BY SALONEE MISTRY
First year Bachelor of Engineering student Lucas Candido waited for more than three hours for his supervisor to turn up so he could start his Engineering mathematics (ENG1005) exam.
After all the waiting, he was advised by Monash Connect to defer the unit.
“I was very confused and uncertain at first and wondering if there’s something wrong on my end or theirs," Mr Candido said.
“After I rang the IT hotline for the first time, they dismissed my concerns and left me feeling helpless and frustrated," he said.
“I felt let down and disappointed."
Before the eExams started Mr Candido was optimistic, but he had underestimated how problematic the supervision would be.
“I would have expected that they would test this system adequately before implementing it on such a large scale,” he said.
“There’s clearly a fatal flaw that causes a number of students such as me to not be able to complete their exams in the allocated time.”
When Mr Candido reached out to the university, they replied via email assuring him they had identified and rectified the issues and were working to minimise any disruption to the exam process.
“We apologise for the issues you experienced yesterday with your assessment,” an email read.
“Exams are difficult under normal circumstances and we’re sorry for any additional stress caused by yesterday's events.
“Any student unable to complete an exam for reasons outside of their control will be provided an alternative assessment and we'll be in contact with you soon to provide further information.”
However, Bachelor of Psychology second year student Samiya Mowla, who had a neuroscience of communication, sensory and control systems (PHY2011) exam, said the eExam process had gone smoothly for her.
“I think for a lot of us the exam setting is really scary and can make us anxious,” Ms Mowla said.
“It was a nice change from the usual and I wouldn’t mind similar exams in the future.”
The university has been supportive and even granted her an extension for one of her separate end of semester tasks, Ms Mowla said.
When contacted, a Monash University spokesperson said they are committed to ensuring no student is adversely affected by any examination procedure issues.
“We do appreciate there are some students who have been affected by a set of unforeseen technical and resource issues on Monday and Tuesday of last week,” the spokesperson said.
“We apologise that students had this experience at an already difficult time.
“The University has identified the issues and has worked hard to minimise any disruption to the exam process."
Many unit assessments have been altered to accommodate the challenging circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic has presented.
However, according to the university, there are still some units for which an exam monitored by an invigilator is deemed necessary to ensure students are able to evaluate the course content and satisfy learning outcomes.
The spokesperson said this is particularly important where the learning outcomes are linked to the accreditation of qualifying degrees.
“We have resolved delays in students accessing their assessment that occurred at the beginning of last week,” the Monash spokesperson said.
“We have been in contact with student representatives to ensure we are across all the issues facing the student body and can offer joint support.
“We are committed to ensuring all our students feel supported and have a positive experience during their exam period."
Monash Facebook groups have become the go-to platforms for students to share their varying experiences with eExams - with many detailing a poor experience.
Other students are using social media to help their peers feel more relaxed about looming eExams by sharing their positive experiences.
Their submission has been broken into four concerns via a Google document filled out by students detailing the problems they faced.
The complaint covers the students' concerns including the lack of flexibility regarding time constraints, inequitable minimum technology requirements, remote invigilation and lockdown browser software.