Digital Learning Center supports 9,000+ student check-ins during finals week

· 4 min read

Digital Learning Center supports 9,000+ student check-ins during finals week

students checking in for exams at the digital learning commons
Troy Fedderson University Communication and Marketing
Students check in for their final exams in the Digital Learning Commons.

Since 2016, the Digital Learning Center has provided more than 45,000 university students with a flexible and convenient way to take exams.

For faculty members, the DLC offers a quick, easy and secure way to administer exams. On average, 203 faculty members use the DLC to proctor exams in the spring and fall semesters. And, it balances the unique challenge of coordinating an influx of students and exams this week, proctoring some 205 distinct finals. See below for more DLC statistics.

DLC: By the Numbers

graphic showing the DLC by the numbers
Katie Black University Communication and Marketing

  • There have been more than 9,000 registrations for fall 2022 final exams in the DLC

  • In fall 2021 and spring 2022, there was an average of 6,000 check-ins for final exams in the DLC

  • More than 1,500 exams proctored in fall 2022

  • More than 10,000 individual students utilized the DLC in fall 2022

  • More than 80,000 tests have been taken in 2022

  • 29 student workers are currently employed through the DLC

  • 47,028 students have taken a test at the DLC since its opening

  • 207 faculty members used the DLC for courses in fall 2022

  • The highest number of final exams administered was 421 in fall 2019

  • Fall 2019 also saw the most student check-ins with 78,515

The DLC provides students with convenience and flexibility through an online reservation system. Course instructors will set a window for exam dates, and students can reserve their date and time up to two weeks in advance. In case of schedule changes, students can change their reservation up to 15 minutes before their scheduled exam.

The DLC encompasses top-notch technology to ensure smooth, secure exam proctoring. Upon arrival, each student is assigned a locker to hold their personal items, as only N Cards and permitted exam materials are allowed in the exam room. The lockers are only accessible by the N Card assigned to them. Each computer station has dividers and a camera, confirming students’ identities and negating any cheating. Many exams are graded instantaneously, giving students immediate feedback on their performance. This automatic grading system saves time for professors and alleviates students of a waiting period.

“I think it’s a great service for faculty,” said Amy Barry, assistant director of academic technologies. “For those larger classes it would be impossible for them to go through and review 300 exams with their limited amount of grading time. So I think that I think our system helps with some of the realities of those types of classes and testing needs.”

The digital learning commons at night
Troy Fedderson University Communication and Marketing

The DLC was ideated after campus community members identified a need for a solution to the problems that occurred with previous testing centers. For example, there was no reservation system in the Burnett testing center, leaving students waiting in line throughout the building. There were also only 40 computers and no dividers in between stations, whereas the DLC now has 174 computers, each equipped with robust exam software.

The center has seen so much use that it warranted a second location. The original DLC exam commons is located in the southeast corner of the Adele Coryelle Hall Learning Commons. The satellite location opened in spring 2021 in the basement of Dinsdale Learning Commons.

While many universities may use systems like these for services for students with disabilities or for placement testing, it is rare for higher education institutions to have the systems available university-wide.

“I would say that centers like this are very rare for academic testing,” Barry said. “Especially thinking about our Big Ten peer institutions, testing centers that are just purely for academics and are all with computers are very rare. To my knowledge, the only other one is at Penn State.”

While the DLC saw numbers drop during the peak of COVID-19, numbers quickly rebounded. While at-home testing does provide some conveniences, the DLC provides space for students who may not have the technology capabilities and a quiet and low-distraction environment. It also employs student workers who can give immediate support in the case of technological errors.

“The utilization of the DLC allows professors to have more time to focus on teaching than having to schedule time out of the semester to take exams in class,” said Miranda McCown, the DLC exam commons manager. “We are giving back learning time to the classroom and its students.”

Recent News