Mixed feelings over online exam in UNILAG

Culled from The Nation Newspaper

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many schools have been left with no option than e-learning. University of Lagos (UNILAG) was among the universities that conducted lectures test online.

A platform, the Learning Management System (LMS), was created for the online lectures for five to six weeks, where  lecturers dropped their materials for students to read, while some lecturers  created opportunities for further teaching  using the Zoom App or the Google Meets.

Nevertheless, the school authority announced late February that year one and year two students would have their examinations virtually, using the WebTest application. The management noted that it  would be  strictly monitored by the school electronic team.

The online examinations started on March 22, with General Studies (GST).The departmental examinations kicked off on March 29.

When the online examinations ended on April 9, some students were disappointed because of hitches encountered, while some were satisfied with the conduct, but called for an improvement. Some of the issues were poor network connection, being logged out during the exam, and inability to log in to continue, among others. Those who could not log in to continue had their exams  rescheduled.

A  200-Level student of the Department of Psychology, Folagbade Segun, complained of being logged out during the examination. He added that his examination had been rescheduled because of the hitch.

He  said: “I was logged out during the exam and could not log in till the end of the exam. I already complained and they promised to look into it . It has been rescheduled for another day. I cannot really grade the general success of the examinations now. When results are out,I would be able to do that. However, the concept of  online testing is nice.”

For Fatuga John, a 200-Level student of Electrical Electronics, the online examinations should be discontinued. He noted that the time allotted for the examinations was not enough.

“I do not think the online examinations should be continued. The time allocated  for the courses was not enough for me. All the courses had a time limit of one hour or less. There were log in issues also as a result of network errors,” he said.

But Abraham Adekunle Adejare, a 200-Level student of English, does not want online examinations scrapped. He urged authorities in the institution to work on improving the server.

He said: “The online class has come to stay and improving it is better than scrapping it. The area I seek improvement is the server. However, with what I know, all the hitches occurred because of poor network. However, the university should just hold occasional seminars enlighten  students on the workings of the computer system.”

For Aroyehun Johnson, a 100-Level student, the conduct of the exam was fair. He, however, hopes the school improves by providing access to gadgets like laptops and internet connection.

“ I think the conduct of the exam was fair, although I never experienced network difficulty but some of my colleagues complained about it. If there should be any improvement, I think it should be in the area of accessing laptops or desktops as well as internet connection by the school authority. The public are aware of the private universities in the country but opt for public ones for different reasons. Besides private universities do not have access to government grants and other benefits unlike the public universities. That should make public universities  capable of providing what is needed,” he said.

Ogunleke Adebayo Sharon, a 100-Level student of the Department of Science and Technology Education, wants the exams cancelled because of high cost of data. He added that the exams went well for him.

“Though the examination went well for me, I do not think it should be continued subsequently. This is as a result of high cost of data in online learning and testing. Then,  we have no idea of the new courses that we would be registering next. It is tough when students bear the cost of data,” he said.

Ewenla Tomiwa Joseph, a 200-Level student  of Business Administration, said: “There were lots of lapses encountered by students like network issues, server not loading the questions, time factor, among others. Nevertheless, management should look into all the issues  because somehow some students have been psychologically affected.”

Abe Taiwo, a 200-Level student, said:

“I missed two exams; I was logged out due to bad network. I hope they improve for a better conduct of the examination next time. The ways they can improve include getting good web developers for the site, provision of enough data for students and provision of materials such as laptops etc.”

A 200-level student of English Education, who refused to be named, said the  examination was  not really bad, but there were issues  concerning the setting of the questions, connection issues and the time frame.

She said: “The UNILAG online exam was not  that bad, just the challenge of network connections and other issues. Also, the way the questions are set are not okay; a question per page, it causes tension before it loads to another page, consuming students’ time and data. They could have also given students enough time to work. We  hope they improve next time.”

A 100-Level student of Human Kinetics Education who preferred anonymity, said: “The conduct of the examination generally was fair on my path. I cannot really say the exam was a success or a failure. I hope for a better conduct next time and improvement in subsequent exams.”

Olajuwon Owokoniran, a 200-Level student  said: “The exam was nearly itch-free; there’s room for improvement. Compared to numerous complaints on the Learning Management System, I can say the UNILAG exam was a 90% success, as there were minimal complaints; 5 per cent of the glitch can be traced to the students, not the site—not all the students are computer literate. I could not type on the chat box; they needed  to resolve that. The questions per page should be more than one, at least, three questions; this will save a handful of data.”

However, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics and  Research, Prof. Oluwole Familoni, noted that the examinations were a success and the school would build on it.

He said:  “We can attest to 80 per cent success of the exam, and that majority of the complaints by students were personal problems like that of the logging in and  out of  during the exams. The questions were in a Cloud, so they start showing once a student logs in. The only genuine challenge from students are those with issues of course code, mostly by the carry over students. This was due to the change in course codes. Thus,preventing them from writing the exam. Proper arrangement has been made to reschedule the exams. More than 90 per cent  of the students took part in the General Studies (GST) exam,and it  proved to be a success.”

He continued: “The  revenue spent on the examination was internally generated and the request from the government has not been granted. It would have been better if the government had supported. The setting of the exam was also important, invigilators were stationed online to monitor students  either through phone calls, email or popping up questions on the screen of your exam for you to type in what they had asked you. I strongly applaud the cooperation of the lecturers and members of staff.”

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