Published: 12th August 2020
DU OBE: Students crib about portal crashing, malpractice. University moves court against an extra hour to submit answers
The Delhi University's online open book examination for its final year students began on August 10. However, it wasn't very smooth for the students
After a series of outcries, opposition and petitions by the students, the University of Delhi, on Monday kickstarted its online Open Book Examinations (OBE) for the final year students. On August 7, the Delhi High Court which heard the pleas gave the university a green signal to go ahead with the examinations. However, the university was asked to take measures ensuring the smooth conduct of examinations. This included giving the students an option to email the answer sheets apart from uploading it on the portal. The students were also allowed an extra hour to upload the answer sheets.
While it sounded like an easy deal on paper, the examination wasn't a cakewalk for a lot of students. A number of students reached out to us stating the issues that they faced, ranging from technical glitches, inability to upload or email answer sheets and getting the wrong question paper sent. On top of that, the university has now filed an appeal at the Delhi High Court, against the relief given to students via the extra hour to upload answer sheets.
Of the students who reached out to us was Ashima*, who attempted her first OBE on August 11. The examination was three hours long, from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm. Later, she had time until 3.30 pm to upload her answer sheets. However, she tells us that the university's portal crashed at 3.15 pm. "I could only upload three answers. After the portal crashed, I rushed to email it to the concerned faculty. However, I don't know if they received it. I did not get an acknowledgment email," she says. The court had instructed the university to send automated responses to students.
Image for representational purpose only
"This morning, I got an automated response saying that I have only submitted the answers to three questions. I do not know if they would consider the other answers. This has put me under so much stress," she says. Many other students too echoed the same issue. Many received emails saying that submissions could not be completed.
Ashima also added that malpractice was rampant during the examination. "There were WhatsApp groups dedicated to discussing answers. My phone buzzed every minute with people's messages asking for the answers. My classmates merely changed the language. There was no system to monitor malpractice," she says. "After a while, I felt like a traitor for not telling them the answers," she says.
No extra hour
The University has filed an appeal against the reliefs allowed for the examination at the Delhi High Court through its counsel Mohinder Rupal. The matter is yet to be listed by the court, say sources. The update was shared by advocate Akash Sinha, who represented a petitioner Anupam in the case. "The University of Delhi has filed an appeal against the judgment given in our case. They have a problem apparently with the reliefs given in our case and the High Powered Panel set up by the Hon'ble Court & it's the decision to keep monitoring the outcome of OBE, giving one hour extra," he tweeted. However, he has asked the students not to panic.
Update: University of Delhi has filed an appeal against judgement given in our case. They have a problem apparently with the reliefs given in our case & the High Powered Panel setup by the Hon'ble Court & it's decision to keep monitoring the outcome of OBE, giving one hour extra.— Akash Sinha (@advAkashSinha) August 11, 2020
We were unable to reach Rupal for a comment.
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Sinha, on the other hand, has asked the students to email the grievances to the grievance cell. "I again ask all of you to not panic. Make preparations based on the experience of your friends. Use email if the portal is giving issues. If something worked for you, guide others. We have our limitations as lawyers and can't raise issues unless reported officially," he tweeted.
10th August 2020 marked the beginning of OBEs and the problems that came with it.
THREAD on the issues faced by the students:
A tough time
Dr Abha Dev Habib, a Miranda House faculty and the DU Teachers' Association Treasurer said that the Exam Branch is going to have nightmares in complying/stacking answer scripts as students are submitting answers multiple times. "Sometimes, the portal crashes midway and then they are emailing the answer scripts. In many cases, there are late submissions even through emails! How will the University decide which script amongst multiple submissions, should be taken as the final script for evaluation?" she asks. She added that until now, even the faculty doesn't have instructions on how to go ahead with the evaluation.