Intelligent Issue 12 | Page 27


// PREDICTIVE INTELLIGENCE // reach any location and it ’ s relatively easy to scale our infrastructure to grow as demand grows . You can access the platform anywhere in the world and in these travel restricted times , we can reach clients anywhere in the world with one of the many online conferencing tools available . We never thought we could sell to complete strangers online using Zoom or MS Teams but it ’ s amazing what you can do when you have to !

How has COVID-19 impacted your business and how have you adapted ?
COVID-19 has of course impacted on us pretty significantly . We can try to get round it and reach our customers as mentioned above , but there ’ s another thing with examinations : candidates don ’ t want to be sitting together in an exam room so much these days . Organisations want to use Remote Proctoring tools so they can run examinations in a location that the candidate chooses .
Remote Proctoring applications can lock the candidate computer down and monitor their activity as a proctor ( invigilator ) would in a physical exam room . We have therefore had to engage with tech companies who have already developed Remote Proctoring applications in order to integrate with them so that we can offer this option for running secure tests . Typically , our clients select the Web Proctoring company they want to work with , and we then work with them to deal with the application integration in the background . Then secure , online tests can be run anywhere in the world and not just in bricks and mortar test centres .
Can you offer advice to educational organisations keen to include assessment technology into their strategies ?
The prospect of managing learning and assessment has become rather harder in one sense but accelerated by the impact of COVID-19 in another . So , for any organisation looking at developing its assessment capabilities , it has to consider how Minerva fits into its existing estate , while also thinking about the kinds of assessments it wants to develop or transition into the platform .
You can just use Minerva as an end-toend platform that will deliver all of your assessment requirements , but it ’ s often the case that organisations have existing Learning Management Systems , HR systems , student administration systems and so on , that have to be connected together to deliver a positive user experience on the one hand , and yet with business processes that can be managed by the back office team on the other . So , it ’ s often a case of starting with some strategic thinking and planning out what the organisation wants to achieve and what needs to change to make that happen . A classic change management project I guess ! We like to feel that our experience can help save a lot of time and money for our clients by starting with a realistic plan that has clear benefits as deliverables .
How far will technology play an important role in the future of education ?
And the thing is , this technology won ’ t go away even if COVID-19 does . Educational organisations are going to have to continue to deal with these change management issues regardless . Of course , students will want to go back to lectures and have tutorials and so on , but the access to online learning and assessment that has jumped forward in the last couple of years has already become a standard part of education for schools , universities , employers and exam boards alike .
What key piece of advice would you offer other tech start-ups ?
Looking back over the last couple of years and thinking about how we have been engaging with our clients , sure , the clichés about knowing what problem you are solving and who your customers are , remain true . That ’ s why they ’ re cliches !
But you do need to have something original to offer as well and with Minerva , deciding to make complex assessment processes both automated and easy to configure and run , has proved to be a great narrative to take to the market . Have that thing , understand who your customers are and the problems they need to solve , and well , you have a good chance of making it . �
Simon Beeston , Director of Assessment , Minerva

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