ICT Enabled Scheme of On-Demand Examination in IGNOU

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Registration Name : eINDIA2011/AN/197
Project Category : digitalLEARNING::Best Assessment Tool Providers
Project Name : ICT Enabled Scheme of On-Demand Examination in IGNOU

Details of Applicant
Name : Oum Prakash Sharma
Address : Maidan Garhi
City : New Delhi
State : Delhi
Country : INDIA
Zip Code : 110068

Details of Project/Implementing Agency
Name of Organisation : Indira Gandhi National Open University
Address : Maidan Garhi,,
City : New Delhi
State : Delhi
Country : INDIA
Zip Code : 110068
Name of the head of Organisation : Prof. M. Aslam
Website : http://winex.ignou.ac.in/

Brief description of the programme/project/Initiative :
The scheme of On-Demand Exam in IGNOU is a comprehensive ICT enabled system of ‘examination on-demand’ which provides the learners an opportunity to appear in the examination as per their preparation and convenience. In fact it is a blended scheme of ICT and traditional paper-pen examination system wherein students can walk-in any time at the selected examination centre and take examination. The flexible nature of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system and changing profile of distance learners has necessitated starting such innovative scheme which has made the existing examination system more flexible and learner friendly. The scheme of examination On-Demand has the following ICT enabled components: a. Specially designed and customizable software capable of generating individualised, unique and parallel question papers as per the design and blueprints of question papers of different courses, with a number of inbuilt security features. b. Web based on-time delivery of question papers to the exam centres in encrypted form and delivery of marking schemes/keys after 24 hours of the conduct of exam. c. 24×7 Online students Facilitation services such as online registration for On-Demand Exam, online payment of fee, online issue of acknowledgement receipt and Hall tickets for exam, online clarification of doubts, result, etc. d. Web based facilities for the Regional Centre/ Exam Centres for viewing the status of students registered for On-Demand Exam, confirmation of their registration, online convey of information to the students without e-mail, online attendance, online posting of awards and marks, printing of award lists, attendance lists etc All these components have multilayered security features, well defined accessibility and provisions for scalability. ICT enabled monitoring of the conduct of on-demand exam under web camera surveillance ensures fair and smooth conduct of OD-Exam.

Why was the project started :
As most of the distance learners in Higher Education are working people; they normally do not get leave from their organizations for several days at a stretch for term end examinations, and hence they fail to complete their courses in stipulated time limit. The examinations being institute centric are conducted in a fixed time frame and therefore many of the students appear without proper preparations which lead unsatisfactory results in many subjects. Moreover, a large proportion of the valuable time of faculty gots consumed in preparing assignments and question papers which otherwise they could have effectively devoted to concentrate on academic matters. These genuine problems prompted the NCIDE to develop a comprehensive ICT enabled system of ‘examination on-demand’ enabling the learners to appear in the examination as per their preparation and convenience

Objective :
To enable the learners to appear in the examination as per their preparation and convenience on the date and time of their choice

Target group : All the learners of IGNOU all over the world
Geographical reach : All over the country and efforts are being made to take it to the overseas country
Date from which theproject became operational : 13 February 2009
Is the Project still operational : YES

10 points that make the programme/project innovative?

  1. It is a blended scheme of examination which has a mix of technology and traditional system of examination independent of the traditional fixed time frame enabling student to take exam without waiting for the six monthly term end examination.
  2. The registration for On-Demand Exam is completely on-line. After ensuring the eligibility and receipt of registration fee, Hall Ticket indicating date & time is issued on-line. There is inbuilt mechanism for checking the authenticity of the student’s data, eligibility for the exam, validity of the admission etc. which ensures that only genuine learners are benefitted
  3. It makes use of ICT to solve problems which arise due to human limitations; it makes possible instant generation of parallel question papers, and facilitates authorised data entry at different points, leaving no chance for human error. It has very silently reformed the system of evaluation without making abrupt changes
  4. It is not only simple and user friendly but it is also cost effective and saves time and effort in setting question papers, in data base management and in data transfer. Most of the facilities for the students as well as for the Regional Centres are online and thus reduces the use of papers making it a green scheme.
  5. It generates individualised and unique question papers of comparable difficulty level, on the day of examination b picking up the questions randomly from the question bank as per the blueprint & design.
  6. Immediately after generation, the question papers are encrypted which are accessed online by the authorised person at the Regional Centre and they are decrypted using a specific decryption software and unique key generated along with the question paper which is different for different Regional Centres. The decrypted question papers can not be saved in the hard disc of any system
  7. Each question paper has unique bar code and a unique question paper code having date and time of generation with the help of which students’ question paper and answer sheet can be matched at any later instant, if required
  8. Marking scheme for each question paper is also generated along with the question papers which can be accessed only after 24 hours of exam.
  9. It has an inbuilt provision of backup of the data base such as question papers generated and printed, changes made in the data base etc.. Log files are created indicating the date, time and the IP address of the system from which the server is accessed
  10. Reports like date wise & course wise list of students registered for OD-Exam, attendance sheets and blank award lists can be generated and printed by the Regional Centres concerned. Awards and marks are submitted online for final result processing

List the 5 achievements of the programme/project?

  1. What started as an humble beginning as first On-Demand Exam on 11th December, 2009, with 8 courses of two certificate programmes of IGNOU at two Regional Centres, it has now grown to about 200 courses covering about 40 programmes through 23 Regional Centres and is expected to expand even faster. The scheme is being extended for the Partner Institutes in foreign countries also
  2. In a short span of about 22 months from the first OD-Exam, more than 4000 students have got themselves registered for On- Demand Exam and about 2500 have appeared. The system has shown its strength and foolproofness as all the examinations have been conducted successfully
  3. Each Regional Centre has been allotted with 25 sheets for each Friday for On-Demand Exam. For the last six months, the weekly sheets at both the Regional centres in Delhi and Jammu are being fully occupied. It indicated the usefulness and popularity of the scheme
  4. As a part of the scheme, a digital question bank having more than 150,000 questions both in English and Hindi medium has been developed for about 200 courses of the University and it is being upgraded continuously and regularly for many other courses.
  5. The success of On-demand examination is changing the mindset of Academia. The software is being used for instant generation of the question papers for term end examination also, which has made the process of question paper setting highly cost effective and less time taking.

List the 5 key challenges faced while implementing the programme/project/initiative :

  1. Preparing people to accept change was the biggest challenge. But awe turns into appreciation when the new system works and people start tasting its fruits. One has to work patiently, consistently and resolutely. The same thing happened with this programme.
  2. More than 3000 courses of 400 programmes, different subjects, different papers with different designs and blue prints developing a system which caters to every need was a real challenge, but finally, we developed powerful versatile software which is well adapted for ODL. As we are working, we are improving and updating it.
  3. NCIDE does not have subject expertise in all areas on which question banks have been prepared. So a big challenge had been to check the question bank from the point of view of subject expertise. In many cases NCIDE had to imbibe subject specific knowledge to give proper shape to the question banks
  4. Most of the courses of IGNOU are bilingual. Developing bilingual Question Bank in itself was a huge effort – identifying subject experts who know Hindi as well as English was a challenge. Gradually we are meeting it with success and preparing data base of competent translators for different subjects with a view of their future involvement
  5. Delivery of question papers, having secrecy and security issues in mind, to different centres of the country at different places at the same time is another challenge. With use of technology and latest safety and security measures we have finally succeeded in resolving the issue. We can now conduct On-Demand Exam all over the world at the same time with adequate safety measures

List the 5 points how can the prgramme serve as a model that can be replicated or adapted by others?

  1. The scheme of examination on-demand can be easily replicated in any educational institution at the secondary, senior secondary and tertiary levels. The on-line registration module can be customised for any registration purpose be it examination related or otherwise
  2. The On-demand-exam module can also be used for generating quality and parallel question papers for term end exams in no time, specially in case of emergency and where the number of examinees is very less which will reduce the burden of question paper setting and thus will reduce the cost and time of paper setting
  3. In can be adapted for on-line- On-Demand examinations with a provision for instantaneous result declaration
  4. In the present context of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation, the software can be used for individualized assignment generation and delivering online as well as offline tests any number of times anywhere anytime with a provision of instant feedbacks
  5. The scheme of On-Demand Exam can be easily adapted by any other ODL system and it may provide a lot of administrative support and reduce administrative burden of the evaluation system. It may also help in reducing workload on term end examination

List 5 points to elaborate on the scalability of the programme/project/initiative

  1. It is an inherently adaptable system which can be easily upscaled to any number of courses, to any number of examination centres catering to all the students of IGNOU. The scheme can be extended to all the courses in the University without additional expenditure except that for the question bank development.
  2. It started functioning with eight courses of two programmes through two Regional Centres in February 2009, and now it has expended to about 200 courses through 23 Regional Centres of IGNOU. About 15-20 additional courses are being added in every quarter.
  3. It does not require specially skilled or trained manpower to handle the entire process of on-Demand examination at the exam centres. The training of the personnel involved with the On-Demand Exam at Regional Centres is also done online. Hence, there is no problem in making these facilities available in any corner of the world
  4. The extension of the facility of On-Demand Exam to new Regional Centres is very cost effective with one time initial investment on developing infrastructure, the running cost on the entire process is substantially reduced. The same infrastructure can be used for On-Demand Exam in other courses to be introduced from time to time.
  5. The success of On-demand examination is changing the mindset of Academia of higher education which will surely help to change the assessment and evaluation scenario in Open and Distance system in near future making the examination on demand.

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