Jameson Memorial Hall on the University of Cape Town's (UCT) campus is an impressive structure that has as its backdrop the towering Devil's Peak. Picture Leon Lestrade.
Jameson Memorial Hall on the University of Cape Town's (UCT) campus is an impressive structure that has as its backdrop the towering Devil's Peak. Picture Leon Lestrade.

Concern over students cheating using tutoring app

By Mphathi Nxumalo Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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DURBAN - WITH online learning becoming the new normal for university students, cheating has become a challenge that higher education institutions have to deal with.

This comes after the University of Cape Town and the University of Witwatersrand said they had caught students using an online platform called Chegg.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal said it was aware of Chegg and other online platforms used by students to cheat, and were worried about it.

An article published by MyBroadband detailed how students went about beating the system when writing tests and exams from home. The article said a Wits lecturer noticed that about 200 to 300 students had answered questions in an applied mathematics paper in the same way and raised suspicions that alleged cheats got the answers from the same source, a tutoring platform called Chegg.

The platform can be accessed online and via an app. According to MyBroadband, disciplinary action followed where the lecturer proved that each of the students was cheating.

Wits University confirmed the incident and said the cheating took place in 2020 and was not as widespread as portrayed by the media.

UCT spokesperson Elijah Molololah said: “UCT has found that in some of these cases university test and/or exam questions were loaded to the Chegg website and answers were provided by industry experts and submitted by students as their own work. These answers were sometimes shared among some students.

“However, Chegg does abide by an honour code, and once questions have been identified by a lecturer as being part of their exam, the company has assisted the university in removing the questions and identifying those students who have uploaded or accessed the answers online.”

Monitoring students during tests and exams had been a challenge, he said. However, lecturers had found ways to stop cheating, including signing an honour code.

UKZN spokesperson Normah Zondo said: “The university is aware of the website/app. The existence of such a website is extremely worrying for any academic institution.

“This platform provides answers to any downloaded question in any academic subject like mathematics, engineering, English and some law modules. The university is dealing with a small number of cases at the moment and will continue to pursue any allegation of cheating brought to its attention.”

Zondo said the university had embarked on various initiatives to ensure students were not cheating.

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