ALOR STAR: Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) students may not need to be on campus to sit their examinations -- a first by a university in Malaysia.
Instead, they can do so online, including from the comfort of their homes.
They will only require a computer notebook, a tablet or smartphone, and Wi-Fi or a telephone connection.
Under a proposal, mooted by the university's College of Arts and Sciences senior lecturer Dr Ahmad Zaharuddin Sani Sabri, students would access UUM's learning zone centre's portal to "sit" their respective papers.
As in other examinations, they will be given a fixed time to answer the questions.
Once they have completed them, the results can be known to them almost instantly -- by a click on the keyboard, or a tap on the touchscreens of their smartphones.
Ahmad Zaharuddin said the virtual examination, carried out by many universities in the United States and Australia, would help reduce the workload of lecturers to prepare and check exam papers.
"It has been proven viable, cost-effective and efficient as well as credible by the universities.
"The time saved from marking papers had allowed lecturers to do other tasks, including more work on research and development," he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
Asked on the event of a breakdown in telephone or Internet connections, he said the learning zone centre would detect it.
Ahmad Zaharuddin said he had used a similar online examination system while he was an Honorary Fellow lecturing on Islam in Southeast Asia at Melbourne University in 2009.
He said if all went well, UUM would conduct its first online examination on May 11, and it would involve 1,500 students at the university's main campus in Sintok, near here.
He said the paper would be National Studies, a core subject. Students would have to answer 60 objective questions in 70 minutes.
To ensure a smooth running of the online system, UUM would conduct a test run on the examination's software and hardware today.