After inclement weather during final exams of fall 2018 canceled exams for all of Monday and Tuesday morning, many students found themselves waiting in line for hours the rest of the week to take exams at the DELTA Testing Center.
Tim Petty, associate vice provost for Online and Distance Education, said that DELTA staff members were surprised at the number of students that were waiting to take their exams.
“We were caught by surprise on Wednesday morning [Dec. 12] when students lined up outside the building, waiting to check in for their exams, well before the Centennial Campus Test Center opened [at 8 a.m.],” Petty said.
Ivy Morrison, a first-year graduate student studying physiology, said that she got to campus early and still had hundreds of people waiting ahead of her in the queue.
“I got to campus at about 10, but I had woken up at eight because I figured it would be a really long wait,” Morrison said. “[There were] 343 people in front of me, and I thought it would’ve been shorter considering I got here really early,” Morrison said.
Other students expressed frustration at the process, such as Ty West, a fourth-year studying business.
“The testing center opened at 8 o’clock this morning; we all got on our phones at 8 o’clock and signed in for our exams, and there were already 500 students ahead of us, so this is a terrible system,” West said.
Petty said that in the past years, daily average wait times at the Centennial Campus Test Center ranged between one and three minutes.
“The average wait-time between check-in and starting an exam at the Centennial Campus Test Center was 91 minutes on Tuesday [Dec. 11, 2018], and 169 minutes on Wednesday [Dec. 12, 2018],” Petty said. “A peak average wait-time of 279 minutes was recorded for students who checked in at the Centennial Campus Test Center between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. on Wednesday [Dec. 12, 2018].”
After the initial first days of the long wait times, according to Petty, Senior Vice Provost Tom Miller decided to deploy a beta check-in app that had been previously tested at the Cox Hall Test Center. This allowed students to check-in on their phones, rather than wait in line to check-in at a kiosk.
“Yes, it was very effective,” Petty said. “Using the mobile web app, students were able to check-in for their exams without waiting in line outside the building first. With the mobile check-in app activated, no lines formed outside the Venture IV building for the duration of final exams [Monday, Dec. 10 through Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018]. The mobile check-in app reduced or eliminated waiting to check in and made it unnecessary for anyone to line up outside in the cold again.”
Petty also said that DELTA testing centers will switch to appointment-only, so students will be guaranteed time to take their exams and will no longer have to wait. Faculty have been told to alert students on their course syllabus about the change in DELTA Testing Center test times.
“Beginning this semester, DELTA test centers have switched all testing to appointment-only, so each student will have a guaranteed time to take their exam, with minimal or no waiting. The decision to switch to appointment-only testing was made in late November ,” Petty said. “The Centennial Campus Test Center is in a privately owned building and at peak times, walk-in testing was disrupting the business of other tenants. DELTA worked with the property management company on a plan to reduce the disturbance. Testing by appointment was part of the plan as it will distribute traffic to and from the test center more evenly throughout the day”.