After laptops, a city college is now using mobile phones for the benefit of students. Over 3,000 students of K J Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce recently took their internal tests on smartphones.

The college conducted 20mark tests--multiple choice and true or false questions--for all classes with the help of a small device that can create its own network and can be connected to 100 smartphones in a classroom. After the success in one of its institutes, the Somaiya Trust now plans to use the technology in other colleges on its Vidyavihar campus in the coming session. It also plans to use it in teaching. The device, Offee, was developed by an alumnus, Amit Shah, in the incubation centre of the group's engineering college.

The students were asked to download an app from Offee network and then go offline.They had to then go to the website supported by the device and log in using their roll number and password. The questions are not in the same order for all students, eliminating the possibility of malpractices.

Riddhi Chheda, a first-year B Com student, said her class has given three tests in accountancy , economics and commerce. “We did not face any net work-related issued. It was a wonderful experience and took very little time,“ said Chheda.“It's almost like playing an educational game on the mobile,“ said another student.

The provost of Somaiya Vidyavihar, Rajan Welukar, said, “This was almost like a pilot project. Teachers got to know about the results instantaneously . They could also keep track of the pace at which students were answering questions. We are planning to make use of the technology in the teaching process too. We may extend it to other forms of exams, too, in future. It can help teachers to pace their teaching according to the needs of the children.“

Shah, who developed Offee, said it is actually a test conducted in offline mode. “The device has in store the questions created by faculty members. Any form of information can be uploaded onto the device and then downloaded on students' smartphones when it is connected and used whenever required,“ he said. He has now collaborated with a tech firm to reach out to a wider audience.

While using technology for tests is not new, very few colleges are making use of online platforms as they have to follow a testing pattern prescribed by Mumbai University . St Xavier's and DG Ruparel colleges have made use of online platforms like Moodle to conduct test online. St Xavier's even allows submission of projects online and assesses them using an antiplagiarism software, said principal Agnelo Menezes.