The recent guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of conducting exams of the students of the final year have led to the development of innovative exam models. In its latest guidelines, the UGC has recommended that it is important to conduct the exams of the final year/semester students. These exams have to be conducted by the academic institutions to enhance the confidence of the students.
These assessments can prove to be a gateway to the global acceptance and credibility of students. Innovative exam models are being devised by engineering institutes which will be flexible to the need of students since there is no receding of this pandemic.
For instance, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the School of Engineering (SoE) conducted the online end-semester examinations using Google Forms and Examineer.in. A two-hour MCQ examination was conducted which could be appeared for even on a smartphone.
RULES OF ONLINE EXAMINATIONS
Since all the students had access to the internet and computers, the hassle-free conduct of exams was possible. The Vice-Chancellor of JNU, M Jagdish Kumar said that there is no fixed question paper format in offline examinations.
The higher cognitive skills of the students are tested in their evaluation patterns. This same approach is used in the online platform too. The only difference is the platform.
The Vice-Chancellor said that a blend of online and offline exams will be used by JNU in the future. This will depend on the demand for the courses.
Kumar added that they will use every available opportunity and tool to engage students constructively in learning-teaching processes. They will undertake this since the primary focus of all the educational institutes is helping the students in completing their academic requirements and moving on to the next academic session. The education institutes also must ensure that the students do not suffer from stress or anxiety about their future.
A TALK ON THE TELEPHONE
Due to connectivity issues, online exams have proved to be a challenge at IIT-Guwahati. But this has not proved to be a deterrent for the institute from facilitating different exam models. A spokesperson of the institute said that connectivity is a major challenge in our campus because it is surrounded by hills and heavy rainfall is there every monsoon.
The open book format is used for most of their online exams. The PPTs, class notes, and worksheets are mailed to the students. The duration of the exams is variable. A telephonic test is conducted for all those students who are in remote areas. The students are called personally and their exam is conducted personally.
In some cases, the exam takes 24 hours also where the students are required to mail their answers and complete their exams online. In the telephonic exams, the students are asked for descriptive answers rather than MCQ which forces them to think and then attempt the question.
‘I’ GRADE AWARDED FOR AN INCOMPLETE ASSESSMENT
An option of ‘I’ grade is also available at the institute. This can be awarded if there are serious network/electricity or physical/mental issues. The reassessment of the ‘I’ grade will be completed once the academic activities are resumed at the institute. For handling exam related issues arising due to the lockdown, an ‘Academic Grievances Cell’ has been set up.
BANDWIDTH A NEGLIGIBLE ISSUE
At the Vellore Institute of Technology, the online assessment was a part of the academic life even before the lockdown. A professor at VIT, Vellore, Govinda K said that digital pads were provided by the institute to the students. To avail of this facility, the students were expected to be present at the campus. But the institute has now resorted to conducting the exams through Microsoft Teams following the lockdown. This was decided since many students cannot afford their own digital pads. Only a few students of the university will be considered for re-examination if the need arises because of bandwidth issues.
He also said that social media is not an option as an exam tool since it is very sensitive to operate.