- Sumeeta Gawande
GSG College Successfully Conducts Final Exams Online During Pandemic
Updated: Dec 19, 2020
In 2020, Covid-19 forced educational institutes around the world to adapt their classes
and exams to ensure their students and staff remained safe and healthy. Even rural colleges like Gopikabai Sitaram Gawande College in Umarkhed, India, unexpectedly found themselves needing to quickly come up with alternatives to normal practices to ensure that education remained as uninterrupted as possible. Especially daunting was figuring out how to administer final exams. Final exams are a necessary predicate for continuing students to advance to the next year and for graduating students to receive their degree certificates. For students seeking employment, many jobs are not available without a degree certificate. For students seeking admission into a post-graduate program, the final exam score is particularly critical for students to distinguish themselves in the highly competitive post-graduate admission process.
But with COVID-19 spreading worldwide, many questions arose surrounding how to conduct these exams in a safe environment, while counterbalancing technical issues, the potential for cheating and unequal internet access. Initially, the umbrella institution for GSG College, Amravati University, made the decision to hold all exams in person, even though several other universities had opted for online exams based on multiple choice questions. This decision was made in part after a student survey showed only 40% of students had access to a smartphone and even fewer had access to laptops and computers. Such devices were essential for taking an online exam.
However, Amravati University’s decision to conduct in person exams during a pandemic resulted in push back and put great pressure on Amravati University to hold exams online. After further deliberation, the university reversed course, making the decision to delegate online exams to individual colleges. Colleges were notified on October 23 to conduct and finish the exams by November 1, within only eight days. Unfortunately, the late decision put a great amount of pressure on colleges like GSG College to quickly come up with solutions to the inherent challenges of conducting online exams, while meeting the deadlines set forth by the governing bodies.
GSG College was worried, but this was a challenge that GSG College was ready to meet. Since 2012, SESA and its many supporters have been working to provide GSG with computers, internet, and training. Thanks to the technology resources and training received over the years, GSG College was ahead of the game. In September 2020, even before learning about Amaravati University’s decision to conduct exams online, GSG College’s Internal Quality Assurance Cell and its Department of Computer Science had organized an International Webinar on best practices in online teaching and Bloom’s taxonomy. Conducted by GSG College’s Technology Advisor, Dr. Briju Thankachan, the seminar was aimed at preparing university administrators, exam proctors and students to conduct online exams. 137 educators attended.
While many colleges experienced technical glitches and multiple problems, which caused extraordinary anxiety for students and which forced many colleges to delay their exams, GSG’s online exams were successfully administered. Amravati University’s Vice Chancellor, Dr. Murlidhar Chandekar, and, Registrar, Dr Tushar Deshmukh, visited the exam section of GSG College and was impressed by the achievements of such a rural college. 98% of GSG students successfully completed their exams through the online mode, making the college the only one in the Amravati University system to have achieved this magic figure.
Congratulations to all!