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Missing OTPs, Wrong Papers, 5 MB Limit: After Mock Test, Students Say DU's Open Book e-Exam 'a Failure'

File photo of Delhi University campus.

File photo of Delhi University campus.

Final-year DU students said the mock test for the open book examinations, which commence online from July 10, has left them demotivated.

‘Unable to log in’, ‘unable to download’, ‘no electricity’ and ‘wrong question paper’ were among frantic messages and emails Delhi University teachers received from students on the first day of the mock test for open book examination which will be held online in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Final-year students and former students making up for arrears will appear for the open book examination on June 10. The examination was to be held on June 27 initially, but was postponed for 10 days given the coronavirus situation. The mock tests, which began on Saturday, was organised to help students prepare for the online open book format.

Sharing their experience with teachers, several students said the format is a “failure”, with some being unable to even log in.

Writing to the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), a student of MA (Sociology) said, “It showed that a one-time password was sent on my registered phone number, but I didn’t receive it.” The student added that her registered email id, which is also mentioned on her admit card, was declared ‘invalid’.

Law student Urvashi Gupta complained that LLB students did not receive the date sheet on July 3 despite an earlier notification which said the students would be given the new schedule by the eve of the mock test.

“In the mock test for LLB, we received a question paper meant for Political Science (Hons) students,” she wrote to her teachers. “Every notification has a mistake,” she added.

She also said law students do not have any case materials and that studying judgments in PDF format was proving to be difficult. “This is not an open book exam for law students because it is very difficult to access case materials during the exam in PDF format,” said Gupta.

Aman S, a final year DU student, said that instead of preparing the students for an open book examination, the mock test has demotivated them. “We are already facing so many issues during this pandemic, this new system of examinations that too without proper guidance and learning facilities provided… (sic),” he wrote.

Aman said he was among students who received error messages like ‘This Verification Code Is Incorrect’ and had to go through multiple links when trying to register. “It is actually a total waste of our time. If we have to find the (question) paper after multiple links, we may actually solve the wrong paper in our already confused state of mind,” he Aman.

He added that even when the links opened, they took students to the wrong subjects. “Finally, we found a link with Commerce and when we clicked on it, it was a paper for Cost Accounting, which is not part of our 6th semester syllabus.”

“There is a size limit to uploading a file and there is no clarity about the size of the file we will be uploading… So now we also have to waste some time to compress those files,” Sharma said in an email.

Hina Mahrotra, who is pursuing Political Science (Honours) from Delhi University, went through a similar ordeal. “I am facing problems in registering for OBE Mock Test,” she said in an email to her teachers.

She said the link to register appeared on the website a night before the mock test but the website kept crashing. When she tried to register on Saturday morning, an error message said “No Record Found”. This was followed by “Your Email Is Invalid”, and even the OTP failed to reach her.

Manjari Das, a student of DU’s Department of English, said she could find neither the paper not the paper code, with repetition in titles adding to the confusion.

Other issues faced by students included low data speed, error in downloading, faulty file prompts, limits set on file size and the absence of a confirmation message after submitting the exam.

The feedback received from students was shared by members of Academic Council and Executive Council with DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi.

Apart from these glitches, issues like power cuts also kept students from taking the mock test.

“There is no power at our home since morning. I am one of the privileged few in my town to own a laptop, but with no electricity, I couldn’t charge it. Hence, I was not able to take the mock test today. I am worried the same might happen on the day of the actual exam,” DU student Bhavya Kumar said.

Hitting out at the Delhi University, DUTA president Rajib Ray said the varsity is treating its students as “lab rats” when other universities have put exams on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He also said it’s unfortunate that the University Grants Commission is yet to notify its report on reworking the exam calendar.