Automatic SMSes, AC rooms for evaluators: How Nashik univ’s digital system beats Mumbai’s | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Automatic SMSes, AC rooms for evaluators: How Nashik univ’s digital system beats Mumbai’s

Mumbai city news: Officials ensure that no paper stays at a centre overnight. Within a day of their arrival, booklets are scanned and uploaded for assessment

mumbai Updated: Jul 03, 2017 10:31 IST
Musab Qazi
Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University digitally assesses 36 lakh answer sheets — almost twice the number of papers MU assesses in a semester.
Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University digitally assesses 36 lakh answer sheets — almost twice the number of papers MU assesses in a semester.(Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

Nashik-based Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU) has been using an on-screen testing system on a much larger scale than the University of Mumbai, smoothly for the past two years. Here’s how it accomplishes this.

YCMOU went about implementing the on-screen marking system (OSM) more gradually than MU did. The varsity roped in two information technology (IT) companies to assess a few lakh papers on an experimental basis and then floated tenders to implement OSM for all its papers.

“We ran three pilot projects before introducing the system for all the examinations. Our experience with the earlier software helped us realise what our requirements were. Based on that, we prepared the tender document,” said Arjun Ghatule, controller of examinations at YCMOU.

So far, the university has successfully used OSM for two full-fledged examination sessions. In each session, the varsity scanned and evaluated around 36 lakh answer booklets. Ghatule said they were able to declare the results of all the examinations, except two, within a month.

This is how it works: As soon as an exam ends, answer sheets are collected from all 812 YCMOU centres spread across Maharashtra. The answer sheets must reach the campus within 24 hours.

An inventory of answer sheets is done using the barcode on papers. YCMOU has hired a logistics company to help officials ensure that no paper stays at a centre overnight. Within a day of their arrival, the answer booklets are scanned and uploaded for assessment.

The university uses its own servers instead of a cloud server. After the answer sheets are uploaded, the system calculates how many evaluators are required to assess papers of a particular subject. Automatic SMSes are sent to evaluators asking them to report to centralised assessment process (CAP) centres to evaluate the papers. Those who have a web camera can work from home.

According to Ghatule, the key to YCMOU’s success lay in the university’s ability to convince and train evaluators to operate the new system. “We held many workshops, discussions and counselling sessions for evaluators. We demonstrated how the on-screen assessment is faster and more beneficial to them,” he said.

He added that the varsity offered small but crucial facilities, such as air-conditioned rooms at CAP centres, to ensure that evaluators reported to work.

The centre in-charge constantly follows up with the evaluators. Those who fail to report to work twice in a row, are relieved from assessment work until they re-enrol themselves. “Being a distance learning institute, it is necessary for us to make as much use of technology as possible,” said Ghatule.