Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - E-Assessment

Oral exam at a distance

Oral examinations take place within the framework of (module) final examinations (usually non-public) and defences (usually public). They can also be conducted as digital examinations with the help of information and communication technologies.


The context of digital oral (as well as multimedia) examinations is specified by the ZSP-HU (§ 96a paragraph 1):

"The form of a final module examination specified in a subject-specific examination regulation in accordance with § 96 paragraph 7 (i.e. multimedia examination) and 8 (i.e. oral examination), as well as a defence in accordance with § 97 paragraph 7, may be conducted in whole or in part with the aid of a video conference; [...]"


If an oral examination is to or must be conducted at a distance, this can only be implemented by using a camera and microphone in the (private) environment of the students (and the lecturers). This is a distance examination with the right to choose.

Selection of video conferencing software

The CMS recommends using the Zoom video software with end-to-end encryption (E2EE), which is also integrated in Moodle. In order to use E2EE, the client, i.e. the app, must have been downloaded. Otherwise, it is possible to use Zoom via the browser, but there is then no data-secure connection because the E2EE is missing.

If there are concerns about using Zoom, the BigBlueButton software can also be used. It is also integrated as an activity in Moodle, but unlike Zoom, it is more dependent on the performance of everyone's computers in use. This is not an obstacle for digital examinations with small simultaneous numbers of participants, such as oral examinations.

Planning, conducting and evaluating the oral examination

In contrast to written digital examinations, it is not necessary to set up an examination course in the examination Moodle. In the case of larger cohorts, it would nevertheless be worth considering whether it might make sense to bring together all examinees and the examination protocols in one course. This would ensure the long-term storage of exams and their results centrally via the CMS.

If the oral digital examination is conducted outside a Moodle examination course, the examination is conducted and evaluated in the usual (analogue) way.

In principle, this form of oral examination requires clarification in advance regarding the right to choose, data protection and necessary technology (camera, microphone, software, computer, stable internet). In particular, the technology and how to use it should be tested before the examination so that a candidate does not press the wrong "button", e.g. "Leave meeting", due to excitement during the examination.