Round Table Discussion
VTU's Digital Evaluation (Pros and Cons)
Event Jointly Organised by Shruth & Smith Foundation &
Professionals' Action Committee for Educational Reforms (PACER) Foundation:
Date: April 04, 2012, Wednesday
Time: 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Venue: Committee Hall, FKCCI, Next to State Bank of Mysore Building, Kempe Gowda Road, Bangalore-01
Inauguration by: Prof. M. R. Holla, Founder President, PACER
About VTU's DES: Dr. Krishna Murthy, Registrar (Evaluation), VTU
Presiding: Dr. T. V. Raju, Chairman, Shruth & Smith Foundation
Moderator: Mr. Karan Kumar H., Academic Council Member, Bangalore University
As we all know that VTU, being one of the biggest Technological Universities in India, has more than 200 engineering colleges affiliated to it in the state of Karnataka. In January 2012, VTU became the first Technological University in India to make use of latest digital technology, which is similar to the one implemented by Bangalore University for some undergraduate courses some time back, to evaluate all answer scripts. It is claimed that DES is designed to help students get their results in record time.
However, to note, some section of Technical Education fraternity has expressed its apprehensions & raised several questions on the effectiveness & transparency of Digital Evaluation System adopted by VTU in the recent past. More than anything, as it is estimated that more than 25,00,000 answer scripts (related to 3,00,000 students of VTU) need to be evaluated annually, the question here is how foolproof is the DES of VTU for the student community.
In this direction, as to deliberate in detail on the Pros & Cons of Digital Evaluation System, Shruth & Smith Foundation, in association with PACER Foundation, is organizing a Round Table Discussion, involving all the stakeholders like Principals of various Engineering Colleges, VTU Examination Authorities, DES Coordinators and Student Representatives.
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Digital Evaluation – Need
The varsity evaluates about 15 lakh answer scripts per semester at centres in Bangalore, Belgaum, Mysore and Mangalore and other major cities in the State. The amount of effort and cost along with the scope of errors was huge in the physical evaluation of answer books.
Chances of error in coding and decoding, tabulation and compilation of marks and compilation of results was ever present in the old system.
Earlier teachers travelled from one city to the other for valuation, increasing the effort, time and cost involved in evaluation.
Many women employees would hesitate, particularly if they had to travel from Bangalore to a smaller town and stay there for a couple of days. Now, lecturers can go to the nearest centre for evaluating papers and return home the same day. Here too, it is said that an option would be given to the evaluators to login from their respective institutions.
Earlier, if a student wanted to verify his answer script, it was a tedious process of applying for revaluation and obtaining the marks sheet. Now, the answer scripts would be sent to his/her mail. The time required now is a few minutes.
Digital Evaluation – How does it work?
ach answer script is given a bar code and scanned by high-speed high resolution machines that can scan up to 800 scripts (44 pages each) in eight hours. The scanned copies are then uploaded onto the VTU server. Authorised valuators will log into the system with the username assigned to him/her and 10 answer scripts will be assigned to him/her at a time. On the first day, valuators will correct 30 scripts; on second day 40, and 50 scripts from the third day onwards. The marks are entered on the system and calculated automatically, thus eliminating any possibility of tabulation errors.
Through this system, results can be declared within a week of the examination. The university will save up to Rs 5 crore, as it will reduce costs associated with stationery, travel and dearness allowance for evaluators and other personnel and the cost involved in movement of answer scripts.
Evaluations will be done in Bangalore, Belgaum, Mysore and Mangalore, among eight cities chosen presently. In Bangalore, New Horizon College of Engineering, SJB Institute of Technology and K S School of Engineering are the three places where evaluations are being taken up. Teachers can choose a centre close to their homes, and the institutes will organise buses for their travel.
In the next two years, it is intended to have valuation in every college so that lecturers can finish the work in their free time and need not travel anywhere else for the purpose.
Online submission of internal assessment marks and online generation of hall tickets based on attendance have also been introduced. Also, in the future, hall ticket generation will be introduced in every college.
To summarise DES is intended to be - transparent, tamper-proof, efficient, cost-effective teacher and evaluator friendly.
Digital Evaluation – Concerns / Apprehensions
Time-tested online and conventional evaluation systems have been discontinued.
The incorporation of DES is in violation of VTU statutes related to the appointment of examiners.
A majority of the meritorious students draw neat sketches using pencil/blue ink pens/colour pens in the answer books. These figures are sometimes not visible clearly after scanning.
Under DES, answer books can be sent to the colleges or the homes of the examiners where they can evaluate them. Hence, there will be no confidentiality under the system.
Digital evaluation requires cutting the stitched portions of the answer scripts and scanning the same. What measures are taken to avoid possible tampering?
The answer books need bar code labels to be pasted on them before cutting the stitched portions and scanning them. After cutting, there is scope for replacing the inside pages with those from other answer books. New pages may also be added with the intention of helping some students. Thus, there is scope for misuse of the revaluation facility. How is this addressed?
The scanned answer scripts could be transmitted on the Internet and are amenable for hacking.
It is claimed that DES is fast and results could be given in a record time of three days. If in case, scanning itself takes much time, what are the measures taken to ensure quick publishing of results?
Is there a mechanism to review / update in case of any possible faults / issues in the DES?