As more and more colleges look to enable online learning and examinations, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Bhubaneswar has developed a state-of-the-art technology for conducting all types of exams online, including class tests and end-semester examinations for the institute.
The institute has assured that the system plugs the loopholes of the existing system by adding virtual proctors and invigilators. Unlike traditional systems where a student has to come to an examination centre equipped with computers, here a student can take the exam from home or anywhere across the globe.
RV Raja Kumar, director of IIT Bhubaneswar, explained that it creates a virtual examination hall with actual invigilators, online question paper distribution and submission/reception of soft copies of answer books that may be printed later as well. The new examination system has been tested by holding a mock test of 31 subjects involving close to 240 students across the country and 20 invigilators. It uses two or more network connections for the reliability of the connections, and an additional facility for proctoring for reliable invigilation.
While IIT Bhubaneshwar has enabled the new system, not all IITs are on board with such plans. With the lack of adequate infrastructure, holding online classes a massive task, let alone online examinations. Talking to Inc42, a professor from one of the prominent IIT, on the condition of anonymity, highlighted that a significant number of students in the college don’t have access to decent internet at home and thus, a typical online course offering is not possible. “We have uploaded contents online so that they can download and learn offline at their own pace,” they added.
Besides this, even students from Delhi University, who come from different parts of the country, led protests against the administration’s decision to hold online exams as several students do not have proper internet connections. The university has currently decided to conduct a 2-hour-long open book exam, with an additional 1 hour for scanning and submission.
Meanwhile, IIM Kashipur decided to hold its trimester exams for first-year students digitally this quarter. However, it witnessed only 60% student turnout.
According to the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2018-2019, India has around 993 universities, 39,931 colleges, and 10,922 standalone institutions listed on its web portal, of which 60.53% colleges are located in rural areas. Overall, there are over 37.4 Mn students enrolled in these colleges.
Whereas, in a country with a population of 1.37 Bn, there are only 504 Mn internet users. Even then, India has noted the highest number of internet disruptions lasting up to 36 weeks in the second half of 2019 alone. Besides this, the average duration of power cuts in India was 5 hours and 28 minutes in May last year.