The Pros and Cons of Online Examsby Monarose Sheila Pereira June 9 2021, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins, 9 secs
This year too many exams are being conducted online. Educationists talk to Monarose Sheila Pereira about the pros and cons of the same.
Dr. (Fr.) Joseph M.T., Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai
Online examinations don’t do justice to students, particularly students in the faculties of humanities and social sciences since there are no clear-cut and standard answers to the questions raised in these disciplines. The multiple ways in which a student may approach an issue on hand is constricted by the online mode. Further, connectivity issues and the problems with the network make accessibility a huge issue. The skills required for doing well at the online examinations are very different from the offline mode and the learning curve is not a short one for many students, especially for those with disabilities and hailing from poor and marginalized backgrounds.
Rizwan Ahmad, Director, Instructional Media Centre, MANUU (A Central University), Hyderabad
The current lockdown changed our thinking process, our living and working patterns. Now, Online education is not limited to the Distance Learners only but it has taken a mainstream look. It seems, after COVID-19, online mode of learning is going to be a part of mainstream education as well. Actually there are no benefits or disadvantages; it is just a transitional phase. Due to COVID lockdown, exams are being conducted online to avoid the academic year loss. There is no harm in conducting online exams. It is time bound and scope of cheating is negligible. Digital platforms are beneficial not only for education uplift but also to ensure the large-scale conduct of exams in a vast country like India. The only limitation is to fill the gap of digital divide and to ensure better Internet connectivity.
Vaibhav Bansode, Full-time faculty, Rizvi College and Visiting faculty at other colleges
Online studies, examinations sound and look classy, but it is hollow and farce altogether. Neither colleges, nor students are concerned about their future and career. No one in this process, is taking anyone seriously and the University is somehow hand-in-glove in this process. Students have been scoring enormous marks, everyone knows and understands the person who never attended a single lecture is scoring good. This pandemic, students won't be a long-run horse rather would perish soon. I feel appalled and sorry for the process and the system, the way online education is being conducted.
Karen Martin, Assistant Teacher, St. Stanislaus High School
I don't think online exams are doing any justice to anyone. That is neither the educator nor the learner. The educators are providing the studying matter but there are very few who are making use of this matter or information provided. Also there are genuine learners but they are unable to use any of the teaching facilities available due to lack of resources. Moreover, it's not for sure if the students are giving the exams at free will or they are pressured to do so. In some cases there is a single device shared among the siblings and the parents so there is a clash of the timings for completing the exams in the given time frame, as the institution may not be lenient for genuine learners. At times due to all of this there is an increase in the stress and anxiety levels in the family.
Mohammad Abdullah Khan, Visiting faculty
Being a social science student (MA Honors in Politics), an online final exam in the form of MCQs is nothing short of a nightmare. You can ask me to pen down 20 mark essays, and I'll do that without thinking twice; but MCQs really restrict the freedom that comes with Arts. Moreover, the online exam system was a glitch. I was lucky enough to not face any issues. I wish they came up with an alternative method though, where subjective answers were possible. I guess there's not much choice when there's a pandemic wrecking havoc all around.
Kedarnath Tadkod, Asst. Professor, Vidya Prabodhini College, Goa
I think we are looking at it from the wrong end. The malaise is not in the mode of assessment, but in the manner of imparting knowledge to the student. Learning by rote and imitation has been the easier way out for the student and the teacher so far, but that doesn’t really expand the student’s mind. If the teacher has taught well, and has used creative and resourceful ways of imparting knowledge to the student, the question of online assessment would not need to be even asked since the student would be well prepared to tackle any form of assessment. The weapon assumes potency only if the wielder has the skills to do so, and so with any form of assessment, not online alone. As educators, we need to accept the new norm and further skill and reinvent ourselves to face the changing winds. Online mode of assessment may not seem ideal, and brick and mortar education will still form the bedrock of education.