In the COVID-19 era, more of the world is moving online.
The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) — the world’s largest global provider of wine, spirits and sake qualifications — has introduced online exams. These lessons are for WSET’s English language Level 1 Awards in Wines, Spirits and Sake, and Level 2 Awards in Wines and Spirits.
The online classrooms are available beginning June 1.
This development forms part of WSET’s ongoing digital strategy, enabling as many students as possible to continue with their learning during the current COVID-19 crisis.
Although students can currently take the majority of WSET courses online, until now they have had to sit an offline exam to complete a WSET qualification. With social distancing guidelines in place across most of the world, many exams have been cancelled or postponed until the situation changes. The introduction of online exams means that students can now study for, and complete, WSET’s English language Level 1 and 2 qualifications from home.
WSET’s online exams are carried out using remote invigilation. Remote invigilation enables students to sit their exam at home on a computer while monitored via webcam, screen-sharing technology and a secondary recording device (usually a smartphone). The remotely invigilated online exams in English have been successfully piloted, the organization says, and will roll out through WSET’s network of 800 plus course providers across the world.
Students will still have the option to sit a traditional paper-based classroom exam if that is their preference. WSET is also continuing to develop computer-based testing to enable students to sit exams online in the classroom with their local course provider.
“I am really excited that, with these latest developments, we can now offer our course providers and students a 360-degree digital learning experience at a time when traditional classroom education is very challenging or impossible,” says Ian Harris, WSET CEO. “The integrity of our exams is of the utmost importance to us and we are confident that the award-winning remote invigilation system we have in place meets our stringent standards. At a time when many people in the industry have much more time at their disposal, it’s great that they can choose to upgrade their drinks knowledge, studying and qualifying for a WSET qualification without leaving home.”
“Online programs are never going to completely replace the classroom environment,” he adds, “but they give us another very important string to our bow in the short-term, and will be a valuable add-on for us to offer in the longer term, extending the global reach of WSET in the post-COVID era.”