International University IULM moves to Questionmark’s next-generation assessment management system
The International University of Languages and Media (IULM), founded in 1968, is ranked among the world’s best locations for international students. Based in Milan, Italy, IULM serves approximately 5,000 students representing many different nationalities. Students are enrolled across a range of postgraduate and undergraduate courses including interpretation, translation and cultural studies; communication, public relations and advertising, and arts and tourism.
IULM implemented Questionmark’s Assessment Management System in 2007. For almost 10 years the university relied on Questionmark On-Premise to efficiently create and deliver valid and reliable assessments to students across the university, before, during and after learning. In August 2016 IULM decided to further improve the way they managed their assessment program and moved to Questionmark OnDemand (Questionmark’s SaaS cloud-based solution).
“Our teachers liked using Questionmark; we didn’t want to change that,” says Patrizia Lettieri, the digital platform administrator in the university’s IT department, “but there was definitely a need for a more scalable and innovative solution that would match the direction the university was headed in terms of growth. Security and reporting were also very important to us and there is nothing on par with Questionmark OnDemand in regards to security and reporting."
Before going live with Questionmark OnDemand, IULM were set up with a test area to try out the platform. With everything working as anticipated, in August 2016 IULM moved to the next-generation assessment management system, Questionmark OnDemand (Questionmark’s SaaS cloud-based solution).
A big draw for IULM in using Questionmark was the ease of use when it came to assessment authoring and improving the way items are written. Patrizia elaborates: “The variety of item types and ability to embed images, videos and links into our questions and feedback enable us to further develop the way we are helping our students to learn. Meta tagging of items is also very simple. It enables us to differentiate our difficult questions from the easier ones. Before using OnDemand we had to separate these into different folders and our teachers used to delete items that were invalid. Now we can easily assign the appropriate meta tags and modify the status of questions to retired if they are invalid.” These features offer ILUM more efficient management of their item bank.
Before using Questionmark OnDemand IULM had a few challenges when it came to assessing large numbers of students. “Students would have to begin their assessments in groups of 5 to 10 at a time, and in a classroom of 100 students this just wasn’t practical,” explains Patrizia. With OnDemand, IULM can reliably deliver their assessments to multiple classes of students. And in the event that something does go wrong -- such as a power cut or other technical failure -- Questionmark’s save-as-you-go is there to ensure student answers are automatically saved at regular intervals. “My priority is the students; they are our customers and I want them to be comfortable,” adds Patrizia. “With OnDemand everything runs smoothly and our students are more comfortable and confident when taking their assessments.”
It used to be that every day, staff and students at the university were having to interact with a variety of applications requiring individuals to remember different credentials for the various applications. “With Questionmark OnDemand, we were able to take advantage of single sign-on (SSO). For a forward-thinking technological university, improving access for both students and staff just made sense for us.” SSO also saves IULM time on the administrative side. Once students have completed their studies and leave the university, staff no longer have to remove their access to each application but only need to remove each student’s identity provider account. Without that account, the student can no longer log on to any of the linked applications.
Being an international university, having students who speak different languages is a common scenario. Questionmark’s multilingual delivery helps IULM accommodate students whose first language is not Italian or English by enabling them to change the delivery interface to their preferred language. Having the navigation controls in a participant's own language can often make students feel more at ease during the test taking experience.
“So far our experience of Questionmark’s next-generation assessment management system has been very positive," says Patrizia. "It has saved us time, solved many problems for us and continues to provide us guaranteed stability. We also have the ability to check on performance at status.questionmark.com. If Questionmark continues to perform in the way it has, we hope to expand it into some of the other faculties at the university.”