The invention of computer technology converted traditional classrooms with blackboards to computer-assisted classrooms. The widespread usage of the Internet further added to teaching and learning methods, the additional features like interactive teaching, smart classes as well online teaching and learning techniques. There is also a shift in competitive examination patterns from traditional paper-based to computer-assisted online examinations. National eligibility tests for Engineering students like JEE were completely made online. The medical common entrance test NEET is under consideration to be made online.
The Novel corona virus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has lead to a Health emergency and was declared as a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020.1 It was later proclaimed as Pandemic by WHO on March 11, 2020.2 The Indian Government announced a Nationwide lockdown on March 25, 2020,3 onwards and various health universities of South India like Dr. NTRUHS, RGUHS, Dr. MGRUHS, KUHS advised medical colleges under them to conduct online classes from April 2020 onwards.
As the duration of lockdown progressed further, and further the Medical Colleges noticed the need to evaluate the students online as there was no scope of the offline evaluation. Due to the lack of standardized protocols and also due to the lack of knowledge of both students and teachers about online evaluation, there were some difficulties.
Like online teaching, the online evaluation is also costlier as it requires Laptops, Smart Phones, and Internet facility; apart from these financial issues and technical issues related to the Internet, students mindset also to be shifted from traditional classroom-based examination to home-based online examination, which plays a vital role.
Materials and Methods
A study was conducted about online evaluation among first-year Medical students of Narayana Medical College Nellore.
The participants included first-year Medical students of the 2019 batch. The students were given a structured questionnaire consists of 10 questions; the questions were closed type with four questions having Yes or No response and six questions with multiple choice answers. All the students who were willing to participate were included. This study has the permission of the Institutional Ethical Committee.
Ninety students both boys and girls participated in the study and their response was collected through the mail. The response was statistically analyzed, and results were represented in percentage.(Table 1)
Analysis and Discussion
Majority students were not satisfied with online examination (62.2%). Only 16.7% felt that the online examination is better than offline examination and 13.3% are of opinion that both are equally good. The students feel isolated from the classmates in home based examination (58.9%).
The majority are not interested in taking online examination in post COVID scenario (73.3%) and regarding combination of both online and offline examinations 34.4% felt that they should not be combined and only about 4.4% favored regular combination 51.1% of the students said they never copied in the examination, and the rest of them copied at least occasionally. Most of the students said they had faced technical difficulties during the examination (75.6%), and they are not sure from which end (47.8%).
The majority of students are under the opinion that MCQs should not be more than 50% of total marks (71.1%). Most of the students are of the opinion that the standards of online examination questioning are good (61.1%) 23.3% felt it is average, 12.2% felt excellent, and only 3.3% opined it as bad, and the majority felt that there is sufficient time to understand the questions (66.7%).
Students are still not accustomed to online examinations; they are ready to accept it with the traditional examination pattern. Students and teaching staff must be trained properly for online examinations. Facilities like the availability of computers/smart phones and fast Internet must be made affordable before online examinations are made more common.
Limitations and Recommendations
The study was conducted in a private medical college in South India involving first-year students, and the sample size is small. A large sample size involving more medical colleges, both private and Government, across India will give more accurate results.