It's not just the Common Admission Test (CAT) that will go online this year. Delhi University (DU) will become one of the first central universities in the country to conduct an online examination next month for its undergraduate science students.
A.K. Bakshi, director of the Institute of Lifelong Learning (ILL) under DU which formulated the online examination paper, said that for the first time students of the B.Sc course will be taking their environmental science paper online.
"It's just a starter. Students of the B.Sc course will take one of their qualifying papers, of environmental science, online. If a success, it should set a trend for more university exams to go the same way," Bakshi told IANS.
A total of 2,500 students from 27 colleges will take the exam, scheduled in the first week of June. The examination will however be held in just three centres and that too in three shifts.
"For logistical and other reasons, the exam will be held in three centres - in Miranda House, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and Venkateswara colleges. Since it's for the first time that both students and teachers will be facing this kind of an exam, CDs and pamphlets have been distributed where the entire process is being explained.
"How does one attempt a question, how do you skip a question, re-attempt a question, submit the paper but want to make some changes again - everything is being explained. There will also be a timer which will keep telling the student how much time and how many questions are left. There is also a sample online examination paper uploaded on our website," Bakshi said.
The one-hour exam will have 50 multiple choice type questions of one mark each.
"Like in competitive exams, students sitting adjacent to each other will get a different question paper. In all the three shifts the questions will be jumbled; so will the options, so that there is no chance of cheating. Teachers are quite happy with the initiative and have said that the online exam will save them a lot of time in checking the answers," Bakshi said.
The online exam is a part of DU's larger plan to go the e-learning way. ILL has been working on making the entire teaching process, and now even the assessment process, more tech-savvy for a number of subjects. This, Bakshi said, is an attempt to keep up with the changing times and be in sync with youth.
With videos, animation, simulation, online quizzes and virtual laboratory, the aim now is to make learning more fun in DU. It is expected that by the next academic session, the e-learning material for some courses like chemistry, physics, maths, life sciences and commerce will be uploaded in the ILL portal.
"There is something called blended learning. There are times when a teacher can't explain everything on the blackboard. With this initiative of using animation and visuals, the understanding of a subject will become clearer," Bakshi told IANS.
(Azera Rahman can be contacted at email@example.com)