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UOC leads EU project to authenticate student identity online throughout the e-assessment process

The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) will lead the European Union innovation and research project TeSLA (Adaptive Trust-based e-assessment System for Learning), which within a few years must enable students to be assessed online at the different learning stages. The project, presented on Tuesday, 26 January, at the "Sala Europa" of the Representation of the European Commission in Barcelona, is funded by the European Commission within the European framework programme Horizon 2020.

The event, attended by Ferran Tarradellas, Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Barcelona, Marta Aymerich, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Research at the UOC and Anna Elena Guerrero, Coordinator of the TeSLA project, presented the main lines of this pioneering project, which began this January, will last three years and has a budget of seven million euros. TeSLA is one of the five projects approved by the European Commission (the only one led by a university) in a call for which 47 innovative projects were submitted.


State-of-the-art technology

The event also introduced some of the main technologies integrated and applied in learning and that will enable this innovative assessment. The system, which will be prepared by the best experts in each field, will allow the student to be identified and authorship to be authenticated thanks to state-of-the-art technology such as facial recognition, voice recognition, typing patterns or anti-plagiarism, among others.

The TeSLA consortium comprises 18 expert organizations, including eight universities, both on-site and online, three quality assurance agencies, four research centres and three technology companies from twelve countries (Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Finland, Germany, France, Mexico, Switzerland and Portugal). In total, there will be a team of around eighty professionals and eighteen months of large-scale pilot tests with the participation of over 14,000 students from Europe.

The participating universities are the UOC (Spain), the Open Universiteit Nederlands, Welten Institute (Netherlands), Sofia University and the Technical University of Sofia (Bulgaria), the Open University: Institute of Educational Technology (United Kingdom), IIR Telecom Bretagne (France), the Anadolu University (Turkey) and the University of Jyvskyl, Open University (Finland). Moreover, the quality assurance agencies are the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (Spain), the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education AISBL (Belgium) and the European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education EV (Germany), while the research centres are the University of Namur (Belgium), the Instituto Nacional de Astrofsica ptica y Electrnica (Mexico), the Fondation de l'Institut de Recherche IDIAP (Switzerland) and Imperial College London (United Kingdom). Finally, the technology companies are Protos Sistemas de Informacin (Spain), LPLUS GmbH Company (Germany) and Watchful (Portugal).


Accessible to all

Apart from the teaching and learning processes, the project works across the related ethical, technological and legal aspects, such as data protection. Moreover, it will be adapted for students with special educational needs. Once it has been developed, a standard free version of the online assessment system will be offered to education institutions and there will be a professional and commercial version for the international market.

UOC

The TeSLA project has emerged from an internal project of the UOC, which worked on it for three years. The UOC will coordinate the project given that, as an online university founded in 1994 with its own online learning environment, it has accumulated successful experience in e-teaching and e-learning processes.

The press conference to present TeSLA took place some hours before the first meeting of experts, which on 27, 28 and 29 January will bring the consortium partners together at the UOC centre in Barcelona.

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