2022: A big year for Cirrus and e-assessment

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As 2022 year comes to a close, we would like to wish each and every one of our customers, partners, and friends a very happy holiday and all the best for 2023! We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and feedback, helping us make Cirrus an even better platform for you. We we are so proud to take a look at what an amazing 2022 we have had here at Cirrus!

Cirrus innovates!

Our New Year’s resolution is always “keep innovating”, and in 2022, we did just that. We: 

  • Implemented Universal Language Service to upgrade our foreign language testing.
  • Got ISO 27001 certified: ISO 27001:2013 is an international security standard that governs best practices for how organisations manage their data. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent organisation that sets global standards for security and safety. It outlines how companies should handle information security risks by creating an information security management system (ISMS). The standard is voluntary, but Cirrus, with the leadership of Jeroen Habets, worked tirelessly to earn this gold standard for security.
  • Released Remarking: Sometimes candidates don’t always get the results they hoped for. Remarking means that your candidate’s exams can be flagged to be marked a second time. To ensure that everything was examined correctly. For example when a student wishes to appeal their grade, remarking will be the feature to use. This new feature means fairer, more accurate exam results, and happier, more confident students.
  • Released Turnitin Integration against plagiarism: We entered into a partnership with Turnitin, a leading provider of academic integrity and assessment solutions. The partnership introduces two game-changing integrations that offer Cirrus customers even more options to promote test taker integrity: Turnitin Similarity–an important tool against copy/paste plagiarism and student collusion, and Turnitin Originality–a solution designed to address emerging trends in academic misconduct, such as contract cheating.
  • Started the new table component roll-out: By 2023, all table components will be replaced. The new table design acts as a blueprint for how tables throughout the platform will look and behave. The completely redesigned table allows for customisation of the columns you would like to see – in addition to vastly improving ordering, sorting, filtering, and searching. We are proud that our customers will be able to manage their content in a more personalised way that suits their needs.
  • Introduced Keycodes: Students can now start their exams using a unique code, without needing to log in to Cirrus.
  • Improved Score Reports: We are constantly aiming to improve and streamline our processes for our customers, and this means an upgraded Results screen. Previously, when going to Reports, there was a selection screen with Candidate Results and Assessment Performance. This has now become just one page with two tabs: Results and Performance. Moreover, this is the first place where you can work with the new table component.
  • Improved Scheduling, including Proctorio settings per Schedule. 
  • Implemented Cirrus-Blackboard integration via LTI 1.3: This integration allows you to integrate Cirrus as a “Tool” in any LTI 1.3 compatible LMS or Platform such as Blackboard. From the LMS, candidates can launch directly into their Cirrus Dashboard or directly into their exam. Instructors (Authors) can launch directly into Cirrus, all with a Single-Sign-On, keeping it as secure as possible. This has greatly improved the user experience and flow, and reduced administration time and cost.

We are so proud of the upgrades and new integrations we have rolled out, and look forward to the future. We have plenty up our sleeves and can’t wait to show you what 2023 holds!

AKAD wins!

We’d like to recognise our customer AKAD University in Germany for winning the eLearning AWARD 2022 in the Assessment category! Their implementation of a reliable proctoring solution enables students to take exams anytime, anywhere, in combination with the Cirrus platform! Read the details of the project here

University of Pretoria x Cirrus at the E-ATP Conference in London

Any day that we get to partner up with one of our clients and show off a joint accomplishment is a good day! On June 21st of this year, we joined forces with the University of Pretoria at the E-ATP Conference in London to present our case study.

Together with Detken Scheepers and Dr. Wimpie Beeken of the University of Pretoria and our own CEO Vegard Sivertsen, we teamed up to share tips and best practices on how to successfully implement a digital exam platform that over 50,000 of their students use.

In 2021, Cirrus Assessment and the University of Pretoria collaborated to centralise computer-based assessment data banks on various campuses into one central software solution. The successful implementation demonstrates that with the proper preparation, centralising assessment can be a smooth process with minimal risk. 

We highlighted the importance of a dedicated team to make the implementation process as smooth as possible. With a well-defined project plan, complete stakeholder buy-in, and a fantastic project team, the execution of what can be a monumental task is a breeze.

Cirrus is making moves…literally!

Cirrus is expanding, so it was time to pack up the old office on Jansdam 2, and move to Spaces! This was determined after a lengthy search for a new office location that could meet our current and future needs and we are pleased about our cozy (or gezellig as we say in Dutch) new space.

The new office has more spacious co-working areas and will be a much more fun place for us to collaborate and build our teams here at Cirrus. It is located a short walk from Utrecht’s Centraal Station, along the picturesque and world-famous Oudegracht canal. 

In this new space, we will expand, grow, and consistently innovate with fresh, creative ideas. We are so proud to call Spaces, and Utrecht, home!

A fresh new look

In addition to moving to a brand new office, we were so excited to launch a new company logo, colors, and website as part of the ongoing evolution of Cirrus’ brand.

Our business has grown and evolved since 2013. No longer the rag-tag up and comers of e-assessment, we felt it was time for a change. We have refreshed our logo to reflect who we are today and to symbolize our future.  Cirrus’ Founder and CEO Vegard Sivertsen explains, “We are maturing as a company, growing quickly and looking at who we are and want to be. So we have done countless interviews with customers. We have talked to market experts. We have analysed where the market is now, where it’s going, and how Cirrus fits in there. What brings customers value? We have looked at our value proposition, how we want to be perceived in the market, and a visual identity that reflects that value proposition. 

“One of the things we’ve always been about is quality. And at the same time, the company’s innovative nature means we are a groundbreaker regarding exciting solutions in the platform, which is reflected in the new branding. The new colours and logo represent Cirrus’ vision and focus: The purple colour represents quality and professionalism, while the orange colour is daring and embodies our innovative nature. It also coincides with orange being the national colour of our homebase, the Netherlands. It’s a very nice representation of who we want to be and what we strive toward daily.”

We are also glad to introduce our new website to present ourselves better and create a clear picture of how our tech meets e-assessment, and our presence in the world of education.

Conferences galore!

With Covid restrictions lifted, we decided that a jam-packed, in-person conference schedule was just what we needed to kick things into high gear.

ATP March 2022

At the ATP conference in Orlando in March, we gave a presentation with our longtime partner and wonderful client, Chartered Accountants Ireland, to discuss how the pandemic precipitated the need to move away from testing centers. 

To illustrate the importance of moving away from pen-and-paper to digital testing, we presented the case study that ended up winning us the E-Assessment Award for ‘Best Transformational Project’. Faced with the rising costs of testing centers and the fast-paced demands of a world going digital, Chartered Accountants Ireland knew they needed to make an enterprising decision to transform their institution and approached Cirrus. 

Instead of a 2 year rollout to switch from testing centers to online exams, Covid forced them to require the switch to be done in 2 months.  Never one to back down from a challenge, Cirrus got to work right away. We were so proud to share our story at ATP. Read our ATP 2022 conference recap here.

e-Assessment Conference June 2022

At the International e-Assessment Conference in London, we presented a case study with Detken Scheepers and Dr. Wimpie Beeken of University of Pretoria. We went into more detail above, but we shared our top tips and advice on how to implement an e-assessment platform successfully.

HEITSA September 2022

Off to South Africa Cirrus goes! We were proud to be a platinum sponsor this year of the HEITSA (High Education IT South Africa) spring conference. We assisted South African universities on their journey toward professionalisation through good IT solutions. Our CEO Vegard Sivertsen gave a presentation on streamlining the assessment process and preparing students for the skill sets necessary to thrive in the 21st century. 

As Professor Andrew Crouch, the Vice-Chancellor of Sol Plaatje University hosting HEITSA mentioned in the conference’s opening speech:

“Students should always be connected with each other. On campus, students have access to everything so they can connect to everything. But outside physical universities, students also need to be able to connect easily. Sol Plaatje, therefore, stands for Digital Empowerment: By embracing new technologies that help students everywhere learn and grow, we are creating the hybrid university of the future.”

We are proud that as a platinum sponsor of HEITSA, we were able to contribute in our way to this important discussion about digital empowerment.

E-ATP October 2022

At E-ATP 2022 London, we chatted with the industry’s best about hot topics such as transforming the exam process from in-person to remote, micro-credentialing, and powerful features that will allow for safer and more robust exams. Read the e-ATP 2022 conference recap here.

ICE Exchange October 2022

And finally, it was off to the land of shrimp n’ grits, moss-covered oak trees, and southern hospitality – Savannah, Georgia, for the Institute of Credentialing Excellence’s EXG 2022! From October 17-20, the conference was abuzz with some of the hottest topics in credentialing: enhancing diversity and inclusion, maximising fairness in testing, and ensuring safety and security. 

At Cirrus, we have been incredibly excited about micro-credentialing, especially, which has been the talk of the town in the e-assessment industry. Micro-credentialing is the solution to lifelong learning, staying relevant in an ever-evolving job market, and providing equal opportunities to everyone – regardless of demographic and economic opportunities. We were keen to share our exciting developments and hear fresh ideas from leaders in accrediting.

Cirrus grows!

We were so happy to add new members to our team this year! We welcomed new customer success manager Jad Kaddour, who has been invaluable in training new Cirrus users and supporting them in creating, delivering and marking better digital exams. On the marketing side, Dani van Weert joined the team to take Cirrus’ marketing communications to the next level. 

All in all, it’s been a successful and eventful year and we can’t wait to see what 2023 brings for e-assessment! 

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Cristina Gilbert
Copywriter and digital content enthusiast, Cristina is motivated by the fast-paced world of e-assessment and the opportunities online exams give students to thrive.
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