#ExamStress? Colleges reopen but students continue debate over online-offline test
Elated by the news of Delhi University finally reopening, students are divided over which mode should the upcoming examinations be conducted in.
The official news of Delhi University reopening its gates after being closed for most of last two years for students, has lead to a happy uproar among many. However, the worry about offline mode of examination to be followed now, has become a killjoy for quite a few. Till date, students had been appearing for open book examination (OBE) during the virtual campus. Vikas Gupta, registrar, DU, tells us that the exams will be conducted for first semester students in “online” format and Rajni Abbi, proctor, DU also said in a recent speech on campus that “since the exams of freshers are slated for March, there is a possibility that they will be called to the campus only after their exams”. Meanwhile, students of fourth and sixth semester are still waiting for clarity about the mode in which they will have to attempt the upcoming exams, scheduled for the month of May. Some students are in favour of offline exams, but many are strongly advocating for online exams or those in blended mode.
Offline exams will be good
Disha Bhatia, a second-year student of Gargi College says: “Online classes and offline classes can’t be compared in quality of education. And this is true for online exams and offline exams too! Giving OBE in an online mode was a necessity till now because of digital campus. But now that we will have access to a physical library, face to face interaction with the faculty, tutorial periods to clarify doubts with the teachers, and the whole experience of an offline campus, I see no reason why offline exams shouldn’t be attempted. Online exams in an offline campus almost sounds bizzare. After studying for two years via video classes and giving a number of open book exams, I think its time to focus wholeheartedly on our education. Tomorrow when I go for job interviews I don’t want to be looked upon as a ‘Covid batch’ candidate. I want to be able to show that I have been through the same rigourous education challenges as have been the alumni of a university so prestigious.”
Not enough time to prepare for offline exams suddenly
“We definitely need more time to be mentally prepared for giving offline exams,” says Vinit Mehta, a second-year student of Hansraj College, adding, “Campus is reopening from Feb 17 and we’ll take at least a month or two to adjust in our accommodations, learn our way around the city, and prepare thoroughly for the whole year’s syllabus for our year end exams. Adjusting to college life, handling peer pressure, understanding and participating in extra curricular societies and giving offline exams is too much to handle at the same time. We have never been on campus or lead a normal college life and now we are suddenly being flung in to a new city and being asked to attend offline exams after two years of online classes. How is this fair?”
Want to graduate college with more than one exam attempted offline!
“All final year students who are graduating after this semester have only given one offline exam (semester one), that too, pre-Covid,” says Manish Bhatt, a final year student of Hindu College, sharing: “In our entire journey as students, we can’t be graduating on the basis of one offline exam. At least our final graduation exam shouldn’t be conducted online. Otherwise, how will we able to evaluate ourselves as students? The campus will open in a week and offline exams are unavoidable. Let’s not forget that this batch didn’t even give OBE for second and fourth semester because of Covid. Only assignments were submitted for evaluation. It’s high time we all buckle up and sit for offline exams, seriously.”
Unfamiliar with offline exam pattern
Manish Mourya, a second-year student of Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College says, “We have not attempted an offline assignment, going to library to look up books. Most of us don’t even have course books. We have been studying through digital resources. Most of our research has been through reading papers on the internet. We also have no experience of writing offline exams. I had a word with my super seniors and they told me that DU papers are extremely lengthy and to attempt all the questions, students need a lot of practise in writing mock question papers. Also, in OBE the time to write the papers was very generous and we had our books right next to us. How can we ace the art of offline exams when we haven’t even attempted an offline assignment yet? And can offline papers even happen? How will college’s seat us to maintain social distancing during exams? Blended mode must be recommended for the first time that students will be attempting exams. Otherwise, everything will overwhelm us and we will end up scoring really terribly.”
Author tweets @FizzyBuddha