Unisa apologises for “glitches” during online exams

  • The University of South Africa (Unisa) has apologised to students affected during recent online exam sessions by “technical glitches.”
  • Some students were unable to complete their exams within the given time, luckily Unisa has granted extension periods.
  • Wits University also suffered its own technical issues this week as some students were locked out of their accounts.

The University of South Africa (Unisa) has issued an apology to students that were affected by “technical challenges” during online exam sessions taking place across 24th and 25th October.

It seems some students could not complete their exams because of these technical glitches on the side of the university. Luckily Unisa granted extensions and grace periods to make sure that those affected could finish writing.

However, students that could not complete their exams even with the extensions will have their cases “investigated”.

“Unisa reassures students that those who could not proceed with the rest of the affected exams sessions even after the university has extended the duration of the sessions in question, their cases would be investigated,” reads an announcement from the institution.

While the university did not expand on exactly what difficulties occurred, similar issues were faced by Unisa in 2021 amid COVID-19 lockdowns, where some students complained of “technical problems” during online examinations.

At the time, Phindiwe Kamolane, chair of the online examination committee, explained that only seven out of Unisa’s 3 000 modules were affected by technical problems.

Kamolane explained that 2021’s online exam challenges were caused by some of the institution’s point servers suffering outages 15 minutes before the start of exams.

Students also faced time problems from uploading difficulties due to long answer sheets and some students complained about issues with Unisa’s invigilator app which was set in place to curb cheating and plagiarism.

The app was apparently required to be started 30 minutes before students began their exams, giving it enough time to report any suspicious behaviour.

As for this year’s exams, Unisa has urged students to carefully take note of the step-by-step guide it has released to aid them in navigating the coming months.

Wits locks its students out of their accounts

Unisa has not been the only higher learning institution in South Africa to suffer from ICT challenges as of late.

Students at the University of the Witswatersrand (Wits) have been unable to access their online learning materials and other ICT-related offerings from the institution since Tuesday, including the Ulwazi dashboard and the Wits self-service portal.

The self-service portal is where students go to check university-relevant information including payment details and their final marks.

Midday on Tuesday, Wits sent out messages notifying students that a technical problem had deactivated some accounts and that a fix was currently being worked on. Faculty had also been informed.

The technical issue has been resolved as of Wednesday morning. Wits issued another notice that accounts had been restored.

Students that are still unable to access their accounts should reset their passwords using this link.

[Image – Nicola Barts on Pexels]


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