The first day of Delhi University’s (DU) mock online open book exams (OBE) Saturday saw many complaints from hundreds of final-year students, as issues faced included a difficulty in registering, allotment of incorrect question papers, insufficient time given to PWD (persons with disabilities) students, and inability to upload answer sheets. Teachers said they were inundated with panic calls and messages from students, as #DUAgainstOnlineExams trended on Twitter.
Despite opposition from students and teachers, DU has decided to hold exams for its final year students — roughly around 2.15 lakh in strength. While the mock exams will be held from July 4-8, the actual exams will begin on July 10. Students will have 15 sessions spread over five days to attempt the mock exams.
From Saturday morning itself, students said they began facing problems including not receiving the OTP to login to the website. Ishika Kumari, a final-year student of Political Science from Rajdhani College, said she tried to register for the mock exams from 9 am to noon but in vain. “When I tried logging into the portal, it says ‘invalid, record not found’. But the admit card is already in my hand. These are mock exams, so I’m not worried, but if I can’t register, how will I sit for my finals?” she said.
Students also alleged the varsity uploaded incorrect question papers and the website wasn’t working. “First it took time to register. Then, when we clicked on the Hindi (Hons) paper link, it instead showed the B Com (Hons) question paper. Then the website crashed around noon,” said Utkarsh Singh, a student of Satyawati College.
A PWD student of Rajdhani College said, “We are supposed to be given five hours to attempt the paper but as soon as I downloaded my question paper, the three-hour timer began.” Another complaint concerned the complications in uploading and submitting the answer sheet files, particularly due to the upper limit of 5 MB per file. “I am a B.Com student. When I logged in, I found there was no paper from my programme… In any case, I took some photos of my books and notes and tried to upload those to see if I would be able to do that. I assumed each answer comes to be around 9-10 pages long. Uploading these took me around 40 minutes as I had to create several different PDF files. When I finally tried to submit the file, I got a message saying ‘Gateway Timeout’,,” said Rashi Jain, a student of Kirori Mal College.
Hundreds of students emailed the DU Teachers’ Association and the Dean of Examinations, and also took to Twitter to bring attention to the problem.
However, Dean Examinations Vinay Gupta brushed off the allegations. Denying that there had been major problems with registration, he said, “Over 30,000 students registered in the first slot. There may be some glitches but the point of holding these mocks was to smoothen them out.” He also denied allegations of subject papers being mixed up. “I’m sitting here with the question papers open in front of me. There may be an issue in one or two cases but otherwise everything is in place,” he said. Gupta also denied the website had crashed. “When the exams are actually held, students will come to the portal in batches as exam timings are different. For mocks, the load is much more and yet the website hasn’t crashed, which says something about our preparedness,” he said.
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