Online Education: Challenges and Opportunities: The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way of studying, teaching and taking exams in the country and the world. Be it class of studies or various types of exams, online is being dominated everywhere. The digital ecosystem is expanding. In such a situation, the important question is, which model of education and examinations is going to be successful in the coming days? Will everything be the same once the COVID-19 is under control or has the world of education changed forever? How ready or excited are the country’s educational institutions, their faculty and students to continue with online studies and examinations in the future? What is the experience of online education and exams in the last one and a half years indicating the future?
The answers to many of these questions are found in a survey report that came a few days ago. this report Mercer-Metal, an international company that develops and operates an online examinations platform (Mercer | Mettl), the results of which tell a lot about the experiences of the past one and a half years and the signals emerging from them. financial express online mercer-metal Spoke to the CEO of Siddharth Gupta about this in detail.
About online exams Mercer | Mettl What is the basis of the report that has been released?
Siddharth Gupta – Titled “The State of Online Examinations 2021”, this report has been prepared on the basis of a comprehensive survey, in which more than 650 important people from more than 150 educational institutions in 18 countries participated. have taken. These include the Deans of these institutions, Head of Department (HOD) Professors and other important decision-makers. 80 percent of the people and institutions surveyed are from India, while 20 percent are from other countries. In this survey, we have also included those institutions which are not customers of our online assessment platform.
Based on this report and your experience, what do you find to be the biggest hurdle or challenge in the way of online examination?
Siddharth Gupta – The biggest concern is to prevent cheating or use of wrong methods in examinations. mercer-metal (Mercer | Mettl) survey included 62.96 percent of the people said that the fear of cheating or cheating was the biggest cause of concern for them during the online examinations. This is because every reputed institution has its own Prioritizes the reliability of the examination system. They want them to be recognized as an institution giving importance to merit only and only. If questions arise on the credibility of the examination, then the reputation of that institution may be in danger.
Our platform can effectively overcome this problem by making online examination reliable and copy-free. This is the reason why online examinations of many IIMs, Universities and other reputed educational institutions of the country are being conducted through our platform. There are around 400 such institutes in the country which use our exam engine to take online exams. These also include entrance examinations or semester or mid term examination of students with distance learning. With the help of our software, we are able to conduct these exams in a reliable manner and without cheating.
What can be the way to maintain the credibility of the online exam?
Siddharth Gupta – To maintain the credibility of the online assessment or examination, it is necessary to completely stop the use of copying or wrong measures in it. This can be done by using modern and precise technology. For example our company In the platform that provides for online assessment and examination, question papers can be set and uploaded for the candidates sitting thousands of kilometers away, in any corner of the world. Not only this, the examiners can also observe the exam while sitting at their place. Artificial Intelligence software is used for this purpose in our online examination platform, which prevents students from copying or using wrong methods. Under this, by turning on the cameras of the device of the examinees, they are monitored with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Not only this, with the help of AI, teachers themselves also keep an eye on this process.
For example, suppose a professor is sitting in his house taking his class examination. If during this time any student taking the exam tries to move away from the camera or use any wrong method, the AI software attached to the camera will alert the professor. When this happens, the professor can, with a single click on his laptop, pause that student’s test, prompt him not to use it inappropriately, or take whatever action is necessary.
In our country, the board examinations of class 12th or 10th are held on a very large scale. Can such modern technology be used in these examinations also?
Siddharth Gupta – At present, the biggest challenge in the case of CBSE or other large-scale board exams is that even today, a large population in the country does not have the necessary facilities like internet or mobile phones. That is why there is also the concern that you cannot bypass such people and provide online education and examination for only a few children. Our survey has also revealed that the availability of digital devices is a big challenge for 20-22 percent of the people even in higher education institutions with comparatively better facilities. Obviously, in the examinations in which common students appear on a large scale, this problem will be even bigger.
However, there has been a lot of discussion with our government departments and their officials in this regard and they are also thinking in this direction. We are also talking with the authorities about what we can contribute in minimizing the impact of COVID on the education and examination system.
In the midst of these challenges, are there any signs emerging that give new hope for the future?
Siddharth Gupta – It is not that the problems are not going away. Many positive things are also coming out. For example, we conducted the Science Olympiad with great success using an online platform, in which 7.5 lakh children took the exam last year and 15 to 17 lakh children are expected to appear this year.
Common people, educational institutions and authorities are all beginning to understand that the pandemic is not going to end soon. The second wave may have gone but the danger of the third wave still remains. They understand that we have to develop the ability to conduct examinations in a more successful and reliable manner keeping in mind the current situation. People are trying to develop the ability to conduct online classes and exams, in which we are also contributing. We are working with very good educational institutions and academicians in India and across the world. So that online methods can be adopted better in entrance examinations and semester examinations.
Based on the experience so far, we are continuously improving the exam pattern. For example, we have created a different user interface and design for those people, especially young children, who have never worked on a laptop before. We have developed such a model which they can easily understand and adopt.
Is it enough to have modern equipment and technology for the success of the online system? Or does it have to take into account some other aspects as well?
Siddharth Gupta – Along with using the right technology, it is also important to see that all the people associated with this digital eco-system feel comfortable working through it. The professor should be comfortable with setting up the question paper using new technology and online evaluation of the online submitted answer sheets. The Controller of Examinations should feel comfortable in preparing the online schedule of the examination and regulating the examination and the students should be comfortable with the new method of taking the examination.
After all this is done, we can think about how to make the exam process more effective going forward. So that it can be checked whether the learning outcome of the teaching process has been achieved or not. If this is done, then a completely new chapter can be started in the field of education.
What will be the nature of the new chapter you are hoping to start in the field of education due to online education and exams?
Siddharth Gupta – You can use technology in a more creative and interesting way in online exams or education. For example, English teachers can give not only text but also audio passages in the exam, through which they can test how much students are able to understand by listening and to what extent they are able to answer questions based on it. . In the exam, you can show an audio or movie clip and ask questions about the poetry given in it. You can ask the students to give their opinion on it or to review it. Many new possibilities can also open in the examinations related to the field of technology. For example, you can give software based case studies, in which the examinee may be asked to show live coding on the system. If this is done, then the level of evaluation in the examinations can reach a different level.
Its next step can also be that if the technology is used properly, then you will not need to stop teaching to take the exams. You can continue the process of evaluation continuously. By doing this you will no longer need to take the pre-board exam four times. There will be no need to take two class tests before the semester examinations or half yearly examination and two class tests before the final examination.
Online tests do not have any significant cost, so they can make possible an on-going assessment process. After studying each chapter, you can give questions or assignments related to it, so that students can be continuously assessed. In this way, you can keep on monitoring the progress of the students and make necessary improvements. It will not happen that now the board is going to come or now the pre-board is going to come. By adopting this new method, we can move ahead from the old system of taking milestone based exams. That is, there is a lot that can completely change in the coming days. Overall, we have a golden opportunity to make massive changes in the educational system.