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 Table of Contents  
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 88-89

Strengthening the component of online assessments in medical education


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission14-Dec-2020
Date of Acceptance20-Dec-2020
Date of Web Publication16-Mar-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur–Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District 603108, Tamil Nadu.
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/mgmj.mgmj_92_20

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  Abstract 

The emergence of coronavirus disease-2019 has accounted for major disruptions of all sectors, including medical education. As there was no clarity about the re-opening of medical institutions, we shifted from the conventional model to an online form of teaching-learning and assessment. The online assessments can be carried out in different ways and have been associated with a wide range of benefits for the teachers and the students. The online assessments tend to have multiple concerns as well, which are predominantly linked to the involved financial costs, internet issues, assessment of all the domains of learning, etc. Most of the above challenges in online assessments can be handled effectively by sustained administrative support, initial financial investment to establish the system, and the appointment of a qualified technical team to operate the system in the institution. In conclusion, online assessments among medical students have to be carried out to assess the progression of learning. The need of the hour is to overcome the prevailing challenges and strengthen the overall process of teaching-learning by addressing them better through administrative and technical support.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, medical education, online assessment


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Strengthening the component of online assessments in medical education. MGM J Med Sci 2021;8:88-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Strengthening the component of online assessments in medical education. MGM J Med Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Apr 14];8:88-9. Available from: http://www.mgmjms.com/text.asp?2021/8/1/88/311393




  Introduction Top


The emergence of coronavirus disease-2019 and its declaration as one of the public health emergencies of international concern has accounted for major disruptions of all sectors.[1] Because the infection spreads by close contact and via the airborne route, all the educational institutions, including medical colleges have been closed to avert the emergence of the outbreak in these settings.[1] Also, this break in physical teaching was required to give some time for the institutions to improve their level of preparedness to minimize the risk of disease and also be ready to deal with the case/s which are reported in the institution.[1],[2]

Online teaching-learning and assessment

As there was no clarity about the re-opening of medical institutions and realizing the need that teaching-learning should continue despite all other developments, we shifted from the conventional model to an online form of teaching-learning and assessment.[1] As online learning and assessment were new to most of the medical teachers and students, there was an immense need to sensitize the stakeholders about the use of computers, information technology, various online apps, etc., so that online mode becomes more acceptable.[2],[3] Though the use of online technology came out to be easier for teaching-learning, their utility in the field of formative and summative assessment is debatable.[3]

Methods for online assessment

The online assessments can be carried out in a wide range of ways, like in the form of pre-test and post-test (during a theory class), various types of multiple-choice questions (MCQs), use of google forms or google classrooms or learning management system, viva-voce using either zoom or social media apps, use of various apps (like Kahoot, Gosoapbox, Quizziz for asking MCQs, fill in the blanks, true/false, short answer questions), proctored online assessments, simulation-based assessments, etc.[1],[2],[3],[4] The need of the hour is that these assessments should be made more relevant, valid, and should be organized in a meaningful and useful manner for the benefit of medical students.[2],[3],[4] The Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Unit, a constituent college of Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry, was actively involved in the planning and conduction of online assessments during the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, while the college was closed. In fact, a wide range of tools were involved for conducting formative assessments and all these were followed by immediate feedback to the students.

Merits attributed to online assessments

From the students’ perspective, online assessments aid them to monitor their academic progress using adding the feature of immediate feedback, can make the assessments user- friendly, and can even incorporate the special needs of the students.[3] Further, these assessments can prove to be a valid and holistic approach to assess the depth of the knowledge and also provide evidence to the teachers regarding the learning progression of students in real-time.[1],[2] Moreover, online assessments offer an opportunity to include the interactive and multimedia types of questions, which can be marked at a rapid pace and without the wastage of paper. Thus, it saves a lot of effort of the staff members and can be looked upon as an important addition to the curriculum delivery.[2],[3]

Existing challenges in online assessment

The online assessments tend to have multiple concerns as well, which are predominantly linked to the involved financial costs (viz. required to establish the system, buying of licenses of the software, infrastructure support, etc.), targeting a large number of students simultaneously, internet issues at either end, the requirement of trained technical staff, and the need to train the medical teachers and students to make them capable to operate the systems and software.[2],[3],[4],[5] Another important challenge has been that online assessment predominantly covers the cognitive domain, and undermines the psychomotor and affective domain. Further, we have to be ready to deal with the technical glitches and mischiefs of students (viz. copying, attendance, and attentiveness) in online classes and assessments.[3],[4],[5] Responding to the challenges. Most of the above challenges in online assessments can be handled effectively by sustained administrative support, initial financial investment to establish the system, and the appointment of a qualified technical team to operate the system in the institution.[2],[3] The faculty members and students can be sensitized about the used tools and also explained about the standard operating procedures/protocol.[5] Most of the student-related issues can be handled by the implementation of a learning management system within the institution, which makes the process of learning blended and very much effective.[2],[3] The psychomotor and affective domain can be targeted by the use of simulated or standardized patients or by the use of virtual skill-based assignments.[3],[4] Further, the online assessments can prove to be useful and sought-after, if they receive prompt feedback from teachers and the assessments gives more emphasis on applied questions and not only recall types.[1],[2],[3]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, online assessments among medical students have to be carried out to assess the progression of learning. The need of the hour is to overcome the prevailing challenges and strengthen the overall process of teaching-learning by addressing them better through administrative and technical support.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Elzainy A, El Sadik A, Al Abdulmonem W Experience of e-learning and online assessment during the COVID-19 pandemic at the college of medicine, qassim university. J Taibah Univ Med Sci 2020;15:456-62.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Kaup S, Jain R, Shivalli S, Pandey S, Kaup S Sustaining academics during COVID-19 pandemic: The role of online teaching-learning. Indian J Ophthalmol 2020;68:1220-1.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Mooney CJ, Peyre SE, Clark NS, Nofziger AC Rapid transition to online assessment: Practical steps and unanticipated advantages. Med Educ 2020;54:857-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS Use of e-learning tools for assessment in medical education. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2019;12:284-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Walsh K Online assessment in medical education-current trends and future directions. Malawi Med J 2015;27:71-2.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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