Case study: Blackboard

Marking efficiency with online exams

Martin Earley – School of Nursing


As part of the pre-registration BSc Nursing course here at UCLan (year 1) curriculum, there was an Anatomy and Physiology module.  The assessment for this module was 3 online exams via Blackboard.  The cohort size was approximately 450 students.  Managing these exams was challenging, due the number of students.  However, there were some very positive attributes to having an online exam.


Firstly, with the support from the blackboard team at UCLan, all the questions were uploaded onto Blackboard and randomised.  This randomisation would not have been possible with a ‘paper’ exam.

With any assessment, there needs to be marking and waiting the 15 working days, before the marks are given to the students and even before the module leader has a full picture of how the cohort has performed.  With the online exam, the marks are available to the module leader immediately after the exam.  Also, if necessary, the marks can be given to the student immediately.  Marking is very time consuming, and the one big positive here, is the fact that the exam does not require ‘manually’ marking by the module team, this is very time efficient.