Designing a Secure Exam Management System (SEMS) for M-Learning Environments

Designing a Secure Exam Management System (SEMS) for M-Learning Environments


M-Learning has enhanced the e-learning by making the learning process learner-centered. However, enforcing exam security in open environments where each student has his/her own mobile/tablet device connected to a Wi-Fi network through which it is further connected to the Internet can be one of the most challenging tasks. In such environments, students can easily exchange information over the network during exam time. This paper aims to identify various vulnerabilities that may violate exam security in m-learning environments and to design the appropriate security services and countermeasures that can be put in place to ensure exam security. It also aims to integrate the resulting secure exam system with an existing, opensource and widely accepted Learning Management System (LMS) and its service extension to the m-learning environment, namely “the Moodbile Project”.

PROJECT OUTPUT VIDEO: (Click the below link to see the project output video):


  • The classical approach to perform e-exams involves providing specific exam centers equipped with machines configured with static security policy to be used only for exam purposes. This approach brings about the cost of creation and upkeep of the environment, and continuous underutilization thereof.
  • Also, such policies cannot be applied in m-learning environments where the students’ mobile/tablet devices are meant to be used for general purposes, e.g. Internet browsing or e-book reading, as well as for the sake of exams. Using students’ mobile devices as exam stations offers the advantages of low cost, more exam takers at the same time, and no need for a wired network. Thus, a dynamic security policy is needed in this case with an appropriate enforcing mechanism.


  • Moodbile Project does not address the security and privacy issues related to conducting exams in m-learning environment, and neither does the Moodle Quiz Engine which emphasizes only on the learning process not on securing the examination process.
  • The “Secure Exam Environment” described in existing supports exams based on Moodle to be taken by students on laptops. The system denies access to local files and Internet, but allows the use of certain programs like Excel and Java applications. Students have to connect their laptops to the wired LAN and boot from a USB drive or DVD.
  • Other e-exam systems developed based on mobile platforms with wireless access lack proper security considerations and exam management functions.


  • This paper aims to design a Secure Exam Management System (SEMS) that meets the distinct security requirements of m-learning environments and to integrate it with the current Moodle/Moodbile platform. This will result in a complete LMS that is both equipped with secure exam services and suitable for m-learning. Our intention of integrating SEMS with a well-known LMS such as Moodle is so to get the benefits of Moodle’s readymade services in other learning aspects such as course material administration, documentation, etc.
  • However, the proposed SEMS can also work as a standalone secure exam management system for mlearning environments without integration with Moodle.
  • We need to develop a new Quiz Engine that can be deployed as a service oriented application, so that its services can be consumed by a mobile application designed to cater to m-learning specific security requirements. As well, it should be integratable with Moodle/ Moodbile in order to have a complete LMS which suites the m-learning environment and addresses all of its security issues.


  • To the best of our knowledge, this issue has not yet been addressed by any previous work for the same environment.
  • Enabling the teacher to specify a subject’s exam properties such as: Date and Time, Duration, Percentage of level A, level B, and level C questions in the exam paper, etc. through an appropriate interface (Subject’s Exam Setup Interface).
  • Securely authenticating and enrolling students, using any of the well-known secure authentication mechanisms, into exams at the pre-defined date and time through the Exam Enrollment Interface.
  • Multifactor authentication can be adopted for stronger security.
  • Creating exam instances by random distribution of exam questions to the enrolled students’ mobile/ tablet devices according to the predefined exam properties such as percentage of each question level. This means that questions are not going to reach students in the same order.


Designing a Secure Exam Management System (SEMS) for M-Learning Environments


  • Student Module
  • Teacher Module
  • Admin Module


Student Module:

  • This Module is developed in Client Side (Android).
  • Here students register and logins to write exams.
  • Students by typing exam name can write the appropriate exams.
  • Students after writing exams can view their results using the Secret key generated at the time of registration..
  • Student have to memorise their secret key to view their own results

Teacher Module:

  • This Module is developed in Client Side (Android).
  • View all the students results.
  • Schedules exam and inform the students about exam by sending messages through WHATSAPP

Admin Module:

  • This module is developed in Server Side (PHP).
  • View all the student details.
  • Immediately removes the student name from table after the completion of exams.
  • So the student can’t access again.
  • Views all the student results and can remove the secKey so that student can view.
  • The result only for particular period of time.
  • Views all the teachers details



  • System : Pentium Dual Core.
  • Hard Disk : 120 GB.
  • Monitor : 15’’ LED
  • Input Devices : Keyboard, Mouse
  • Ram : 1 GB


  • Operating system : Windows 7.
  • Coding Language : Android,JAVA
  • Toolkit : Android 2.3 ABOVE
  • IDE :         Eclipse
  • Server Sid : PhP


Mustafa Kaiiali, Armagan Ozkaya, Halis Altun, Hatem Haddad, Marc Alier, “Designing a Secure Exam Management System (SEMS) for M-Learning Environments”, IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 2016.

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