Prospective students unable to access Virtual Open Day due to high number of attendees

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By Annie La Vespa, News Correspondent

Prospective students found it difficult to access the Virtual Open Day yesterday due to significant technical difficulties.

The University’s first virtual open day took place yesterday in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The event provided an opportunity for prospective students to talk to current students, and teams who support the student experience, ranging from admissions to accommodation online.

Many experienced technical difficulties, however, and were unable to access this virtual open day, which ran from 10am to 3pm.

The University addressed this problem in a Tweet during the occasion, which said: ‘due to demand we’ve had some technical difficulties, so sorry if you haven’t been able to join us so far’.

As the day progressed, many prospective students expressed their frustration on Twitter. One asked for a second open day, stating that ‘the live chat aspect of these virtual days is invaluable and I will be sorry to miss it.’

The difficulties are thought to have originated from the third-party platform, Workcast, crashing due to a high number of attendees.

The chat button for entry into the Q&A sessions was also believed to be particularly unclear.

The University released a second tweet, expressing it was a ‘yellow chat circle in the bottom right of the talks pages’ in attempt to clarify any confusion.

Due to these technical difficulties, the open day was extended until 4pm.

WorkCast have apologised for the technical difficulties faced by attendees whose access to the virtual event was restricted.

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In a statement, a spokesperson from the company said: ‘We understand there was some frustration regarding Friday’s event with attendee access being restricted at times. However, the event saw over 12,000 unique attendees and huge engagement between attendees and university staff’.

‘Clearly, running an event of this scale and complexity poses its own unique challenges and overall the level of engagement and number of attendees interacting with the university was very good.

‘There were periods of particularly high demand where the platform was stretched under the weight of the very high number of people trying to access it and navigating around within this very large event.

‘The team worked to ensure these periods were worked through with minimal disruption but this did mean that at points, new attendees arriving at the login page were not able to access the event right away.

‘We deployed a contingency plan wherein potential attendees were directed to a holding page, where they could then access the event when the platform allowed.’

Students who could not attend the event are being invited back in September for a second virtual open day.

Featured Image:Unsplash


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