How the cloud can help educational institutions with grading, assessments, and admissions
September 8, 2021: Amazon Elasticsearch Service has been renamed to Amazon OpenSearch Service. See details.
According to the World Economic Forum, as of April 2020 more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries faced school closures due to COVID-19. Educational institutions that operated on in-person model shifted many of their traditionally in-person operations and activities—including grading, assessments and testing, and admissions—to a virtual format, where many had never been before.
Educational technology (EdTech) companies around the world used the cloud to help quickly create and scale to meet the needs of these academic institutions while maintaining a consistent and smooth student experience.
Providing a smooth testing experience
Conceptwaves—an EdTech based in India and Africa—recently enhanced EduSquares, an enterprise resourcing planning (ERP) solution, with a proctoring solution. The web-based application allows proctors to virtually monitor test takers to identify real-time fraud using artificial intelligence using Amazon Rekognition. This virtual solution helps colleges and universities scale virtual test taking and improve the human proctor’s ability to monitor multiple students. The solution allows the examination to start only when launched from an approved sanitized lockdown browser.
EduSquares uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Rekognition, AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Aurora, and Amazon CloudFront. The remote proctoring solution enabled the educational institutions to conduct the exams virtually, safely, and securely. The African University implemented this solution and successfully handled about 6,000 tests. Conceptwaves is working with CISCO in building their Global Bridge 2 Education Initiatives as well.
Simak Online, an Indonesia-based EdTech provides an online education and administration platform to help parents keep track of their children’s progress in school and conduct surveys. They use Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide an online exam platform that lets teachers customize examination questions for individual students according to their competencies.
When the Indonesian government moved to transition schools to an online teaching environment, Simak Online faced increasing demand for their platform services from schools across Indonesia. To meet the rising demand, Simak Online used Aurora and Amazon EC2 to scale quickly and reliably during peak access of 45,000 concurrent users per hour to facilitate communications between parents, teachers, and students.
By migrating over 100 schools to AWS, Simak Online managed to meet increased demand for online learning, generating more than 4 million exams and over 1 million exam questions for Indonesian schools with 3 million homework tasks completed by students. Teachers save 131,259 hours from administrative examinations checks. Over 1,221 news and events-related information was also distributed.
Rizki Akmanda, chief executive officer (CEO) of Simak Online, said, “AWS Auto Scaling Amazon EC2 Spot Instances helps us meet changing student demands. It is very clear that without AWS, we would have a very hard time dealing with increased traffic.”
Elumina eLearning is helping several medical colleges successfully streamline and simplify their assessment process through their proctoring solution called, Assess-app. This is an all-in-one solution that is rapidly scalable, and secure with seamless integration. It uses Amazon EC2, PostgreSQL, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon Elasticsearch Service (Amazon ES), and Amazon S3.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) started using Assess-app for their clinical exams. Previously, they used to invite assessors for assessments and pay for their flight accommodations and other related expenses. With Assess-app, they are now able to do it virtually with 99.99 percent accuracy, saving them millions of dollars.
Providing feedback and insights on assessments
WISEflow from Denmark is an end-to-end exam and assessment platform that supports the assessment and feedback lifecycle for students, test writers, assessors and administrators. It provides easy access to create, deliver, and assess multiple types of exams and assessment, accompanied by tools for feedback, analytics, and security. WISEflow covers traditional exam and assessment formats across the different subject areas at universities and utilizes advanced technologies for creating data analytics about the exam and assessment process available to the institution.
WISEflow supports institutions before, during, and after exams; helps streamline the entire assessment process; and provides valuable insight for improvement of the student learning experience. The solution uses CloudFront, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Comprehend, Amazon Transcribe and Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) for Kubernetes. In use at higher education institutions since 2012, and last 12 month alone, students took more than 3,240,000 exams using the platform. Both K12, awarding bodies and higher education institutions such as University College London (UCL) use WISEflow.
Helping with admissions
Classlife Education, based in Spain, is an AWS EdStart Member that integrates different sets of tools within the same platform to manage everyday school tasks without duplicating effort. Among many other areas they have a specific module to manage admissions, allowing institutions to activate their protocols for admissions processes for first-year students. This allows customized capture, structure, and control of access requirements tools and protocols by stages for collecting data, coordinating interviews, and recording communications through email exchange and the resolution record from the acceptance committee.
The admissions department allows the exchange of communications and the generation of documents for downloading such as application vouchers and summary of resolutions once the process is finished. The solution uses Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon S3, Amazon ElastiCache, CloudFront, AWS Lambda, Amazon CloudWatch, and Amazon Route53. Classlife Admissions is used by Cardenal Cisneros University, Transforming Art Institute, European Sports and Health Institute, CEI International Affairs, BBI Luxembourg, and schools linked to the University of Barcelona.
Grading and scoring student work
Wizer.me, from Israel, an AWS EdStart Member, with over 5 million users, transforms any static worksheet into a smarter, interactive, differentiated worksheet by allowing easy definition of personalized learning, automatic answer checking, and more. These worksheets become exchangeable units, shared within the Wizer community of educators. Teachers create interactive digital worksheets for all their students and differentiate questions based on student profiles. Teachers can avoid wasting paper for printing or grading by hand. Teachers can save more than six hours a week on grading with automatic checking or providing oral feedback that’s recorded. K12 schools including Fairfax County Public Schools leverage the solution, which uses Aurora, Elastic Transcoder, and CloudFront.
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