Solutions Lab 32: Oral vivas, online, at scale: Transforming the assessment experience

For many disciplines, the fact that remote, online learning prevents invigilated examinations is a difficult problem to overcome. Early in the pandemic experience, remote proctoring tools emerged as a viable solution, but they have received strong criticism on grounds of discrimination, ethics and efficacy. Another possible solution is to use an oral viva, but many staff are daunted by the practicality of making it work at scale, especially where students have not experienced this kind of assessment in the past.

In this session, Tracy Denning (SHBS) shows how she has successfully introduced oral vivas to her large Anatomy course, using breakout rooms in Collaborate Ultra. Working with a team of 5 markers, she has effectively introduced two 5 minute vivas (in weeks 6 and 10), to assess one of the key learning outcomes of the course: The ability to use appropriate anatomical terminology for communication with health professionals. Tracy explains how she developed and implemented the VIVA assessments and the resources she provided to students to ensure they knew what to expect in this new assessment environment. In reflecting on this initiative, she will share the key successes and areas that were challenging. Tracy also provided insight into the student experience of the VIVA in terms of their performance and reflections. She will conclude with some ideas for developing and adapting the approach in future years/contexts.

The video below is an edited version of the session, Q&A and technical glitches removed.

SlidesSolutions Lab 32

Sample performance videos produced for students:

Additional Resources

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