DU Circulates Guidelines For Online Open Book Examination; Students Object

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A series of guidelines for setting question papers were circulated by Delhi University (DU). The Varsity actively considers conducting Open Book Examinations for final year students.

In a letter dated 13th May 2020, Professor Vinay Gupta, Dean of Examination addressed to all the Head of Department (HODs) of Delhi University and laid out certain guidelines to be adopted for setting question papers for the proposed exams. With the introduction of Open Book Examination, students can refer to books, notes and other study materials to answer the questions. This comes after suggestions to conduct online take-home exams for final year undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled in the School of Open Learning (SOL), Non-Collegiate Women’s Education Board (NCWEB), and regular classes.

Students are expected to appear in these exams from their homes. Question papers of respective courses would be downloaded from a common portal, which would be attempted on plain paper. The answer sheets would then have to be uploaded on the portal within three hours from the start of the exam.

The letter was widely circulated amongst teachers and students. Following guidelines have been assigned for setting up the question paper.

  • Since it would be an Open-Book examination, the questions need to be framed in a manner which would test the understanding and analytical skills of the students and there should be NO/minimum scope for verbatim copying from books and study material.
  • The duration of the examination would be for two hours. One hour additional would be given for downloading the Question Paper, scanning the answer sheets, and uploading the answer sheet.
  • For ease of evaluation, it is requested that the question papers should have 6 questions out of which 4 are to be attempted by the students in 02 hours. All questions should have equal marks. There should NOT be parts to any question. Maximum marks would be 75 (100 for SOL/NCWEB papers).
  • The three sets of question papers for each course of both UG and PG programs related to each department would be set and subsequently moderated.
  • Moderated question papers to be uploaded on to the Examination portal, the login credentials of which would be shared shortly with the HODs.
  • Exams would also be conducted for 1st / 2nd year / 2nd Sem /4th Sem simultaneously for repeaters who are in 3rd year / final year.
  • All the question papers may be uploaded/sent at the earliest but not later than 3rd June 2020.

The decision to conduct Open-Book online exams, however, has been widely criticized by students and teachers across the country. Academics for Action and Development (AAD) demanded that this letter must be withdrawn immediately. “The pedagogy of DU and it’s Examination system is neither structured nor cultivated for open book examinations and to be taken at one’s home. We have three fourth of students coming from SC, ST, OBC, EWS, PWD and remote areas like north-east and Jammu & Kashmir, who are on the receiving end in the digital divide. Apart from the availability of network and having 4G mobile problems, the biggest challenge is to frame those questions which will test understanding and answer will be out of books and notes. The students are not trained or taught for these types of questions,” Press Secretary, AAD, said in an official statement.

It added, “Moreover, framing three sets of questions out of books and notes, without parts and for equal marks is not possible for all courses. In many science papers, there are derivations, numerical of chemical equations where finding questions from books and notes will be extremely difficult.”

Students’ Collectives and Unions from across colleges have joined hands against the conduction of online examinations. A common forward circulating amongst college groups said, “The Twitter trend is against the attempt of the administration to conduct exams through online mode. It will create a divide among students as many of us have issues with proper internet connectivity, reading material, laptop, atmosphere of study etc.”

Through a series of tweets on Twitter with the hashtags #DUAgainstOnlineExams and #EducationWithoutExclusion, students are demanding the university to step back from adopting such exclusionary methods.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Aishwaryaa Kunwar
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Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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