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Posted in October 2012

MapleTA – developments over the summer

The past couple of months digital examination in Maple TA has made a giant leap forwards. The server is upgraded to accommodate  750 students taking an exam concurrently. The security level has significantly improved and tested and we have been able to create two large exam rooms containing respectively 225 and 250 seats. During the first week of October first year students in Mechanical Engineering and Maritime Engineering inaugurated the new setting, taking mid terms each day.

Computer exam room "Drebbelweg 2"
Computer exam room “Drebbelweg 2”


At the end of June the board of education directors requested a pilot to show whether it would be possible to scale the MapleTA exam system to 700 concurrent students. This boosted the existing project ‘digital testing campus wide’ towards ‘a grand finale’. All the necessary disciplines, Education and Student Affairs (Scheduling Affairs), Facility Management, Teaching Staff,  IT operations and  IT development got together to discuss the whole process of digital testing and find solutions to the defined problems.

Exam rooms

The former PMB hall in IO was transformed into 3 concatenated rooms with a total of 225 seats and exam room Drebbelweg 2 was chosen to be converted into a computer exam room with 250 seats. PMB hall has pc’s that can be used for both education and exams. During an exam period the pc rooms are not available for other activities, so IT can guarantee the hardware is checked and repaired if necessary. Drebbelweg 2 is  equipped with laptops and an upgrade of the wireless network. This exam room will be converted to a digital exam room during exam periods.

These exam rooms are available for all faculties.


A complete new secure environment was designed, tested and implemented. The exam server can only be reached through a secure connection, https and is only available from within the campus network. This secure layer prevents students from using internet, home directories or other applications, students can only login to the computer with the exam account and the exam can only be made from the exam room.

At the moment it is only possible to run MapleTA in this secure environment. We plan to add applications to this environment so they can be used within this secure environment either with or without MapleTA.


After summer long working hard to get everything in place. Monday, 1 October, at nine in the morning, the first group of 460 3mE students took a test in Calculus. Though there were some problems getting started, the exam session ran quite smooth. Establishing that the concept worked. On tuesday and wednesday some server capacity issues became apparent. Causing up to 15% of the students to turn to a paper copy. Fortunately the last two exams ran smoothly.


If you would like to know more about the new situation or digital testing in general, don’t hesitate to contact me.

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