Apr 23, 2020

College Moves Four Exams Beyond Designated Exam Period Amid Technical Fears

Four exams were moved due to concerns that Blackboard servers could be overloaded by too many students sitting exams at the same time.

Donal MacNamee and Cormac Watson
Anna Moran for The University Times

Trinity has made last-minute changes to the scheduling of four real-time exams, meaning students in some modules will sit their exams outside of the designated exam period and in a contingency week previously set aside for the return of assignments.

The decision – which affects economics, medicine and business modules – was taken amid fears that Blackboard servers could be overloaded by too many students sitting exams at the same time.

Tom Molloy, Trinity’s director of public affairs and communications, confirmed to The University Times this evening that four real-time exams had been moved until after May 9th, and into a week – May 11th to May 15th – that Trinity had planned for the return of assignments.


Students in one affected module, Economic B, will now sit their exam over 24 hours starting at noon on May 13th.

In an email today, Senior Lecturer Kevin Mitchell wrote: “I apologise sincerely for this late change. I know it will disrupt your study schedule and planning but hope that the extra time will allow you to make the necessary adjustments. Thank you for your understanding.”

Exams will take place between April 27th and May 9th, and will be run remotely due to the coronavirus lockdown. Instead of in-person exams, students will sit real-time online exams, open book exams or their exams will be replaced with written assessments.

Last week, The University Times reported a number of timetabling blunders and the packing together of exams, which left students juggling multiple exams concurrently.

In conversations with The University Times, students and class representatives lambasted the College over its timetabling of the exams.

Many said they were already worried ahead of the exams – which they’ll complete in a remote format, new to students and administrators alike – and argued Trinity’s handling of the situation doesn’t stack up with its promise to “mitigate the difficulties” they’ll face this exam period.

Trinity faced calls to introduce a no-detriment policy earlier this month, but rejected them, instead introducing a number of measures – including allowing students to resit modules even if they’ve passed them, or to retrospectively defer assessments if they feel their performance has been affected – to account for difficulties students face as a result of the coronavirus.

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