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Examinations go online at TNAU

Amutha Kannan

Students were given 35 minutes for answering the questions

Photo: M. Periasamy.

TECH-SAVVY: First year undergraduate students of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University taking their mid-semester examinations online on the university premises in Coimbatore on Tuesday. Vice-Chancellor C. Ramasamy (right) is in the picture. —

COIMBATORE: After shifting from the conventional method of teaching to e-learning, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and its constituent colleges have introduced online examinations for first year students pursuing undergraduate programmes.

As a pilot project, students for the first time took their mid-semester examinations online from April 2 to 11.

The 30 objective type questions carried 15 marks.

Students were given 35 minutes for answering the questions. They brought their own laptops to the examination hall. At the appointed time, they were given a password with which they could open the question paper that was loaded on the university website.

When the question paper file opened, students were able to view it by entering their ID number.

When the first question was answered, they could move on to the next.

They could go back for an unanswered question, but could not go back to review an answered one.

At the end of the time, the closed file got stored and was sent to the mail-ID of the teacher concerned for evaluation. The descriptive answers for two questions that would fetch five marks were written on paper.

According to K. Vanangamudi, Dean (Agriculture), students were made to procure laptops during the time of admission.

They were given enough time to master the speed on the keyboard in order to take examinations online.

“As the university switched over to the e-learning from the academic year 2007, it was made compulsory for first-year students to procure personal laptops.

They have been using it in classrooms for their study purposes. They were told to prepare for taking the online examinations. So this decision has been on the cards since the beginning to the academic year.”

Formally inaugurating the online mid-semester examinations, Vice-Chancellor C. Ramasamy said that since the pilot attempt did not encounter any snag, the university’s decision to conduct the final semester examination online in June would go ahead.

Mr. Vanangamudi said that the final examinations would not involve internal evaluation.

“Everything will be centrally done outside the university. The question paper will be prepared by teachers from other universities.

They will be loaded on the website and be accessed by the students at the appointed time in the examination hall. Once the examination is over, the file is closed and sent to a common server.

Evaluators from different parts of the State as well as from other agricultural universities will be able to evaluate the answer sheets of the students on their personal computers.”

The university felt that this measure was not only to show that they were moving ahead with the times, but also one that could help save time, money and resources.

The response from the students has made the university authorities happy with their decision to go online.

They agree that they were initially apprehensive as to how the students would feel about taking the examination online, but now after the successful attempt, both the parties concerned are happy about their achievement.

“It is a very big step for them. Some of the students from rural background did not even know to use the computer. From the fear of using the computer to taking examinations online, they have come a long way,” concluded the Dean.

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