Open Book


We know everything is confusing, uncertain, and downright frustrating right now- and the university’s apathy towards the students giving examinations has further exacerbated the stress of the current times. But amidst this emotional rollercoaster, here’s an OBE rewind piece about some things you could do to ensure that the upcoming OBE exams are as stress-free as possible during these turbulent times. 

In the run-up to the examinations, make sure to take care of your mental health. Download your admit card and recheck all the details. Prepare only as much as you can, and as much as you need to. Take frequent breaks, stay hydrated and make sure to unwind after a long day of going through study material or preparing summaries. If there is anything that the previous OBEs have taught us, it is that they require a very specific kind of preparation, which does not always include memorizing the text or practicing writing answers, as we do in conventional examinations. Open book examinations lean more towards the technical knowledge and understanding of the text, including all the big ideas in the study material and going over past papers and guides to predict the patterns of question papers.

A student from Lady Shri Ram College for Women says, “We created small study groups and helped one another with summaries to understand and comprehend different parts of the course, and prepared these to easily refer during the exams. We worked together during these uncertain times and our trust and cooperation got us through our previous OBEs stress-free.”

Working together with friends or classmates is a good idea during these times, as OBEs do not require students to memorise the details, rather compile these together from different readings of a particular topic after internalising the basic concepts.

The night before the examinations, remember these examinations aren’t indicative of your academic prowess or merit and we are all going through difficult times. Prepare a top sheet with your name, roll number, college, paper code and course name to scan on top of the answer script and upload. This will prevent any added stress of having to write that on the day of the exam. Prepare either ruled or blank A4 sheets to write the examination  and try logging into the portal to ensure that the login details are all in place. Ensure that you have the contact details of the examination nodal officer for your college in case of any discrepancy.

During the examinations, it can get stressful. Paired with time management issues and the time-consuming process of scanning and uploading, many face extreme difficulties in uploading on time before the portal crashes, and sometimes even upload the wrong pdfs. An easy fix for this is to scan every answer after writing it, verify that all the pages are in order and label it according to the answer number so that it is easy to upload at the end, rather than leave all of them to be done in one go as it  adds to your stress and anxiety. The best app to scan answer scripts with is Adobe Scan, but other alternatives include Google Drive Scan and Office Lens, although they might be slower.

Another student from Hansraj College says, “I faced difficulties in compressing the files before time ran out and the portal crashed, after which I had to email my answers separately.” A good preemptive measure to make sure that compressing and uploading are easy during the examinations is to bookmark SmallPDF or PDFCompressor Applications to your laptop’s bookmarks bar for easy access to prevent confusion in the last few minutes of the OBE.

If the portal crashes, do not worry. A teacher from Daulat Ram College expresses, “I get panic-stricken messages when the portal crashes in the last hour of the OBE, with students asking for help and worrying that they will be given a zero because they were unable to upload. The portal gets overburdened by the sheer number of people trying to upload at the same time, but I tell them all not to worry, and that they must follow the required procedure for their answer scripts to be considered.” This procedure is twofold: continue uploading answers until the end of the 5th hour, which is the extra hour in case the portal crashes in the designated time, and if you are still unable to upload, take clear screenshots including the time stamp of the portal failure or network issues. As a last resort, email the examination officer of your college with all the answer pdfs attached, clearly mentioning name, roll number, paper code, the reason for not being able to upload and screenshot evidence for the technical failure. Your paper will be considered granted you have legitimate reasons for not being able to upload.

Finally, we are all in this together. These are unprecedented times and everyone is fighting their own battles. No one expects you to ace your Open book examinations or top the class during a global pandemic. Be kind to yourself. Good luck with your exams!

Read Also: 

Eerie Exams Enlightener: The Weirdness of OBEs

Delhi University: Freshers Guide to Online Examinations OBE

DU issues rules for OBE to be held from June 7

Featured Image Credits: India TV

Riddhi Mukherjee

[email protected]

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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