the other candidates are not disturbed. Direct contact can be made, for example, by telephone, chat, breakout room or similar. If an unauthorised aid is used again, the examination is to be cancelled and assessed negatively due to the lack of possibility to determine the actual personal performance, the impossibility of taking the unauthorised aid and the associated impossibility of assessing the performance. The students have the legal protection instruments provided by law at their disposal.
For the purposes of quality assurance, preventing the use of unauthorised aids and ensuring the integrity of the student's performance, the following measures may also be taken in the case of written examinations within a maximum of four weeks from the taking of the examination (section 74(4) UG):
- use of programmes to identify plagiarism or similarities between texts (expected to be available from Easter),
- oral follow-up questions to check the plausibility of answers.
If these measures are used in the context of an examination, this must be announced in the course announcement before the beginning of the semester (§ 76 UG).
Students who are on the waiting list for an examination date must appear on the day of the examination or withdraw from the examination in due time (§ 16 para. 5 Study Law Provisions of the Statutes). The students must therefore log in to the online examination according to the respective instructions of the examiner and are in the assigned waiting room or breakout room in ZOOM until it is determined whether examination places are available.
Students who could not be assigned an examination place according to Paragraph 1 are to be examined according to the requirements in § 16 Paragraph 5 Study Regulations.
With the reference to the waiting list regulation, we hope to get a grip on the problem of the many examination places remaining vacant despite long waiting lists and to give students more security that they will receive an examination place promptly.
The updated guidelines and concept catalogues can still be found in the TU coLAB Space "Distance Learning Good Practice", opens an external URL in a new window.
Thank you for your great commitment to teaching! I wish you a productive and, above all, healthy summer semester.