Using computers in the assessment process

Computers have become a part of our day today life. Computers are being used in almost every field. By profession whatever we are doctor, engineer, business, teacher etc. computers have changed the way we work. Therefore computer education is a must for every individual. Computers are being taught even at school level now. Person without computer knowledge is now treated as illiterate in society. That is why Maharashtra govt. has made MS-CIT as a basic course compulsory for everyone who is already in govt. service as well as those who are willing to join govt. service. Every official work, either private or govt. is being done with the help of computers because of its large storage capacity and fast processing. It also saves paper work.

Computers also play a very important role in education. Students find it very easy to search information through internet than referring books. Now a day’s computers are commonly available in almost every home due to which students as well as teachers find it easier to store information on computers than maintaining hand written notes. Physical distance of location has become less due to computer networking. Online education became very easy as distance learning through computer networking (i.e. internet). Thus education has become much easier and more interesting than before. Storing information on computers as soft copy helps in saving papers. Today life without computers is not imaginable.

Digital technology is dominating today’s information age. All aspects of human life is influenced by digital technology even the education. Technology is about to change to photon from digital. Very soon photonic technology will be common in society. Majority of devices are digital technology based presently. Computers are also based on digital technology which is an electronics device that has the capacity to process, store, & retrieve both quantitative & qualitative information accurately and fast. Computers are used by researchers for teaching purpose even though it was not developed for improving teaching-learning process quality. It gave birth to Computer Based Instruction (CBI), Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI), Computer Managed Instruction (CMI), etc.

Figure 5.1 Computers for teaching purpose

For teaching different subjects at School and higher education level people started developing CAI which were found significantly superior to Traditional Method/Lecture Method in teaching various subjects. In improving mentally handicapped students achievement in Mathematics and Spelling, the Supplemental CAI Model was found to be effective. From written format like dialogue with a computer, the Language Impaired Children were benefited. When the students with learning with learning disabilities were engaged with CAI activities, they were benefited by following instructions, evaluating performance, accessing information to accomplish the task and setting goals. With a CAI lesson Older Adults were able to improve their knowledge about Health and successfully used the computer. In teaching abbreviation and Language acquisition CAI was very effective. CAI was not useful for learning disabled readers but had a positive impact on reading comprehension for average reader. In promoting learning Programmed Lecture and Tutorial Retrieval Text of CAI were equally effective. Software use did not cause damaging effects when access was denied and improved achievement in learning calculus. In terms of achievement in improving writing skill, teaching reference skills to seventh grade students, in increasing Meta-cognitive Writing Skills and in increasing the rate of the acquisition of School Readiness Skills of pre-school children, CAI was found to be effective. As most of the developed CAIs were not based on sound theories of learning it has not entered into the classrooms in spite of its benefit in different learning aspects. People were not having the sound base of Instructional Design who involved in developing CAI. Secondly, the schools do not have sufficient computer facility, teachers are also not trained in the use of CAI, the courses are changing, etc. The computers were used for Library Management, Psychological Testing, Evaluation database Management, etc. and was not only used for teaching.

Figure 5.2 Uses of Computers

Information Technology

Information Technology (IT) came into existence by computers networking. IT is considered by UNESCO as “Scientific, technological and engineering disciplines and management techniques used in information handling and processing, their application, computers and their interaction with men and machines, and associated social, economical and cultural matters”. A combination of products, techniques and technologies to provide new electronic dimensions to information management is known by the name of Information Technology according to Smith & Cambell. Information Technology is a term used to cover technologies used in the processing, transmission and collection of information. IT includes info electronic and micro-electronic based technologies incorporated in many production processes and service sector is increasingly affected by it. It covers electronic office equipment, industrial robot and computer controlled machine, telecommunication, software products and electronic components. Darnton and Giacoletto defined Information Technology as the systematic study that can be used to give description or form to facts in order to provide support or meaning for making decision and that can be used for the processing, organization, application and communication of information. According to Sansanwal IT is the use of software and hardware information management efficiently such as storage, processing, retrieval, diffusion, sharing and communication of information for cultural, economic and social upliftment.

Figure 5.3 Information Technology

With Information Technology websites are developed. Educational institutions, Government, Corporate sector, etc. started uploading the information on their websites. Many facilities like chat, e-mail, surfing, etc. are provided by it. New source of information which increased the limitation of access to information is opened by it. For searching information people were using only the print material before IT which limited the search. IT has overcome this limitation.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

The textual mode of transmission of information with fast and ease was the limitation of Information Technology. But information in audio, video or any other media was also required to be transmitted to the users. Thus IT + other media became ICT. Online learning, Virtual University, e-learning, e-coaching, e-journal, e-education, etc. is the new means opened by ICT. Third Generation Mobile which is being used in give information cost effective and fast are also part of ICT. It provides e-mail facility which is cost effective and can be accessed anywhere. More rich material for the students and teachers in libraries and the classrooms is brought by ICT. For the learner it has provided opportunity to get the information by the use of maximum senses. It has provided variety in the teaching-learning situation.

Information becomes knowledge with the addition of learning, which is basically data. It is earning, in other words which is based on the capacity to access, find, transform and apply information into new knowledge. To make this transformation the important competencies which learners require are often called information literacy competencies which include the ability to critically analyze information and evaluate its usefulness, ultimately to be able to apply the information and awareness of the need for information, turning it into knowledge.

Communication is that simple act of dialogue that takes on a new dimension when combined with information and technology, the dialog between peoples and cultures.

Technology includes simpler technology such as CD ROM, video, television etc., it is not strictly limited to the Internet. The term IT does imply the use of the Internet and telecommunication networks only.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is defined as the tools based on computer which people use for working with the information and communication processing requirement of an organization. It includes the computer software, hardware, the network and several other devices such as audio, video, camera, photography, etc. that convert information which can be images, text, motion, sound and so on into common digital form.

It has various applications of communication, computing, satellite technology and telecommunication. Lecturers particularly in the university system are basically involved in two things with auxiliary administrative assignments: research and teaching. ICTs have the potentials of not only easing the administrative duties; they have the potentials of ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in these two areas.

In efforts to bring sustainable and positive development to countries around the globe ICT can be an extremely powerful enabler. Almost a full decade into the 21st century today we live in a revolutionary age surrounded by advancement of ICT which was never existed in the past. We are also, however, surrounded by widespread poverty, and social and economic inequalities are the norm. Considered as a powerful tool to promote social and economic development, education has become a primary focus of the recently forged Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD) community, especially in the Least Developed Countries. One way of ensuring equitable development targeted at the very poorest is through universal social protection, including education, health and income.

Figure 5.4 Information and Communication Technology

ICT can be a powerful tool for advancing education efforts going forward, the challenge we face today is turning the potential of Information and Communication Technologies for Education (ICTE) into reality with results. This is a tremendous challenge, compounded by the realistic fears that if not used properly, ICT can increase existing social and economic inequalities, particularly if access and use of ICTE is not equally available to everyone.

In brief, the application of ICT can take many forms and has the ability to ‘revolutionize the way teaching and learning occurs. The concurrent use of multimedia and computers permits the development of new pedagogical approaches involving active and interactive learning’ e,g. using computer based learning methods, problem based learning, project based learning, online, video conferencing, satellite links.

The ICT is excellent in assessment of Quality Education because:

a. Information and communications technology (ICT) offers new and innovative modes of teaching for all colleges of University.

b. It is widely acknowledged that in any College ICT can be used to enhance the teaching and learning quality.

c. ICT can bring about classrooms without walls when lecturers are ready to realize the potential of this powerful tool.

d. With the increased use of ICT as a means of instruction, the decreased importance of physical distance means that the educational and corporate institutions of any country can decide to open a branch anywhere in the world or to reach out across borders using the internet or satellite communication links, effectively competing with any national university on its own territory.

e. ICTs can make the College more efficient or more productive, engendering variety of tools to support and facilitate lecturer’s professional activities. Finally, ICTs are seen as means to reform and innovate teaching, that is, to stimulate learners to learn actively and independently in a self-directed way and/or in collaboration with others.

f. It can be deduced that ICTs can be used to enhance learning and teaching within a university system.

ICT use for assessment of quality

The introduction and use of ICT in universities does not, in itself, imply any innovation or improvement in the quality of the university system, but the adequate use of necessary and inevitable technologies, as a base or a complement for management and learning processes in higher education, certainly can help to improve the learning process and performance. ICT is an instrument, a base upon which to operate, a means which, if properly understood and handled, can help us to improve the processes and the results of our academic undertakings. The presence of technology or its use in the classroom does not, however, come with an inherent guarantee of quality. Quality and its evaluation go beyond the mere use of technology and require an analysis of objectives, processes, agents and, of course, results.

Guaranteeing quality in higher education today, in the 21st century society of knowledge, must consider the appropriate use of ICT. Universities should be spaces more for learning than for teaching, and ICT are doubtless of great help in achieving this, but understanding and making good use of students current way of learning helps even more. Universities now face the challenge of being able to adapt to the new generations of students. For this, the university must operate online in shared knowledge networks, together with other institutions and people: a network of networks, a great structure of nodes of knowledge. These are the current challenges of higher education institutions and they presuppose an understanding of information and communication technologies as a tool for cultural change, communication and transformation of learning processes.

Guaranteeing flexible training adapted to the needs of the students, providing learning resources which are adapted to teaching and learning processes and go beyond traditional classroom techniques, training lecturers in the appropriate use of ICT and guaranteeing that our students obtain the competences needed to enter the labor market. These are some of the key elements that any quality assessment process in Colleges needs to take into account. Appropriate use of ICT is fundamental for this. Diversity, whether in attending the educational needs of students or the wide variety of levels and areas of student interest in the classroom, is something that also has to be taken into account when discussing quality. And, once again, it can be dealt with appropriately with the intensive use of ICT.

Information and communication technologies also allow us to deal with trans-versality in training programs, another important element in quality assessment in universities. This transversality manifests itself through the necessary multi disciplinarily of the programs, but is amplified by ICT with the use of knowledge networks, with the participation in alliances of international networks that facilitate mobility of teachers and students. This mobility does not necessarily have to be physical as it can occur over the Internet thanks to asynchronous presence and a real exchange of ideas, concepts, projects and experience. In the digital era we are, without doubt, dealing with new ways of working and understanding education.

Frequently training is provided for which there is no market and students are taught skills for which demand is declining. This is what we would call a lack of attention to academic sustainability, the university’s lack of attention to market viability of the training provided and the skills being taught to students. There is no doubt that this has to do with the quality of the system, specifically in the analysis of training results. There should be a change in the contents of programs, networking at universities and a change to the system of the traditional classroom: three of the challenges which have a lot to do with the quality of the system and which can be achieved with an adequate use of ICT, particularly the Internet.

There is no doubt that the quality of higher education in the knowledge society is going to depend on the adequate use of ICT in areas including

a. Teacher training,

b. Learning processes and resources,

c. Changes to the traditional classroom and

d. The setting up of networks.

e. Administrative systems.

We must rethink and change the educational models of our universities so that they can keep up with the demands of education in the digital era.

In the end, what is evaluated – or what should be evaluated – in any quality process in higher education is the results of learning and, according to what we have called academic sustainability, these results must be in agreement with the demands of our society. It is difficult to imagine achieving adequate learning results for the knowledge society without a substantial change in educational models which include a change in the traditional classroom. The change to a digital era classroom, the online classroom as part of the online university is the challenge we have to face.

Being latest, the ICT can be used both at higher education and school levels in the following areas:

• Teaching

• Diagnostic Testing

• Remedial Teaching

• Evaluation

• Psychological Testing

• Development of Virtual Laboratory

• Online Tutoring

• Development of Reasoning & Thinking

• Instructional Material Development

Figure 5.5 ICT in various areas

1. Teaching

Mostly teaching concentrates on giving information which is not the sole objective of teaching, at School as well as Higher Education. The other objectives along with giving information are:

• Development of application and understanding of the concepts

• Development of power of expression

• Development of power of thinking and reasoning

• Developing decision making and judgment ability

• Improvement of speed, vocabulary and comprehension

• Development of value clarification and self-concept

• Development of habits of proper study

• Development of risk taking capacity, scientific temper, tolerance and ambiguity

It is difficult to achieve all the objectives with the present class size, infrastructure, availability of teachers, training of teachers, quality of teachers, etc. Potentiality of achieving majority of above mentioned objectives is not there in Lecture method which is used by most of the teachers. For the achievement of objectives multiple methods should be used in an integrated fashion as the objectives are multi-dimensional in nature. ICT may be of some use at present. Not a single teacher is capable of giving complete and up to date information in his/her own subject which is a well-known fact. Here, ICT can fill this gap by providing access to different sources of information. Correct information in different formats as comprehensive as possible will provided by ICT with different examples. Students and teachers can exchange their ideas and views, by using online interaction facility provided by ICT and get clarification on any topic from different practitioners, experts, etc. which will help learners to broaden the information base. The variety in the presentation of content provided by ICT helps learners in better understanding, long retention of information, and concentration which is not possible without it. The students can get chance to work with learners and experts from other countries on any live project. Quality of Teaching-Learning process can be improved with the help of cyber space and super highway. Flexibility denied by the traditional method and process can be provided by ICT to learners which is a must for quality learning and mastery learning. Many websites are freely available on Internet which students and teachers may utilize for developing Thinking & Reasoning, improving vocabulary, understanding different concepts, etc. In preparing for SAT, GRE, TOEFL, etc., ICT can help students.

2. Diagnostic Testing

It is commonly observed that the quality of teaching is on the decline in the classroom. Students are more dependent on the private tutorial classes. Not only in India but in other countries too, the private tuition has become a business. From USA there are about 800 students who have enrolled themselves for private tuition in Mathematics. This shows that tuitions are also being outsourced through the use of ICT. Students who are unable to retain certain information or understand certain concepts can be assessed by introducing the diagnosis in the process of teaching – learning. This is not being done today might be because of non-availability of diagnostic tests in different subjects, large class size, desire and money on the part of teacher, lack of training, etc. In this age of technology these difficulties can be easily overcome with the help of ICT.

3. Evaluation

For evaluating the academic performance of students the paper pencil tests are conducted at present in the group setting. Students cannot use the content at their own and coverage of content is poor. Teachers evaluate these tests and feedback is not given immediately by the teacher to each and every student due to which may be the students are unable to know their weakness and are unable to improve them. In the evaluation the ICT can be used and also to improve the quality of pre as well as in service teacher’s training.

4. Psychological Testing

Some correlates of academic achievement have been studied through research. This information is rarely used by college/school teachers. Even many of them do not have any idea about such researches. At the time of forming the groups for different academic activities they do not make use of it even if they know about it. Trained psychologists who can assess the students on some of the correlates of academic achievement are not available in the college/school which is one of the major reasons. The psychological testing which involves time and money is laborious and even the tests appropriate are not available. Here digital technology can be used to digitalize all the psychological tests including the evaluation and scoring. Whenever required, teachers and students can use them by making it available on the website. Even student can share the result with the teacher and can use it individually. Teacher can help the student to improve his/her academic performance. Thus ICT can be used in psychological testing which will be economical and also easy to use.

5. Developing Virtual Laboratory

If the students do some practical related to the concept they understand better as it makes learning interesting and easy. It is the fact that practical are not done by each student in every school even though the laboratory helps in developing scientific temper because there are many schools without laboratory. Some schools have laboratory but without instrument. Students don’t have freedom to do experiments at their own. There are some good schools too which have laboratories for all classes right from class I to XII and under the supervision of teacher they allow students to play with the material available in the laboratory. During their teaching the teachers also make use of laboratories. The schools, at higher level don’t allow having practical using animals as such practical are done in Biology. In short, students have to work under many restrictions in the laboratory. Now lots of freedom can be given to the students by developing virtual laboratory. The students can now manipulate any variable or attribute related to the experiment and can also see how it affects the outcome. Suppose the factors affecting the focal length of a mirror are to be studied. In the real laboratory, at present the student is unable to manipulate many variables that he/she thinks might be related. In such situation lots of freedom can be provided to the student with virtual laboratory. Student can take different shapes and types of objects, change the thickness of the mirror, change the distance between object and mirror to any extent, etc. and can see how such attributes affect the focal length of the mirror. ICT can be used to develop such virtual laboratory and made available to each and every student at the door step by uploading it on website. Science website can be developed by each country and free of cost access to the virtual laboratory can be given. Such a website can go a long way in helping students of developing and underdeveloped countries and even will help Indian students too.

6. Tutoring Online

Foundries between countries have been broken by the digital technology. Now in communicating with people all over the globe human beings do not feel any type of restriction as access has become easy. Some students find some subjects difficult like Mathematics, Accountancy, Physics, Chemistry, English, etc. as all subjects are not understood by all the students to the same extent. Well-equipped laboratories and competent & qualified Faculty are not available with all educational institutions. Students go for tuition as they feel the need of academic support out of the school. Now students are getting enrolled in private online tuition classes in India from USA & other countries. And this is possible by ICT only. Student in online tutoring stays at his home and logs into his tutor through the use of software and internet. Student who is in USA can see the teacher who is in India and the teacher can also see the student. Teacher replies the question asked by the student by using power point presentation or by writing on soft board. This interaction has made easy the academic life of many students which is normally one to one interaction. In this way in India the manpower available can be made use of other countries. All this is happening just because of ICT.

7. Developing Thinking and Reasoning

With the help of ICT Web Based Instruction (WBI) can be developed. In Web Based Instruction (WBI) computer based training (CBT) is transformed by the methodologies and technologies of the World Wide Web (WWW), the Intranets and Internet which is an innovative approach to distance learning according to Web Based Training (WBT) Information Centre. WBI presents content that allows self-directed and self-paced instruction on any topic in a structure format. WBI is fully capable of adaptation, remediation and evaluation, all independent of computer platform and is media rich learning.

With the objective of training or instructing the user, WBT is the communication of information over the Web or WWW. Computer Based Training (CBT) that uses the company intranet or Web as the delivery medium instead of using CD-ROMs or disks is WBT. Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) includes such communication forms as online Windows Help and manuals, and CBT and WBT are part of it. Thus, for facilitating Reasoning and Thinking ICT can be used for developing WBI.

8. Instructional Material Development

At present at all levels in all most all subjects there is a shortage of competent and qualified teachers. Even the instructional material is not of quality which is available in the print form. The reason is many authors have written on those topics with reading and doing research. Sometime wrong information is given in the books due to which reading does not help students in retaining the information and understanding the concepts and is not very enjoyable. Such Teachers who are well known for the specific subject, their lectures should be digitalized and made available to all the students which will improve the quality of instruction in the classrooms. By using those in classrooms the other teachers can organize discussion after it by which the new points can be added by both the students as well as teacher which will make the teaching participatory, enjoyable and effective.

Accreditation

For higher education accreditation is a scheme of quality assurance which is open to all programs run by the Institutions in Management, Architecture, Engineering and Technology, Pharmacy, Architecture, Town and Country Planning, Applied Arts and Crafts, Hotel management and Catering Technology which provide technical education to students in India.

Accreditation is a process of quality improvement and assurance by which a program in any approved Institution is critically appraised to verify that the program or Institution continues to exceed and meet the standards and norms prescribed by AICTE from time to time. Accreditation does not intend to replace the award system of diplomas and degrees by the autonomous Institutions or Universities, but it provides assurance of quality that the academic aims and that the Institution has demonstrated capabilities of ensuring effectiveness of the educational program(s), over the validity period of accreditation and objectives of the Institution are effectively achieved and honestly pursued by the resources currently available.

Accreditation Needs

In the development of any nation education plays a very important role due to which there is a premium on both quality and quantity of higher education. The method to improve quality remains the same like in any other domain that is recognizing and finding new needs and satisfying them with services and products of international standards.

Benefits of Accreditation

Accreditation facilitates…

 Institution to know its weaknesses, opportunities and strengths through an informed review process.

 Identification of allocation of resource and internal planning areas.

 Campus Collegiality.

 Funding look of agencies for objective data for funding of performance.

 Institutions to initiate modern and innovative pedagogy methods.

 New sense of identity and direction for institutions.

 The society look for reliable information on education quality offered.

 Employers look for reliable information on the education quality offered to the prospective recruits.

 Interactions of Inter and intra-institution.

University Grants Commission (UGC)

The UGC has the unique distinction of being the only grant-giving agency in the country which has been vested with two responsibilities: that of providing funds and that of coordination, maintenance and determination of standards in institutions of higher education.

The mandate of UGC includes:

 Coordinating and promoting education of university.

 Maintaining and determining teaching standards, research and examination in universities.

 Regulations framing on minimum education standards.

 Developments monitoring in the field of university and collegiate education; disbursing grants to the colleges and universities.

 Serving as a vital link between the state governments and Union and higher learning institutions.

 On the measures necessary for improvement of university education advising the State and Central governments.

National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)

For performance evaluation of the Colleges and Universities in the Country, UGC established National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) in September 1994 at Bangalore. Mandate of NAAC includes the task of evaluation of performance, assessment and accreditation of colleges and universities in the country. The NAAC philosophy is based on continuous improvement and objective rather than being judgmental or punitive, so that all higher learning institutions are empowered to maximize their capabilities, resources and opportunities. Performance evaluation of an institution and its units is NAAC assessment which is done by a process based on self-study and peer review by using criteria defined. The certification given by NAAC is Accreditation, which is valid for a period of five years. The Accreditation and Assessment at present by NAAC is done on a voluntary basis.

E-Learning

E-Learning is the use of technology to enable people to learn anytime and anywhere. It can include training, the delivery of just-in-time information and guidance from experts. If you could stop time and inexpensively bring them together all of the people of your organization to learn. In the real world, people have jobs to do and budgets are limited. You’re learning program will need the power of technology to overcome the limitations of time, distance and resources.

You know that people learn in many different ways and at different times. To support these different learning needs, you will need different E-learning delivery methods. Additionally, you will need a way to develop and manage E-learning.

E-learning includes all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching. The information and communication systems, whether networked learning or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process. The term will still most likely be utilized to reference out-of-classroom and in-classroom educational experiences via technology, even as advances continue in regard to devices and curriculum. Abbreviations like CBT (Computer-Based Training), IBT (Internet-Based Training) or WBT (Web-Based Training) have been used as synonyms to e-learning.

E-learning is the computer and network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge. E-learning applications and processes include Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual education opportunities and digital collaboration. Content is delivered via the Internet, intranet/extranet, audio or video tape, satellite TV, and CD-ROM. It can be self-paced or instructor-led and includes media in the form of text, image, animation, streaming video and audio.

It is commonly thought that new technologies can strongly help in education. In young ages especially, children can use the huge interactivity of new media, and develop their skills, knowledge, perception of the world, under their parents monitoring, of course. Many proponents of e-learning believe that everyone must be equipped with basic knowledge in technology, as well as use it as a medium to reach a particular goal.

Conclusion

Computers can be very helpful in assessment process. Information Technology which came in to existence by computer networking can be used in handling information and processing it. IT can be used for website development which provides facilities like surfing, e-mail, chatting, etc. A new source of information is opened by IT. Information on the internet is not only in textual form, but it can be an audio, video or any other media. And this type of information on net is possible by a new technology called Information Communication Technology (ICT). Thus ICT is IT + other media. Being the latest technology in computers, ICT can be a very powerful tool in the assessment of quality in Higher Education. Thus a model can be developed and implemented by using this robust and new technology which can be used in assessment of quality in higher education.

Source: Essay UK - http://www.essay.uk.com/essays/information-technology/using-computers-assessment-process/


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