Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)
Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Unisa sorry over online exam glitches

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Jun 8, 2020

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Pretoria - Unisa said it was aware of the concerns relating to online exams raised by students via online, social media platforms, emails and other channels and apologised for the glitches.

The university said in a statement that it was aware of the various challenges that some students had been experiencing over the past two weeks.

It said the institution would like to apologise to those students who had been affected by the technical glitches and wanted to reassure students that it was working around the clock to address the issues and finding a resolution remained a top priority.

The Covid-19 pandemic has compelled the institution to reconsider some of its academic activities that require physical application, such as venue-based exams and the submission of hard copy assignments and has moved to confine these strictly to an online application and submission platform.

Unisa has been working tirelessly to ensure that the student body of 2020 is able to prepare and sit for exams this month.

Professor Veronica McKay, acting vice-principal: teaching, learning, community engagement and student support at Unisa, said to spread the load on the exam platforms it had been seen necessary to change the times of approximately seven examinations, out of the 2000 exams being written during this exam season.

Should it be necessary to move any more dates, students will be informed.

In some cases Unisa needed to move the exam to 6pm on the same day, and in some cases 6pm a few days later.

“We apologise to students who have been affected by these changes. We are aware of the pressures and dedication that goes into preparing for exams and we know that for many it is disconcerting when you have been studying and are prepared to sit for the exam only to learn that the time slot has been moved,” McKay said.

“Although we have had to move approximately seven exams to date, the university wishes to assure students that these decisions are not taken lightly.

“They are made in the best interest of the students since Unisa needed to spread the load on the system.”

She said the exams that needed to be moved were those with very large numbers of students - some modules have up to 32000 students needing to write at the same time.

These time changes have been necessary to ensure that students in large numbers are able to write their exams at a time when the traffic on the system is low.

“We are also aware that students have struggled to download or upload exam papers. We now include alternative links on the MyUnisa and MyExam sites. These provide an alternative way for students to upload their answers if they encounter any challenges. We encourage students who might struggle to upload their exams using the usual system to use the links to the portals that are provided with their exams.”

McKay said the university “knows this is a very challenging time, not just for the university and for the students, but the country as a whole”.

“We want to assure our students that every decision that we have taken has been with their best interests at heart even if it does not appear that way

“We are aware that students have faced challenges, specifically with exams that were held between May 25 and May 28 and we will be offering another opportunity for those students to sit for the same exam later in the season.

“We will be resetting question papers for this to be possible and will announce the dates for those exams that were affected”.

Unisa said its technical team was working day and night to ensure that students had the support they needed.

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's  #Coronavirus trend page.
** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za

Pretoria News

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