No Means, Stress of Pandemic: MIT’s Online Exams Draw Student Ire

With anxiety in the lockdown and not enough study material and resources, how can students give exams?

Published04 Jun 2020, 01:25 PM IST
My Report
3 min read

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Video Producer: Zijah Sherwani

We, the students of Manipal Institute of Technology, have raised our voice against the decision to conduct online sessional end-semester exams by the college. The college fail to understand the issues faced by us.

These issues range from the software we have been asked to download for lectures, network disconnections as well as pressures during a pandemic.

First and foremost, the MAHE administration has asked students to install an online proctoring software (Pexa Lite).

The software works on only Windows OS and has too many issues. In fact, many laptops have crashed because of this software. They released a test software and some of the students’ laptops froze because PEXA has Trojan virus. Also, the software does not work on Mac.

There are many students who live where the internet connectivity is poor. How does the college expect us to give online exams?

Incomplete Syllabus

MAHE claims that the syllabus is complete through online classes but that's not true because many of the classes have not been finished. For example for maths, they have just given us PPTs. How are we suppose to learn from PPTs? We have had insufficient classes and insufficient notes. Some of our notes are left in the hostel because we quickly packed and left campus, thinking we would return soon.

Stress & Anxiety Amid a Pandemic

There is a level of stress and anxiety that we all are going through amid this pandemic but it is more for students whose parents are frontline workers. Parents are stepping out to perform their duties and students back home are worried about their parents health or looking after their siblings. In between all this, conducting end semester exams is not what we need at this time. It's extremely mentally deteriorating and taxing.

“My parents are essential care workers, they both go to work and they both have been working throughout this pandemic. I have to manage the entire household when they are not around and whenever they come back home, I am constantly worried about their health and mine. It really makes it so difficult for me to sit in one place and to actually get my head together and start studying.”
A Student

All these days, some lecturers said the software will have AI and machine learning and also that our system’s webcam will be shown to the proctor while we attempt the paper. In reality, the webcam doesn’t work and all the answers we upload are lost.

The claim that this is mostly an offline exam is untrue.

Students who had sessionals on 3 June scheduled on PEXA Lite were also left clueless as many students’ laptops had crashed due to the software. Others are scared to install it.

We have been protesting on social media via Twitter and Instagram. The students have also started an online petition and have successfully managed to get 1,600 signatures till date.

“I think the decision to take end semester exams online right now makes a lot of assumptions, and it is not fair to assume that all the students are affected by the pandemic to the same extent. It is not fair to assume that all students have access to the same health resources, economic resources, technical resources or even the same home environment.”
A student

MIT Response to The Quint

In a detailed response to The Quint, the university has said that it is taking all the steps to ensure that student’s interest is taken care of. If any student due to any genuine reason is unable to write the end semester examination, he/she can give the examination through the conventional mode when they are back in the campus.

The full response can be read here:

Manipal Institute of Technology's Response to The Quint by The Quint on Scribd

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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