A Conclusion Of Confusion? Online Exam Modalities
In these tough times of increasing Covid cases at a much higher rate than before, the turbulence of traditional offline examination led to a hustle amongst students to integrate, unite and shift to the online mode of examination. Similarly, the students' protest against offline examination and media coverage of the Covid cases at NIT Rourkela made the administration take up an emergency senate meeting aimed at resolving the exam conundrum.
ELUCIDATION ON THE ONLINE EXAM MODALITIES
With reference to circular No.NITR/RG/2021/M/0247 dated 30.03.2021, it was informed that the end semester examination of theory subjects of all the programs for both autumn and spring semesters of the academic year 2020-21 shall be conducted through online mode as decided in Senate meeting held on 26th March 2021.
Further, it was stated that the modalities of the online examination are to be decided by the committee framed on the recommendation of the senate, and those decisions shall be communicated to the students shortly. Furthermore, the earlier scheduled offline examination stands cancelled.
Team Monday Morning reached out to Associate Dean Academics, Prof. Nihar Ranjan Mishra to seek clarifications on the schedule and modalities of the online examination.
Monday Morning (MM): The committee about modalities on online examination was supposed to decide on it within a week. When is the circular expected to come out?
Prof. Nihar Ranjan Mishra (Associate Dean Ac): A Senate meeting was held on 9th April to finalize the procedure for the examinations. The circular is expected to be released by Monday i.e. 12.04.2021.
MM: What will be the schedule of the examination? Is the schedule only for the final years or all the academic years?
Associate Dean Ac: Presently, examinations would be conducted only for the final year. Our priority is the final year students; we are planning to finish off their exams by 31st May.
The autumn semester examination for final year students is scheduled to start from 26th April. There would be a gap of 15 days after which the spring semester examinations will commence. MS Teams will be used as the platform for the exams and the respective professor would be given the freedom to finalise the modalities of the examination using tools available on MS Teams.
MM: Summer Internship is compulsory for the pre-final year students, how is the administration planning to accommodate the exams for them? What has Senate decided for other years?
Associate Dean Ac: Pre-final year students would ideally not be bothered for examinations between 15th May to 15th July because they have internships but we will talk and decide what is feasible for them. The Senate is yet to decide for other year students. As we have a lot of time right now, i.e. the months of April, May, June and July, we will decide and conduct examinations for other years, subsequently.
MM: Why aren't the examinations done simultaneously for all years and would there be any proctoring software for invigilation?
Associate Dean Ac: As the exam is online, it would be challenging for us to invigilate many students at once. Professors are given the freedom to decide on the modalities and conduct exams for their respective subjects. We went through multiple proctoring software but couldn't find any significant differences among them. We would be using certain features of MS Teams to aid us.
MM: The Institute agreed to examine the students who were not satisfied with the last spring semester grades. What is being done for the same?
Associate Dean Ac: We expected that life will be normal soon, but it does not seem feasible presently. Anyhow, I will discuss this with my colleagues once the final years are done with their examinations.
TATKAL VACATING OF HOSTEL ROOMS
With reference to circular No.NITR/RG/2021/M/0284 dated 06.04.2021, it was informed that all the students [except PhD, M.Tech(R), scholars engaged in sponsored projects, international students, the final year of M.Tech and dual degree (if interested to stay)] are directed to vacate their hostels positively by 14th March 2021. The decision taken was in line with the Senate decision about the online examination of autumn and spring semesters for the academic year 2020-21, followed by the decision taken in Dean's and HoD's meeting held on 6th April 2021. Permission for the final year of M.Tech and dual degree students not to vacate their rooms will be given by a committee comprising Dean (Ac), Dean (SW), Chief Warden and Associate Dean (Ac). This student/s for the permission will apply to the Associate Dean (Ac) through supervisor and HoD citing a valid reason. Moreover, non-compliance with this circular would be viewed seriously and necessary disciplinary action deemed fit may be taken against the defaulters.
Students were instructed to leave the campus when he/she has an RT-PCR negative report and vacate his/her room. The graduating students were required to collect Gate Pass, Leaving Hall, Return of Books (If any) from CRB of Halls. Other students were required to collect a gate pass form from CRB of Halls.
MM: How is the institute taking care of the students facing network issues and those who cannot return home due to genuine issues?
Associate Dean Ac: We are kind enough for the students having a genuine problem. Such students should submit an application recommended by their HOD and Faculty Advisor if they have any problem in returning to their native place due to an outbreak of Covid in that area or any other reasons. I request all the students, whoever can leave the campus, go back home as the situation is not good in Sundargarh district as well across the country, and things are looking uncertain. MTech and PhD are not advised to leave the campus right now.
We are concerned about the health of all the students. My sincere request to all the students is to follow the Covid guidelines and cooperate with the administration.
Update: A circular No.NITR/RG/2021/M/0302 was released on 12.04.2021 with all the details of the online examination.
Team Monday Morning is actively on the lookout for further developments.