The Student
Learn Crashes on First Day of Online Lectures
by Lydia Willcocks, 30/09/20

As students began their first day of online classes, both the university platform Learn and the MyEd portal crashed. 

The Learn system was first recorded to have crashed at 9:15 on the morning of 21st September. 

The IS Helpline tweeted that “Learn is currently unavailable due to log in issues.”

Speaking to The Scotsman, the Edinburgh University Students’ Association president Ellen MacRae said that the log-in issues were not due to high traffic on the website and that the issue would be resolved swiftly.

A fix to the Learn issue was implemented later that day.

The crash meant an inability to access course materials and, for those with online classes early in the day, a need to reschedule or find a new way to attend their first online sessions. 

Jamina Collington, a first-year Theology student, said that Learn crashing was “annoying” but with all her course lectures and seminars being pre-recorded, it was not too much of a problem.

A lack of synchronous learning materials and a reliance on pre-recorded lectures have led some students to feel disillusioned by the University’s attempts to provide an engaging and worthwhile learning experience. 

A fourth year International Relations student, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “it certainly feels like the uni could have made more of an effort in terms of making synchronous tutorials at least, and I think they should have been more honest about the in-person aspect being essentially irrelevant.”

“If they’d just told us it was going to be all online and properly put the effort into making the best of that then it would be better, whereas they tried to compromise and suggest some sort of hybrid approach which is pretty much the worst of both worlds. 

“It’s a compromise situation where nobody is happy.” 

The crash of major learning platforms on the first day of classes have been seen by some as indicative of the university’s struggles to adjust to online teaching. 

Students have spoken of the University’s prior reluctance to use online methods and stream lectures which has led to a confused attempt at ‘hybrid’ teaching. 

Timetables being released late have also caused difficulties with the transition. 

Iz Guis, a fourth year History and English Literature student said, “I have been really disappointed with the lack of transparency, information and support from the uni. 

“I can make online classes work, but I wish I had known they would be online with more than five days’ notice.” 

On 29th September, Learn crashed for a second time. Reported at 13:20, users were again unable to log in to Learn, with the service being restored later in the afternoon.

The MyEd homepage currently states “We are monitoring the service closely.”

Image: Official University of Edinburgh Logo via Wikipedia