How Regent Business School Delivers Moodle™-Based Exams With Open LMS
When it comes to semester exams, the stakes are high for students and institutions alike. Thousands of learners take these assessments to determine whether they will advance to the next stage of their academic careers. Many of these exams are now conducted online, making it essential that their eLearning platform can handle thousands of users testing simultaneously.
Such is the case for REGENT Business School. Located in Durban, South Africa, it specializes in business and management courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as higher certificates in a variety of subjects. Its academic calendar consists of two semesters, each of which culminates in a final examination that makes up approximately 70% of a student’s final grade. About 4,000 students take the exams concurrently each semester.
The Challenge: Find an eLearning Provider Capable of Scaling Moodle™-Based Exams and Meeting Urgent Deadlines
When nearly all of higher education went virtual in 2020, REGENT Business School moved its face-to-face learning content to its Moodle™ platform. The school had already been using Moodle™ for online learning with a local hosting partner in South Africa. However, the rapid influx of distance learners meant the provider couldn’t adequately administer REGENT’s high-stakes semester exams. The school needed to find a provider capable of meeting its technical demand without disrupting the student experience.
REGENT decided to bring their Moodle™ environment in-house and self-host using Amazon Web Services (AWS). REGENT completed a one-to-one migration of its Moodle™ content from its previous provider, ensuring the digital learning environment would remain intact. With self-hosted Moodle™, REGENT administered its June semester exam—the smaller of the two major assessments—and the school saw improvements to its testing administration.
To prepare for the larger November assessment, REGENT ramped up its Moodle™ environment, but technical difficulties occurred during the mock exam. AWS made every effort to assist REGENT in improving its testing experience, but REGENT’s self-hosted Moodle™ platform wasn’t designed to scale.
REGENT decided to give students a take-home assessment, but this wasn’t a sustainable solution. The school needed to find an eLearning provider capable of auto-scaling and delivering a smooth user experience while also remaining on the Moodle™ platform—and it needed to happen quickly.
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The Solution: Moodle™-Based Open LMS Rapidly Implements Exam Hosting
The self-hosting architecture changes REGENT Business School would have needed to leverage in order to meet demand would have taken implementation time that REGENT didn’t have. It became clear that a switch from self-hosting to a managed instance would help REGENT meet their needs more quickly. To help REGENT launch a solution prior to their next round of semester exams, AWS suggested that REGENT work with Open LMS, a differentiated member of the Amazon Partner Network (APN) with an AWS Education Competency recognition.
Open LMS’ proven customer success and specialized solutions align with AWS architectural best practices to support the academic experience of teachers and learners and improve the operational needs of administrators. To receive the designation, APN Partners must possess deep AWS expertise and undergo an assessment of the security, performance, and reliability of their solutions. These factors and its ability to scale Moodle™ made Open LMS the ideal choice to run REGENT’s exams and host its eLearning content.
In October 2022, REGENT decided to work with Open LMS. REGENT’s semester exams were scheduled for November. Open LMS had a very tight deadline to make these exams operational and avoid disrupting the students’ experience.
““The turnaround time is something I haven't experienced with other service providers,” said Irshaad Doolarkhan, Technology Consultant for REGENT Business School. “Open LMS really understood our requirements. The team is well structured and technically capable, and they’ve delivered above and beyond what we expected.””
“The turnaround time is something I haven't experienced with other service providers,” said Irshaad Doolarkhan, Technology Consultant for REGENT Business School. “Open LMS really understood our requirements. The team is well structured and technically capable, and they’ve delivered above and beyond what we expected.”
Together with Open LMS, the learning institution created a separate URL for hosting its November exams. Students were sent instructions for accessing the exam through the special testing link. The students registered with a photo ID before they could access the exam platform to give the exams an extra layer of security.
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The Results: Successful Exams Lead to a Three-Year LMS Agreement
With the help of Open LMS, REGENT Business School was ready to administer its semester exams by the first week of November 2022. Due to seamless proctoring via SMOWL, the students registered for the assessment early, giving REGENT the opportunity to track how many students were taking the exam and communicate with those who still needed to get signed up. By the second week of November, REGENT was ready to administer the assessments.
“We did all the exams with absolutely no issues,” said Doolarkhan. “We did the marking and moderating, and as soon as the exams were done and released, we started the journey of moving our entire Moodle™ environment over to Open LMS.”
The success of the November exams led to REGENT establishing a three-year partnership with Open LMS as its eLearning provider, which made REGENT Business School Open LMS’s first South African eLearning client.
““Now we can handle scale, and students are happier than they were before,” said Doolarkhan, “but we’ve got to do more than that. We've got to become masters of the student experience, and that's where Open LMS will play a very integral role.””
“Now we can handle scale, and students are happier than they were before,” said Doolarkhan, “but we’ve got to do more than that. We've got to become masters of the student experience, and that's where Open LMS will play a very integral role.”
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