Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Anchorage VEC Goes to All-Electronic Testing

Over the past few months, we've been reporting on a variety of innovations in administering amateur radio licensing exams in a time of lockdowns and social distancing. Here's the next step…
The folks who conducted the first volunteer-administered FCC amateur license exams 36 years ago now bring you the first totally online exam program. As of July 1, all exams conducted by the Anchorage Amateur Radio Club VEC (Volunteer Examiner Coordinator) have been using a web-based platform for both the tests themselves and the documents normally filled out on paper by both candidates and examiners. 

The entire process is paperless, according to an announcement by the group. "Examinees will take their examinations on a computer that is connected to the internet. All documents will be electronically completed and signed by the examinee and VEs."

"The system not only renders one-time-use examinations for each individual examinee," the announcement continues, "but also can provide a live video/audio feed using the examinee’s webcam / microphone. This feature has been utilized extensively during (the Anchorage VEC's) remote testing effort" as a result of in-person test session cancellations due to COVID-19.

In addition, the group says, "(e)xaminations are graded immediately and automatically. When video and audio monitoring is used, those data streams are recorded and become a permanent part of the examination record." 

The Anchorage ARC is also able to file test results directly with the FCC almost immediately after the end of a test session, with new licenses or upgrades issued as quickly as one hour later.