Brunel University’s ‘bring your own device’ exams win Advance HE award

The team behind the digital examinations will showcase the scheme to more than 40 other universities

Brunel University’s ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) exams model has won a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE).

Advance HE, which awards the CATEs, recognised fourteen other teams from higher education institutions across the UK.

The BYOD scheme, which allows students to use their own laptops to sit exams, was piloted in 2015 for sport science exams. This year, an estimated 2,700 students across a range of disciplines utilised the scheme.


Read more: Advance HE announce CATE winners


Nationally, it has captured the imagination of many universities that, like us, are seeking to use technology for the benefit of students and staff
– Prof Mariann Rand-Weaver

Prof Mariann Rand-Weaver, vice-provost for education at Brunel, said: “We’ve been able to show a demonstrable benefit to various stakeholders – students can type their exam answers using a familiar medium, academic staff no longer have to struggle to read handwritten answers, and professional staff have fewer administrative tasks.

“Nationally, it has captured the imagination of many universities that, like us, are seeking to use technology for the benefit of students and staff.”

The scheme, which currently covers the college of engineering, design and physical sciences and the college of health and life sciences, is due to be rolled out to the college of business, arts and social sciences next year.

Rand-Weaver said digital examinations could “go beyond replicating pen-and-paper exams digitally” and universities could soon “design authentic assessments that develop skills and attributes required for successful careers”.

Brunel is showcasing the scheme to 32 institutions at workshops and conferences and a further 11 are visiting the university to observe the exams, with view to emulating the trial elsewhere.

The team found no discernible negative effect on exam performance and no obvious correlation between someone’s typing speed and the grade they achieved.


Got a news story for UB? Contact James Higgins on 0117 300 5526