Students unable to access the Loop website on the first day of online learning

Aoibhín Meghen

Loop was down for two days as the system was overwhelmed.

DCU students were unable to access their Loop accounts from Monday October 5th as the website was down due to faults. 

The site encountered a “technical issue” according to DCU which “resulted in the system being unable to respond to requests in a timely fashion, at which point the university made the decision to take Loop temporarily offline to resolve the matter.”

Loop was restored on Tuesday evening however students were warned that it was still experiencing difficulties so pages would take longer to load.

The site, which is based on the learning management system Moodle, is intended to act as the connection between DCU students and their lecturers for online learning during Covid-19. 

On Loop students can get access to Zoom links and class readings as well as many other resources to help with the transition to online. 

Due to Loop being inoperative some students missed their classes as they did not have access to the Zoom link.

DCU ensured students that they would not be put at a disadvantage if that was the case and the university would provide them with a recording of any classes they missed.

Alternative arrangements were made to allow class lecturers to contact their students via email in order to provide them with the links to their Zoom classes rather than through Loop as originally intended. 

According to William Kelly, Deputy Registrar and Dean of Teaching and Learning at DCU, the reason for the site being taken down was that Loop was unable to manage the number of students using it at once.

In an email sent to all students he said that “this problem stems from the huge volume of users (approx 16,000 students) accessing Loop at the same time seeking class details and zoom links for lectures and tutorials.”

“In preparation for  some on campus teaching in line with Covid 19 safety restrictions and to provide a more personalised teaching experience, this year’s timetable is designed for many smaller groups/pods” said Kelly.

The smaller class sizes resulted in more classes running at once compared to previous years.

Loop was inoperative again on Sunday October 11th as DCU’s Information Systems Services (ISS) continued to work on the site.

Due to Covid-19 all courses in DCU are online only with the exception of some practical modules that could not be done online.

DCU Student’s Union (DCUSU) expressed students’ disappointment about the issues they have experienced with Loop and accessing their lectures.

In a statement DCUSU recognised that some students may feel that “the quality of education they have received thus far does not reflect the level of fees they have paid.”

Kelly informed students that the “team in ISS has been working throughout the night with our Loop support partners to identify a possible solution to the ongoing issues” but “a workable solution has yet to be found.”

He also said that their other alternative if Loop will not work to the capacity needed is to “take into account the way that classes are structured this year.”

Aoibhin Meghen

Image Credit: App Sliced