Bristol Uni students unable to take final year exams as online university goes offline

‘My exams this week are worth 90 per cent of my final year marks…I expected nothing else from the uni’

Bristol Uni students are unable to access their final year exams as the online learning portal, Blackboard, has crashed.

The exam period began this morning at 9am with students having to access the site to start their exams. The university had rescheduled some exams to 10:30 but with the site still unavailable, students are in the dark as to what they are supposed to do.

Students have been left confused as the university have yet to provide any guidance. There are also concerns as some have been able to access their exams but have started their exams late.

After a year of blended learning that has largely remained online, students have reacted with anger. Caitlin, a third year veterinary student, whose exams this week are worth 90 per cent of her final year mark, told The Bristol Tab: “I just don’t get why they can’t get their act together.

“This happens every year. Surely they should anticipate this and not just schedule every [exam] at the same time”.

Sam, a zoology fresher, said: “I was so stressed when it first wouldn’t load that I nearly threw up in my plant pot. I don’t know what to do now, do I just sit here all day?”

University departments have been scrambling to get a message to their students. Hannah, a second year pharmacology student, told us her department initially emailed students to wait until the site came back online but have since told students not to start the exam even if it becomes available.

However, some students were able to access the exam before receiving the email not to open it, and as Hannah explained “have seen half the questions already”.

Email sent to all pharmacology students

Some departments have pushed the start time of exams back to 12pm noon but it is clear there is no confirmed time of when the site will come back online, whether all students will be able to access it, and if so, whether it will crash again.

Update: Blackboard comes back online

Bristol Uni IT Services have confirmed the Blackboard site has come back online and they are “monitoring” the situation. It remains unclear how many students were able to access their exams this morning.

Questions remain about how the university will mitigate students for the confusion and stress this caused ahead of final year exams that count towards students’ degree qualification and how the university will mitigate the impact of some students having access to their question papers while others didn’t.

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