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Mar 18, 2009

Integrated Examination Management System At Coimbatore AU

Answer scripts being scanned at the Network Operating Centre (NoC) in the Anna University campus at Jothipuram near Coimbatore. If you are a student of Anna University, Coimbatore, then you will be the first to reap the benefit of the Integrated Examination Management System. The system, said to be the first of its kind in the country, is expected to transform the examination management process, end-to-end.

“Though there have been examination management systems in select institutions such as the MGR Medical University, where the question paper is transmitted via e-mail or the online exams being conducted by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, the solution has been limited to a specific process. Ours is an end-to-end solution,” says the Anna University Coimbatore Vice-Chancellor, Dr R Radhakrishnan. Anna University Coimbatore was established by the Government of Tamil Nadu under the Act no 42 of 2006, in February 2007, from the parent Anna University at Chennai. It has within its fold 118 affiliated engineering and standalone institutions spread across nine districts in the State.
“Imagine management of question paper dispatch to the respective colleges affiliated to the University on the eve of the exam and pooling of answer scripts at close, under the conventional system. It has been a mind-boggling exercise. We had to ensure that papers do not leak, amidst rumours and reports of purported attempts. This will go into history now,” says Dr Radhakrishnan, while admitting that it has not been easy either to implement such a solution. The University has, through a tender process, selected MindLogicx to implement the Integrated Examination Management System (EMS).

“We signed up with Railtel to provide 8 Mbps 1:1 broadband connection to all Government, Government-aided and self-financing engineering colleges in this region for implementing EMS,” he says. The University provides 2 Mbps VPN connectivity to its affiliated colleges for facilitating virtual classroom environment and online video conferencing. For implementing the EMS, the University will serve as a Networking Centre. Each affiliated college will have an Examination Data Centre in 1,000 sq.ft space provided by the college. The college will appoint a faculty as EMS Coordinator to liaise between the college and the university through the EDC.

The EMS implementation starts from issue of e-hall ticket and generation of question papers to conduct of exams online. It is a five-phase process. Take, for instance, generation of question papers. “Under the new system, the Controller of Examinations, after obtaining the question papers from experts, will upload the same in the server just two hours before the commencement of the exam. The paper will be delivered a few minutes before the scheduled time of the exam, using the 128 bit encryption technology to the respective IP address at the EDC in each college.

Since the question papers are sent through a secured network, confidentiality is maintained,’ says Dr Radhakrishnan. ‘The answer sheets are sent to the zonal offices with dummy numbers. The scripts are then scanned in high-end digital scanners and the scanned images sent to the central server, maintained at the Networking Centre at Anna University, Coimbatore. The evaluation is on the scanned answer scripts. Eligible faculty members who evaluate the answer scripts report to the zonal office where the Central Valuation Centres (CVC) are installed, for doing the digital evaluation after logging into the system.

The evaluated answer sheets, along with the marks awarded, will be sent back to the central server at the Networking Centre,” explains Dr Radhakrishnan. And result declaration is even more amazing under the new system. It is planned in such a way that within 30 days from the last date of examination, the results will be published. If a student seeks to have his answer script revalued, the scanned images of the answer sheet will be sent to the student concerned, along with the details of the staff member who evaluated the answer script to his official e-mail ID. The student can take a print-out and, if required, apply for revaluation online.

The University is following a 9-point grading scale to publish the results. Once published, students can receive an e-mail copy of the mark sheet. The mark sheet will, however, be sent to the EDC with bar code and confidential security system. The EDC will take a print-out of the mark sheet and distribute it to students. Earlier, if you did badly in the exam for want of preparation, you could always make a noise about revaluation. Now, under the new system, perhaps it would be wiser not to! Forget tracking your answer sheets or speculating about a question paper leak. You will only be wasting your time!

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