DU students flag several issues on first day of online open book exam

Students also said they came down from their hometown to Delhi for the exams.

Delhi University's online open book examination for final-year undergraduate and postgraduate courses began on Monday with students complaining that they received question papers of two subjects and faced difficulty in uploading answer sheets.

The exams were held in three shifts - 7.30 am to 11.30 am, 11.30 am to 3.30 pm, and 3.30 pm to 7.30 pm.

Zubair Khan, a student of School of Open Learning (SOL), said, "I had my Hindi exam today according to the date-sheet. When I opened the portal for downloading my question paper, I found that two question papers were uploaded -- one of Hindi and another of the paper scheduled for August 13. I sent mails to the SOL but there was no response. I consulted a professor who advised me to attempt the paper scheduled for today."

Rohit Kumar (27), student of law faculty, said, "The paper was theoretical. The major issue was you have to complete it -- from writing and uploading on the portal after scanning the answer sheet -- within four hours. This requires good internet connection as well as phone for the process. Many students who are living in rural areas must have faced issues."

A student of B.Sc Physical Science, who did not wish to be identified, said the paper was tough and in a situation when classes could not happen properly, it was unjust for students.

Students also said they came down from their hometown to Delhi for the exams.

"I was at my place in Bijnor and I had to come Delhi just to give exams as there was no proper electricity. Today, it was our first paper," said Keshav Pratap Singh 24, a law student.

Anshu Shukla, a final year student of Motilal Nehru College, who too came down to Delhi to take the exams, said the main issue he faced was in uploading of answer sheets.

"I mailed the answer sheets to the varsity portal and got a response saying 'your message has been received'. I do not know whether my answer sheets will be accepted. I tried to upload them after compressing them but still they were not getting uploaded on the portal," he said.

Muskaan Kaushik, a student of Motilal Nehru College, said her internet connectivity had died and she faced problems in uploading answer sheets as the "files were too large".

"I tried to compress them, send them one by one but still could not. Later, I emailed my answer sheets. Many of my friends got the message 'Your answer sheet has been received' but I got 'Your message has been received'. I do not know whether my answer sheets have been received," she said.

Abha Dev Habib, a professor of Miranda House, said most of the students in her class did not get a confirmation email after uploading their answer sheets. The students then mailed to the varsity website their answer sheets and got an auto-generated response.

Pankaj Garg, a professor of Rajdhani College, too said students faced problems in uploading answer sheets.

"They faced problems in uploading PDF files. Some students said if they were able to upload answers to two questions, they could not upload the third... The college received answer sheets on email post 11.30 am, which was the scheduled time," he said.

Another student, requesting anonymity, said the time allotted was not adequate.

"Almost all of my classmates finished the paper with just minutes left on clock, making the process of upload hasty, full of errors and preview of answers impossible. There was no timer provided hence we had no clue exactly how much time was left for the portal to close as there are variations in time of everyone's clock," he said.

He also claimed that a majority of his classmates received no confirmation email even after submitting the answer sheets on time. "One of my friends was unable to upload documents from her phone. One of my classmates was unable to submit her answer scripts even after timely upload," he said.

Some students even claimed that question papers for exams scheduled to begin at 3.30 pm were uploaded at 11.30 am. "What are we supposed to do? Do we get nine hours for solving the paper? Our exam was supposed to start at 3.30 pm but the question papers were uploaded at 11.30 am. Will these papers be cancelled?"

However, a DU official said that there are multiple subjects in a course and they were uploaded under the same subject and ruled out possibility of question paper being uploaded before the scheduled time.

For teachers, the most challenging part would be marking of pages, it seems evaluation would take much longer, he stressed.

"As many as 35,000 students took the exams today. The issues that arose during the mock exams did not arise today. May be the students were more serious about these exams since they were the actual exams," said a Delhi University official, requesting anonymity.

When asked about students complaining about being unable to upload large files, he said they have received files of 40 pages.

Many visually impaired students were unable to take the exams in the absence of assistive devices, accessible reading material and not having scribes, said SK Rungta, who represented the National Federation of the Blind in the case in the Delhi High Court.

The exams have been postponed several times. The Delhi University Teachers Association had been demanding that the exams be scrapped and the students evaluated on the basis of previous performances and an internal assessment.

The Delhi High Court gave its nod to the university to conduct the exams.

The Delhi government had decided to cancel all forthcoming semester and final exams of universities under it due to the COVID-19 situation, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had said in July.

Sisodia said the state universities have been asked to promote their students and award them degrees adopting a "progressive method of evaluation".

The Delhi University is a central university.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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