What are online and offline exams?
Education is one of the most robust forms of gaining and providing knowledge to others. It is the best way to mould a society into a group of brilliant, considerate and happy citizens of the country.
Recently, education and the ways of conducting education are changing. The educational patterns and syllabus are also witnessing a change.
Online education is gaining importance and online education has got momentum specially for higher education. Education sector is digitizing and accepting the switch from offline to online mode of education
Offline exams which are conducted in the classroom under the supervision of an invigilator are somewhat different than the online exams in which the candidates appear for the exams from their home with the help of electronic devices.
There are many online examination platforms which help to conduct such online exams. These software platforms provide numerous other features and benefits to conduct online exams.
Let us have a look at the features of online exams in the next point.
Features of online exams
Online exams are full of different mechanisms and features which help to perform every activity related to conducting exams in online mode.
The features of the online exams are as mentioned below:
1. Location and time
Independence on location and time are some of the crucial advantages provided by the online exams for both the educational institutions and the students. The online exams are created especially for home based education which is not restricted to any particular location.
The candidates can appear for exam from any location of their choice by using any electronic device such as mobile phones, computer, laptops, etc. The time of the exams can also be adjusted as the standard time of that geographical region. The candidates can decide the date and time to appear for the exam at their own convenience.
This approach has helped the candidates to apply for any institute located anywhere in the world, apply for any courses of their choice and attend the classes and exams as per their convenience.
2. Exam security
The online examination platforms provided a variety of security features for supervising the candidates during online exams. These features are developed using the best security protocols and advanced algorithms. These features are designed in a way to stop the students from cheating or carrying out any sort of malpractice in any way possible. Due to the presence of different types of remote proctoring mechanisms such as image based, audio based and video based proctoring, it becomes impossible for the candidates to cheat during online exam.
Other features such as secure browser, suspicious object detection, audit logging, Chatbots, etc. also provide additional security which helps the educational institution conducting the online exams to rely and trust the online platforms more.
3. User-friendly and error free
Now a days, the tools which are available online for conducting online exams are extremely uncomplicated and can be used by anyone. These tools are tested so as to make them usable for any person belonging to any age group.
The online exams are very easy to conduct and to appear for. Even the candidates or teachers who are not much techno savvy can operate the software and can appear or evaluate the online exams quiet easily.
As these tools are developed by some brilliant brains and are technologically advanced, they are tried and tested many times for any sort of discrepancies. These tools are thoroughly checked for any errors.
4. Question Bank Management
One of the most important and useful features of online exams, is the presence of question bank. A question bank is a virtual space where questions are created, saved and edited by an examiner, paper setter or subject matter expert.
Only a few selected people have access to this question bank. The questions created and saved in the question bank are further added in the question paper during the exam.
The question bank is protected by password and the access to it is provided based on the role. Thus, the issue related to leakage of question paper is completely eliminated.
5. Onscreen Evaluation System
Just as the candidates can appear for the exam from anywhere, the examiners can evaluate the answers from any location. A special tool known as Onscreen Evaluation System is developed to make the process of answer sheet checking absolutely simple for the examiners.
Onscreen Evaluation system offers numerous different options to check answers, allot marks, mark blank pages, add remarks and comments, etc. The identity of the candidate is also masked.
All the options are visible to the examiners once they log into the system with their unique credentials which make their work easier and faster. They are now able to evaluate the answer sheets from anywhere, any time as per their convenience.
6. Cost effective
Adopting online exams can be the best alternative for those institutions which are in search of ways to reduce their cost investments. Online classes and exams help the institutions to cut down the costs spent on infrastructure such as classrooms, question papers, answer sheets, exam invigilators, etc.
The costs spent on logistics such as storage of answer sheets, carrying of question paper and answer sheets to and fro from the exam centre, etc. is also saved. The risk related to damaging if the question papers and answer sheets during transportation is also saved.
The candidates and the supervising faculty do not need to travel to the exam center which again helps in saving their expenditure. Thus, online exams are cost effective in many ways.
7. Performance analysis
After every exam, the schools/colleges need to analyse the performance of every candidate who appeared for the exam. This sort of performance analysis is made quiet easy with the help of online exam platforms.
The online platforms offer some tools which can be used to collect the data, perform some calculations, analyse the results and also generate the report. Such reports can be used by the teachers or management to compare the performance of the candidates.
The tool can itself help to generate reports based on different filters showing different results. It can also make use historic data to predict future performances.
Performance analysis would consume a lot of time if done manually. But with the help of online tools, performance analysis has become efficient and less time consuming.
8. Data management
The question papers, answer sheets and other documents related to candidate’s identity are stored on the Cloud. Every document presented by the student is scanned and stored during the registration of the exam.
As every document is scanned and saved on the Cloud, the duplication or any sort of modification in the document is impossible. The candidates appearing for the exams need to present the identity proof during authentication.
These identity proofs are verified against the ones already saved in the system. Thus the candidates need to upload the documents only once and the same would be used until the end of their course.
This type of data management system is helpful not only to the candidates but also to the educational institutes as they do not need to worry about storing the documents, question papers, answer sheets, etc.
Major issues related to offline exams
Conducting exams in classrooms is the traditional way which is being followed since ancient times. But it is necessary to change the methods of giving exams with the changing times.
There are a few issues related to offline exams. Let us have a look at them.
Investments on infrastructure and logistics
The offline exams cannot be conducted in the absence of classrooms. Thus, the educational institutes need to find a proper examination hall or centre to conduct offline exams. These exam centres must be well-equipped with all the facilities needed by the students and invigilating faculty while conducting offline exams.
The educational institute is responsible for providing question paper copies and answer sheets and supplements to every student. Thus, they need to make arrangements for the transportations of question papers and answer sheets to the exam centre. They also need to make arrangements for transporting the answer sheets to the storage location.
The candidates appearing for the exam and the invigilators need to travel to the exam venue every day. Thus, they need to spend money on travelling or even on accommodation if they exam venue is located in another city or state.
Thus, offline exams certainly require a huge amount of investment or expenses spent on infrastructure and logistics.
As we are aware, online exams can be given from any location anywhere in the world. This helps the candidates to appear for them from their homes and also helps the examiners to evaluate them from any place or time they find convenient.
Due to this, the educational institutes do not need to provide any classrooms or other infrastructure which is provided during exams. They can also manage to invigilate the candidates by appointing only half of the total number of invigilators.
As the question paper and answer sheets are in online mode, the costs spent on transporting them to the exam hall and from exam hall back to the storage area is saved to a great extent.
The question papers and answer sheets need to be carefully transported to the destination as even a tiny glitch in the transportation, either to the exam hall or from the exam hall, could cause huge loss to the institution.
The chances of leakage of question papers or damage to the answer sheets are high during the transportation. Losing or causing any damage to the question papers or answer sheets can not only the scar image of the institute but also can affect the future of the candidate.
As the online exams do not involve any sort of physical transportation or storage, the risk of damaging the question papers and filled answer sheets totally eliminated.
Issues related to identity verification
The identification process is manual in case of offline exams. The candidates need to carry their hall ticket and identity proofs everyday to the exam center.
The supervisors need to check the identity proof of every candidate individually before allowing them to start the exam. The candidate who forgets the hall ticket or identity proof does not get to write the exam.
The modification of identity proofs is not very difficult. Changing the names, photographs, and signatures or creating fake documents has become easy due to technology. Thus, the process of identity verification is time consuming and not very reliable.
The online exam platform makes use of the technology to scan and store the identity proofs and compare them with the ones showed by the candidates during exam.
With the help of mechanisms such as facial recognition, these online exam platforms completely prohibit any sort of frauds related to identity of the candidate.
Why are online exams better for the educational institutions?
Online exams which are conducted with the help of online exam platforms offer a lot of benefits. These benefits are nothing but the features and mechanisms embedded in the online platforms which eliminate every drawback or shortcoming related to offline exams.
Online exams are independent of location. This helps the institutes to save the efforts and the costs spent of searching for exam venues, making facilities available at the venue, appointing exam invigilators, etc.
The candidates can appear for the exam from any location of their choice and the examiners can evaluate the answer sheets at any time and location as per their preference. Thus, the costs spent on transportation and logistics are eliminated and so are the risks.
Online exams use Cloud technology to save the questions papers, answer sheets and other data. This is a big advantage to the educational institute as they do not need to provide any storage space. Also other risks such as losing the papers or causing any damage to them are averted due to the presence of Cloud technology. Online exam platforms also provide mechanisms using which the candidate’s identity can be verified in online mode. Due to the technology, the candidate can be verified using different methods which are secure and reliable.
The Question Bank management feature offered by the online exam platform is one of the most useful features. It helps the access holder to log into the question bank at any point of time and create or edit any question. The paper setter can edit the question even when the exam is about to start.
The paper setter can create multiple question sets so that any one from those can be used during the online exam. All these measures certainly help to avoid any sort of question paper leakage before the online exam.
Due to the presence of remote proctoring features, the online exams become extremely secure. Even the slightest possibility of cheating is eliminated and the integrity of the exam is maintained by 100%.
Now-a-days, it is even possible to conduct viva or oral exams in the online mode. Due to the feature of recording available in the online software platforms, the candidates are able to record their verbal answers and save them.
The examiners can listen to the audio recordings and evaluate them. They can do this whenever they wish to. Thus, online exams are multi-functional and can be used for conducting any type of exam.
Online exams have so many benefits which are just impossible to be achieved in case of offline exams. Every issue related to offline exam is addressed by online exam making is one of the best solution to be adopted.
Thus, without a doubt, online exams are far better than offline exams for any educational institute which wises to provide good quality education to their students.
Limitations of online exams
Online exams are surely the best alternative for offline exams. But the online exams are not for everyone. They do come with some limitations.
Here are a few limitations of online exams:
1. Limitation related to internet connectivity
internet is a luxury for many people in the rural parts of India. Many of the people belonging to remote villages cannot afford broadband or WiFi services.
There are only a few internet service providers in the rural areas. The service is not very efficient. All this affects the connectivity of the internet. Thus, issues such as lower internet speed, power failure, etc. are quiet common in the rural areas.
Eklavvya platform has been built with consideration for internet connectivity challenges. Platform works smoothly with limited internet connectivity as low as 100 KBPS as well. There is also facility to conduct center based online exam where you need to invite candidate at specific exam center to appear for online exam.
2. Limitation associated with typing abilities
Typing is a skill which is learnt through practice. Not all the candidates appearing for the online exam are good at typing.
In case of subjective answers or theory papers, the candidates need to type long answers. This is a time-consuming process and it certainly affects the performance of the candidates during those online exams which have time restrictions.
Thus, limitations related to typing abilities of the candidate can prove to be a major issue while giving subjective online exams.
Eklavvya platform has added new feature related to audio based answers. In such context, candidate can attempt exam online and can record answer in the form of audio. Such audio is saved in the system and examiner can easily evaluate it.
3. Limitation related to drawing diagrams
While giving exams related to subjects such as geometry, physics, geography, etc. the candidates need to draw diagrams, maps or figures to answer the questions. This becomes a difficult task for the candidates who are appearing for the online exam.
In most of the online exam platforms, options representing every shape are present. The candidates need to use these options to create a certain diagram.
This process is tedious and also complicated. I such cases, there is a possibility of candidates avoiding drawing diagrams and figures only to save time and cover more questions in the time that is left.
Candidate can draw the diagram on paper and can upload scan copy of it as an answer for particular question. Such facility is provided for online examination system.
Many educational institutes prefer to switch to online exam platforms to conduct exams in online mode. Online exams would enable to continue with the education process without breaking any social distancing norms.
Eklavvya is an award winning, technologically advanced and one of the most functional software platforms available in the market to conduct online exams. It is developed using some of the finest and complicated algorithms which prove beneficial while supervising the candidates during online exams and disallow cheating and malpractices.
Eklavvya has been developed after a thorough research and detailed testing. Thus, it is very easy to operate and completely free of any errors.
Eklavvya has already been used by many educational institutes and multinational organizations to conduct online exams in the most secure, hassle-free and dependable way.
Now it is your chance to adopt Eklavvya for conducting online exams for your institute.