Approximately, 35000 DU students gave OBE exam. Final year under-graduate and post-graduate courses appeared for the online open-book test, a first such assessment exercise undertaken by the varsity due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, many students grumbled that there were glitches during the exam and were also uncertain about whether or not they arranged to upload their answer sheets.
The exams began at 7.30 a.m. and were held in three shifts – from 7.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m, from 11.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m and 3.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. The exams will end on August 31.
According to the new exercise, the students had to download the question paper from the website and write the answers within three hours. One hour was committed to uploading and scanning the answer sheets. The varsity has said it is opting for the open book exams as a one-time measure in view of the COVID-19 pestilence.
Abha Dev Habib, a professor of Miranda House college, said most students in her class did not receive a confirmation mail after uploading their answer sheets. The students then mailed their answer sheets to the varsity website and got an auto-generated response. Pankaj Garg, a professor at Rajdhani College, said the main problem that students handled was in uploading the answer sheets.
They faced difficulties in uploading PDF files and some of the students said if they could upload answers to two questions, they could not upload the answers to the third. They were not sure whether their answer sheets were uploaded. The college received answer sheets on email post 11.30 am, which was the scheduled time, he said.
The teaching faculty have their own bunch of issues, Garg said, pointing out that teachers will face issues while evaluating the answers.
There is a good possibility that there would be swapping of the pages while scanning and uploading, this would disturb the sequence… Teachers have to be very very careful in relating all those pages which belong to the same question, he said.
While scanning, some pages may get blurred, he said, adding, it would be tough to read them carefully and to connect to the next page and hence the continuity of the answer would be lost.
For teachers, the most difficult point would be marking of pages. It seems evaluation would take much longer, he stressed.
The exams have been postponed several times. The Delhi University Teachers’ Association had been stressing that the exams be scrapped and the students evaluated on the basis of previous performances and an internal assessment.
The Kashmiri students, who moved back to their homes in the valley during the lockdown, had issues related to 2G connectivity which was slow and erratic.
Arun Attri, a professor of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, said the exams have ended anxiety for over two lakh students who now know that since they have taken the exams, they will get their results and can apply for their Masters.
However, he said online exams are not a reasonable alternative in the long run for DU which is known for its commerce and humanities courses.
The exams might be feasible for engineering and science students but they won’t serve the purpose of commerce and humanities courses. They are more like assignments than exams, he told.
Another professor, who also did not wish to be identified, doubted how they will evaluate the students since the varsity has not yet published any guidelines on the same. The professor also contended the students who work hard were being pressurized by their friends to share answers on WhatsApp.