From tech problems to preparing MCQs: Professors struggle as Mumbai University preps for final year exams

After the UGC announced its decision to conduct the final year examination, Mumbai University has begun its preparation and started creating clusters in respective colleges and their areas. Professors of these clusters have been asked to prepare MCQs for examination to be conducted by colleges and universities.

But there is a problem...

Now, the exams are slated to be held between October 1 and 17 and this situation has created confusion among students as well as the teaching faculty.

Professors have been directed to conduct oral/viva and final exams. The problem now is that for teachers who are visiting faculty in different colleges, conducting exams of so many students in less period of time seems impossible. Well, conducting exams is not easy and given the situation, it requires a lot of planning whilst also keeping in mind the safety norms issued by the government.

Senior faculties are under pressure amid the pandemic with a lack of technical knowledge. Moreover, the university has not provided them with any type of technical training and guidance.

Speaking to The Free Press Journal,  Prof. Avadesh Yadav, who is a visiting faculty in the BMM department in various colleges of Mumbai, said “It is really hard and nearly impossible to make MCQs in subjects like FM and direct marketing. This MCQ pattern is bad for students for practical subjects. MU is making different clusters according to colleges but this pattern lacks uniformity.”

He went on to explain how the pattern lacks uniformity and its effects on the student's final result. He said, “If one cluster of college is making simple question paper and others make hard question paper then this will result in the messed up final result. They will lose their marks and the overall grading of sincere students be less than descriptive exams. This is a panic situation for students and professors created by MU.”

Professors have been asked to prepare around 100-250 MCQs. With this, around 500 MCQs for each subject will be prepared. What's problematic is that some departments have multiple teachers teaching one subject. For example, in the humanities department, some professors teach more than three subjects as visiting faculty resulting in confusion as to what exactly would be their final set of questions. Now, this surely sounds like a chaotic situation for both, students as well as professors as they still remain clueless about the question paper and how the exams are going to be held.

All the chaos will also interrupt the admission process of various post-graduate courses. Nimish G. Dhakan of SIWS College, Wadala said, “We do not know about the technicality of MCQ paper pattern. The college informed us about the mock tests but this will take our preparation time in other directions. Colleges are cooperative and helping but this delay of exams will affect our post-graduation preparation as well as admission process”

Now, conducting online exams is not the only problem the college and professors have to deal with. Professors are also facing technical difficulties in online classes already.  The professors will now have to multitask. In addition to this, some professors are forced to prepare MCQs without any laptop or computer, and doing it on mobile phones is an impossible effort.

Some of the professors are also demanding that the university should give authority to colleges to conduct the exam and colleges should submit their question paper to the university as per the old descriptive old pattern but in an online form.

Students too are confused about the university's decisions as the exam will be conducted in an online pattern and results will be provided in a traditional way. Some are even concerned about the vast portion and less time to prepare.

Rupali R. Kadam, a student of Siddharth college said, “Students and professors both are clueless about timing and dates of exams. None of the basic information is provided by MU as to are we going to get supervised in exams or should we keep our web cameras on or not…? We got very little time for preparation in a vast portion of the subject for 50 marks only.”

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Free Press Journal