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How IITs, NITs are grading students

By Samreen Ahmad and Vinay Umarji
June 25, 2020 13:58 IST
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To stay on course with their academic calendars, several steps for graduating batches and fresh incoming batches are being taken.
Samreen Ahmad and Vinay Umarji report.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Engin Akyurt/Pexels.com
 

Engineering colleges across the country, including the Indian Institutes of Technology, National Institutes of Technology, are racing to make up for time they lost during the lockdown.

To stay on course with their academic calendars, several steps for graduating batches and fresh incoming batches are being taken.

Colleges are in talks with service providers or developing in-house learning management solutions for taking their academics online.

Some have even done away with final exams and are, instead, looking at options to grant marks or credits to students such as according merits from previous internals and semester or telephonic viva.

For instance, IIT-Guwahati is in discussion with two major companies for providing both software and hardware solutions and integrating the online teaching and examination.

The virtual laboratories and studios of the institute are being utilised for imparting online classes.

Its CSE faculty has developed a tool to conduct online exams.

"We have empowered course instructors to take the best mode with a condition that beyond mid-semester syllabi, 10 per cent weightage is given," says T G Sitharam, director, IIT- Guwahati.

About 70 per cent of syllabi of all theory and laboratory courses at the institute were covered before the lockdown and online classes were held from April to cover remaining syllabus.

Currently, the institute is using Microsoft Teams software to conduct online classes along with Skype, Zoom, and Google meeting.

At IIT-Madras, since only some of the students are registered for courses in the last semester, it is evaluating them individually through an online/telephonic viva voce examination.

"The institute is considering options for conducting exams for the continuing students and will find a way that is least stressful to the students and also takes care of their long-term interests," says an IIT -Madras spokesperson.

NIT-Warangal is not conducting final examination this year, especially for the graduating batch.

Instead, the college is weighing options to grant marks or credits to students.

On a case-to-case basis, depending on whichever is higher, the institute is looking at either doubling internal marks in the absence of final examination or consider previous semester's cumulative grade points average or semester grade points average whichever is higher.

"When the lockdown began, there were two weeks of course still pending before the final examination. While the courses were administered online during the lockdown, there won't be any examination," says Kiran Kumar, professor in-charge for placements and external relations at NIT Warangal.

"Instead, other options are being weighed upon. The institute will decide whatever will be in favour of the students," Professor Kumar adds.

RV College of Engineering in Bengaluru has been deploying platforms such as Quiklrn and exam.net for internal assessment of students.

The institute is planning to tie up with agencies to bring high-tech touch to the examination process.

"We are looking at a proctored examination system," says K N Subramanya, principal of the college.

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Samreen Ahmad and Vinay Umarji Bengaluru and Ahmedabad
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