This paper will discuss merits and demerits of online exams.
Coming across the online system of education anyone would wonder how do they conduct the examination in this. People may assume that there are high chances for anyone to cheat on the exam and the system of education fails to its essence. All of this becomes futile when online exams are explained.
Online examinations in the first place require a device with an internet connection. These devices are then equipped with software where teachers can easily make the examination questions. All the students have to do is virtually enter the system and conduct the exam.
The types of examination involved in the online exams are online mock tests, semester or text exams, campus placements, entrance exams, and other types of assessments. The advantage of having an online examination system is that it is quicker in the evaluation and less rigging.
Here is a list of detailed Merits and Demerits of Online Examination System in India that will help in better understanding.
10 Advantages of online examination system
1. Less damage to nature
It is a sorry state of affairs that environmental damage is the least discussed dilemma of the day. This is what we do not talk about and try dusting it under the carpet but let’s not forget the ever pacing negative impacts. There is a bulk of paper that is used every year while conducting examinations.
More paper usage means more trees to be cut off. After seeing so many hazards to our planet we need to devise plans for saving it. Therefore online exams are one solution in reducing the carbon footprint.
2. Technological advancements
Each and every system wants to take benefit from the technology and technology has also served in many ways. We have seen that the emergence of online classes has changed the paradigm and more and more students are taking advantage of it.
Online exams are different because in this you need to have a foolproof system which shall not only evaluate the students nearly but also bring the results efficiently. In this regard use of technology and getting better enhancements are much appreciated.
Research conducted on the Saudi students depicted that the academic performance of students on online exams and paper exams was similar. Although students preferred paper exams but feedback and automatic results were some aspects they preferred.
3. It is cheaper
When any exam is organized there are many requirements, for example, allocating a large space for students, printing, and copying if the paper, providing the exam answer sheets, and then there are hiring invigilators as well. All of this combine to form much of expense. Now consider switching to the online exam in which none of the above is required.
This is why online exams are gaining popularity that they are economical and all you need is to sit in front of an internet-connected device. This is saving the money of the students who have to pay extra in terms of exam fees and then there is a great benefit for the administration as well that they save their energies into arranging for an offline exam.
4. Online exam is time-efficient
For institutes arranging for the traditional examination is a difficult task because they have to arrange a lot of things. There are many other things waiting to be done that need the time but unfortunately, that time is spent in arranging exams and then evaluation and dissemination of results.
All of that time is now saved up by conducting the exams online because all you need is to install software and then get the evaluations right away. So the institutions can work upon many other tasks that await progress. This can be a breath of fresh air for those who want to adapt to the technology and bring in innovations in their system.
5. Online exam is secure
Many people may assume that online exams are not cheating proof. Well to bust the myth, online examinations have been working on many levels to make the process as secure as possible. First, it is important to eradicate impersonation and that can be done by biometric verification; not once but more than one time during an examination.
There are also time constraints in answering the questions so that the examinee does not have enough time to cheat otherwise. The types of questions can be graph description, ordering paragraphs, matching headings, True/False statements, multiple-choice questions, gap fill, sentence completion, labeling diagrams or maps, and multimedia questions. Another way of minimizing cheating is that not every examinee gets the same questions rather the question sheet is different for each student.
6. Easy usage
People apply to college or universities from different parts of the world. Such students who do not enjoy the benefits of being close to their institutes will have trouble applying. Therefore an examination system at the disposal of your home is the best solution.
The best thing about it is that anyone can give an entrance examination from anywhere without worrying about the transportation charges and timings. The user interface for online examination is made friendly enough to be understood by the examinee easily. And much of ease is brought about for those evaluating the exams that they get the results from an automated system just that same day.
7. The automated system of grading.
Teachers can take advantage of this system because it saves their time and energy through an automatic system of grading. The students give an online examination and their evaluation comes right in front of them in a much lesser span of time than in a regular exam.
The teacher in the first place does not have to go through the pain of checking a bulk of paper exams and then deciding the results. Not just that but since the system is purely computer-based with no human intervention so the test results can be error-free and students have their accurate evaluation from the model answers.
8. Online examination setting new trends in education
People have a desire to learn and those who are more passionate will bring about such revolutions that will entirely change the meaning of the process of learning. Online exams are setting trends that are changing the way we know how exams are conducted.
This is not the end rather a milestone is being achieved and making way for newer technologies to be introduced in knowledge.
5 Disadvantages of online examination system
Ever since technology has been introduced it has come up with pros and cons. It will always have drawbacks that can never be ignored so here are some disadvantages to the online examination system.
1. Technological glitches
We need to admit technology is still not universal. Many people are still unaware of it and they like being stick to the traditional methods. In terms of exam technological problems can be risky that a person will be compromising on some very important academic milestone.
If an institute is planning to adapt to the online examination then there should be proper training of the students and teachers. This should not only give teaching the method of conducting an exam but the troubleshooting in hand.
There have been several pieces of research which they gave identified the necessary measures for teachers to introduce electronic examination hence proving that teacher training is of utmost importance.
2. Availability of facilities.
Either it’s the online or offline examination, in both cases, there are certain facilities required. Where we talk about offline exams to have stationary, space, etc. in the same way for online examination, we need to give systems required with stable internet connections and power supply.
For remote areas, there is a possibility that these things are not provided with sturdiness. So if an institute is conducting an examination then the students can be from anywhere with no guarantee of equal distribution of resources of the campus.
3. Limitations in question types
Online exams are administered through a system that is self-evaluated. Although teachers in the first place design the exam questions a major limitation is that these questions are best evaluated close-ended. These are the types in which there are mostly one-word answers or to put it simply they are objective types.
However, a typical exam comprises open-ended, long-for subjective type questions as well weighing more marks. It will be difficult to come up with a system where the computer will be able to evaluate it on its own. Now here human interference will be required and teachers will have to evaluate the long-form themselves because that is also important.
The problem here again is that the evaluation which is supposed to be human-free in online exams is not fulfilling its essence.
4. Chances of cheating are wide
Cheating in the examination has always been a problem and that is why all the time and energy is utilized to hire staff for invigilation. In the online exams, the systems are made good enough not to be breached but there is still a chance for cheating.
One form of it is deceitfulness in which the actual examinee is replaced by someone else. Another form can be the use of smartwatches or smartphones that can hack the examination. There had been many software that are used in order to minimize such dodging.
One such step is biometric verification or faces recognition more than once during an exam. There are many such systems proposed for example one of them has phone detection, gaze estimation, active window detection, voice detection, text detection, and user verification.
5. Use of external material
In a traditional examination setting, there are all measures taken to keep students from cheating. There is no external material allowed like books or gadgets.
If students are taking the exam from anywhere then there are more susceptible to peek at their helping material as well making it an open book assessment that turns out to be of no use. This is one great drawback of facilitating online examinations.
6. Lack of proctoring
The integrity of the examinee is most questionable in an online exam. In a regular exam, an invigilator is present to check the credibility of the student. Online exam means that a student can be anywhere so how can the examiner know if the person is the same who registered for the exam and also he/she will be honestly giving the exam.
Even if institutes come up with a plan through which they are able to hire a proctor it will be very costly and the purpose of online examination serves is that it saves up on the cost of hiring invigilators.
We have so far seen many advancements in science and technology but the idea of online exams is innovative and challenging at the same time. We cannot be more sure if it should be applied by and large to all institutes. There are many preparations to be done beforehand.
There are many systems suggested for meeting the challenges in an online examination. For example, a research paper suggests several steps like that of biometric authentication, keeping the content strictly among two parties or cryptography, keeping the security of internet traffic or firewall, etc.
Their system majorly emphasizes on biometric verification through face recognition which shall make the online examination more secure.
Another study upon the dental students in which there were both the types of students involved. One who had previous experience of online examination and others who had no such experience. In the results, it is stated that students who had no previous experience of the online exams did have some concerns.
However, all the students also faced a technological issue that they were unable to go back to any MCQ if they wanted because once done the question cannot be rechecked. However, they still concluded that online examinations should be implemented with certain issues prevailing.
Do we can see that online examination being a desirable solution still has many flaws that will exist with it. This is what happens with all the types of technological advancements that they are never perfect rather we have to adapt accordingly.
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So those institutes which consider online exams to bring ease to their examinee have to accept the problems related to it. However, we can be optimistic about the future that these problems can be addressed and resolved for the better.
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Arkanul Haque, An IT Engineer, working with various technology since 2016, has a keen interest in content creation.
He is very much interested in sharing his little experience of Student and Corporate Life with Students through This Blog.
IntellectualGyani.com is a blog that focuses on the advantages and disadvantages of various subjects in Education, Language, Technology, Business, and society in general. Our main priority is to provide an honest and truthful perspective about the topics we write.