Measures have been put in place for the upcoming online exams at Unisa.  Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)
Measures have been put in place for the upcoming online exams at Unisa. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Plans in place to avert cheating in online Unisa exams

By Liam Ngobeni Time of article published May 21, 2020

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Pretoria - Measures have been put in place to ensure there are no chancers who attempt to cheat, or any leaking of papers during the upcoming online exams at Unisa.

University spokesperson Edgar Rathelele said the exams would be online due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the physical distancing regulation that had to be adhered to.

The university exams which were scheduled to be venue-based would now be conducted online.

“The exams will be available on the myUnisa or myExam system and will be encrypted so that there is no possibility of leaking before the time.

“Various marking systems including the use of plagiarism tools and virtual proctoring will be used. The university will have zero tolerance for any form of irregularity identified in the marking process.”

To combat cheating, according to Rathelele, before starting the exam the students would sign a declaration that it was their own work.

“This is also to confirm that students understand and will abide by the university’s rules on plagiarism and collusion.”

In addition, Unisa will be using plagiarism checkers (of handwritten and typed answers) and other applications to screen a student’s work for matches to either electronic sources or other submitted work.

“During the marking exercise, examiners will be alert for any form of cheating.”

He said if there was any suspicion that a student had cheated, the student’s work would be submitted to further scrutiny and investigation and/or Unisa would conduct a follow-up oral exam to check the student’s understanding of the module.

“The university will have zero tolerance for any form of cheating.

“Our disciplinary code is clear that cheating and any form of dishonesty and collusion in an examination is a serious disciplinary offence that will result in disciplinary actions including expulsion from the university without a qualification.”

Monitoring for some modules in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology would include additional remote invigilation web cameras.

“This is built on top of the existing assessment methods in myExams. It will be using facial recognition and other features to monitor the exam.

“In other cases, they will be monitored during the marking process as described above.”

He said investments towards improving efficiencies in the system were still being made and to date an initial investment of R50million towards the provision of data to all Unisa students had been made.

Rathelele said all students who wished to write would be writing and those who don’t write would be automatically deferred to the October/November exams.

Student Katlego Nkwe said there was anxiety as they had never experienced this before.

He said he was concerned about the website crashing because of a lot of traffic leading to extensions and asked how would it work during the exam season?

“Imagine you take a day off to write, and the website does not work well or crashes, so there are those concerns and fears as no one wants to fail but hopefully they will be sorted by the time exams begin.”

He commended the university for the effort in making sure they were connected by offering them data and communicating.

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Pretoria News

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