Unisa online exams postponed due to overloaded servers

lotus123

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Sep 6, 2006
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In fairness, they made the effort to help students get their exams done.

As for "predicting" the load, that was always going to be challenging and the events of the past few months just made that tougher. But it's so easy to sit online and criticise genuine efforts, isn't it?

FWIW, my son has written 3 of these online exams and for the most part there were no issues. There was a problem with slow response times on one paper, but he still got it done.
 

Everyones-a-Wally

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In fairness, they made the effort to help students get their exams done.

As for "predicting" the load, that was always going to be challenging and the events of the past few months just made that tougher. But it's so easy to sit online and criticise genuine efforts, isn't it?

FWIW, my son has written 3 of these online exams and for the most part there were no issues. There was a problem with slow response times on one paper, but he still got it done.
Genuine effort? From UNISA?
Pull the other one.
Most of us who have been through their system know what goes on from a student perspective. Unless it's changed in recent years, this is a very inefficient institution.

They're like Telkom when it comes to communication.
 

whatwhat

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Jun 1, 2009
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"overloaded servers" .... in 2020?

!Remind me when it's Black Friday when TakeAlot and most other SA sites fall over.
Same with DSTv and their shitty streams.

Most IT companies in SA are just inept and cannot handle things the rest of the world have been doing for many years are many times the load.
 

Flywheel

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!Remind me when it's Black Friday when TakeAlot and most other SA sites fall over.
Same with DSTv and their shitty streams.

Most IT companies in SA are just inept and cannot handle things the rest of the world have been doing for many years are many times the load.

Exactly what happens here when people have jobs because of quotas instead of merit. Combine that with a culture of entitlement and then it's disaster.
 

randomcat

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I would love to check their code. They are slow on most days. Even the UI/UX is not very effective :unsure:
 

Magnarmalok

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I had an exam Scheduled for the Friday, as of yet no new date has been announced :) Glad I wasted a leave day for that.
 

loftyninja

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Gosh they are full of nonsense.

I've been working through a degree with them for four years now and I can reliably say that UNISA's online platform always has capacity issues when the final assignment deadline looms. Every. Single. Semester. This is after having admission issues in the early part of the semester which results in due dates and exam dates being pushed out more often than not.

It was always going to be iffy when they shunted everything online at short notice. My wife waited 45 (forty five!) minutes to download her paper on Monday. I received an SMS at 01h30 early on Tuesday morning saying that my exam scheduled for 08h00 that very same day was now moved to Saturday. Then on Saturday during the exam they sent an SMS 5 (five!) minutes before time was up saying they'd granted additional time. So they really are flying by the seat of their pants at the moment. Their tech teams must be practicing Agile :unsure:

I appreciate it's not easy work, but this is a tertiary institution with literally hundreds of thousands of students, I expect smarter people to be doing better.
 

Mystic Twilight

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In fairness, they made the effort to help students get their exams done.

As for "predicting" the load, that was always going to be challenging and the events of the past few months just made that tougher. But it's so easy to sit online and criticise genuine efforts, isn't it?

FWIW, my son has written 3 of these online exams and for the most part there were no issues. There was a problem with slow response times on one paper, but he still got it done.

Actually the load can be predicted within good accuracy, since they know exactly how many students have to login at a given time for a given exam, its not an open invitation for an unknown volume of users to register and login at any time like netflix. And depending on the faculty and type of question, the majority of the exam questions will be text and some images loaded once (or a pdf downloaded once) so minimal streaming type data. Unless they decided they are doing a streaming type exam as a cheating deterrent, and/or if they decided to start every possible exam for all courses and all students at the same time instead of in rotations, being able to provide sufficient capacity in anticipation of the load predicted is possible in this scenario.

More likely the IT infrastructure support department lacks the necessary skills to identify, plan, and implement the required scaling up and availability, and/or there is a lack of funds provided to implement the extra capacity, or simply no one cares.
 
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lotus123

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Unless they decided they are doing a streaming type exam as a cheating deterrent,

More likely the IT infrastructure support department lacks the necessary skills to identify, plan, and implement the required scaling up and availability, and/or there is a lack of funds provided to implement the extra capacity, or simply no one cares.
The students must have their webcams on and I imagine that, depending on the native resolution of each cam, the bandwidth demands will vary greatly.

Regarding extra capacity, the crisis arrived suddenly (there was no Y2K-type preparation time scale) and online exams were put into place quickly too. With limited or no lockdown availablity of extra gear, I doubt that much upgrading could have been done.
 
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