Security measures in place to prevent exam cheating, says Unisa

Picture: Rekord Centurion

Those who don’t want to write will be automatically deferred to the October/November exams.

Unisa says there will be no cheating when students write exams online in May and June.

This despite reports of exam papers being leaked last year.

The upcoming exams would be administered online via myUnisa or the myExams platforms, reports Rekord Centurion.

According to Unisa spokesperson Rathelele, staff and students are already familiar with this platform.

“Students will receive a one-time password on their cellphones,” said Rathelele.

“This is a security measure put in place similar to when doing banking transactions.”

He said through the exams being made available on the myUnisa or myExam system, encryption functions would be placed.

This means “there is no possibility of leaking a paper before the time”.

Rathelele said various marking systems, including the use of plagiarism tools and virtual proctoring, was also being used.

“The university will have zero tolerance for any form of irregularity identified in the marking process.”

He said the systems were put in place to ensure students were not cheating.

Prior to starting the examination, a student would sign a declaration that this was their own work.

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

Rathelele said Unisa would 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 marking, examiners will be alert to any form of cheating. If there are any suspicions a student has cheated, that student’s work would be submitted to further investigation. Unisa will then hold a follow-up oral examination to check the student’s understanding of the module.

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

He said the university’s disciplinary code was clear that cheating and any form of dishonesty and collusion in an examination was a serious offence.

Students would undergo disciplinary actions, including expulsion from the university without a qualification, if they were found to be dishonest.

Rathelele said students would be monitored “immensely”.

“For some modules in the college of science, engineering and technology, there will be additional IRIS remote invigilation using 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.”

Rathelele emphasised that all students who wished to write exams would do so.

Those who don’t want to write will be automatically deferred to the October/November exams.

He added the university would assist students suffering from anxiety and other stresses due to exams.

“The student retention unit has just released a module dealing with student stress. The link is available to students on myUnisa.

“We have received more than 2.5 million assignments and students have their lecture notes and access to their lecturers online. It seems that students have been working very hard on their studies during the lockdown period.”

Unisa also became one of the first public universities in the world to teach exclusively by means of distance education in 1946.

Since 2007, the university has embraced open distance learning.

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