All set for online exams

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Given the exceptional circumstances, the final year examinations of the undergraduate degree programmes of the Goa University will be held online from August 3. NT KURIOCITY finds out what students and professors have to say

RAMANDEEP KAUR|NT KURIOCITY

With the unlikelihood of life returning to normal anytime soon, and after a number of postponements, the Goa University has finally decided to hold the final year examinations of the undergraduate degree programmes, online from August 3 onwards.

And Tanisha Samant, a student of Sridora Caculo College of Commerce and Management Studies, Mapusa says that with the rise of COVID-19 cases in India and in Goa too, online exams are certainly an advantageous idea, since the safety of the students as well as everyone is extremely essential.

“Holding exams online will be definitely convenient to all, students will be more comfortable answering the exams online rather than to travel a distance to the examination centres with a risk of being infected with the virus. Plus, maintaining social distance in the exam hall, wearing a mask while answering the exams, and lack of public transport due to the pandemic would have made answering exams at a centre a difficult task for the students,” says Samant.

Adhisha Mayuresh Pai Angle, who is in her final year of Integrated MBA, Goa University, also agrees that an online examination is a really good idea. “I am quite comfortable to write an exam at home given the situation we’re all dealing with at the moment,” she says.

Even Jolyan Dias Sapeco of Dhempe College of Arts and Science, Miramar, is happy to answering online exams as she says it’s a rewarding experience of their three years study. “It’s a comforting thought to answer the exams in your own familiar environment. However, I would suggest the conducting a mock test online for the students to avoid hurdles of time limit, connectivity issues, etc, and to get an overall feedback from all students,” she says.

Pursuing his Bachelor in Engineering in Electronics & Telecommunications at Shree Rayeshwar Institute of Engineering and Information Technology, Shiroda, Vailan Florian Pinto considers the holding of exams online as an ideal decision and says that a student has to be prepared and well-versed in the subject matter. “Whether the exams are held online or offline, it really does not matter. We have to be ready with our part,” he says adding that he is comfortable writing the exams anywhere as long as he is well prepared. However, he says that at home there are certain issues which need to be taken care of such as connectivity. “Neglecting them could amount to the stress on the student,” adds Pinto.

Further, Madhura S Prabhu Desai of Government College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Quepem believes that students who are serious about their studies and their future will never be happy with this online mode of examination. “I personally don’t like the idea as it is very clear that students will look into the books and answer their papers and this means nobody will fail. If you go to see there will no value for our result (graduation degree),” she says.

Indeed, with no one to monitor students as they answer their exams, there is a possibility that students can easily cheat. To reduce if not totally eliminate the practice and instances of copying, says associate professor, Department of Commerce, SS Dempo College of Commerce and Economics, Cujira, Smitha Bhandare Kamat Kamat, is a primary challenge while monitoring students. “Now that we’ve moved in a virtual world, innovative modes and methods are to be adopted in this regard and we are working to establish a fool proof methodology in place. There will be the teething problems but by and large we’re hoping for a smooth state of affairs,” adds Kamat.

And, with online examination being a totally new mode for students, Kamat states that they have an examination committee in place that meticulously works out details of any aspects relating to the examination. “A plan of action is underway to deal with the new challenge, a meeting in this regard was conducted and we look forward to shoulder the new responsibility.”

Keeping in mind the newness of this mode of examination, teachers will also guide the students in every way, says assistant professor, incharge, Department of English at Dhempe College of Arts and Science, Miramar, Clarinda Dias. She says that they have already been using the online methodology: Google Classrooms, and webinars and when it comes to exams, a hand- holding method will be followed, taking students through the entire process and conducting pre-tests so that students are very comfortable when the actual exam happens. “We have tested them for five semesters already. This exam will test their skills in many ways. While it may seem that they would have access to material, putting together that data in brief answers which are a part of the new format, would require skill. Besides, some percentage of questions would be framed to test some of the higher order skills as per Bloom’s Taxonomy. This would ensure that student’s application and appreciation skills are tested,” adds Dias.

There will be analytical type of questions where students have to think and write rather than copying from the given sources, states associate professor, Department of English at Dnyanprassarak Mandal’s College, Assagao, Shanthi Muninathan. “Students will be asked to send their answers in PDF format in order to have uniformity of the pattern. Also a trial of mock test would be held in order to check the connectivity issues,” says Muninathan adding that teachers too are little sceptical about it but there is no other alternative than holding the online mode of examinations..