Unisa Investigating Thousands Of Students For Cheating

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South Africa’s largest university will investigate thousands of students for alleged plagiarism and cheating during examinations. Thousands of students are set to be investigated. 
 


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The University of South Africa (Unisa) is investigating a potential cheating scandal involving approximately 15,000 students flagged by their online invigilation system. 

Unisa uses an Open Distance e-Learning (ODeL) approach to education. This means that students study from home and don’t attend any in-person classes. Recently, Unisa switched from physical exams to online exams, and this shift may have increased the potential cheating 

Several measures have been put in place by the University to maintain the integrity of its online examinations. This includes requiring students to use proctoring tools so their activities can be monitored while they write their examinations.

However, this proctoring tool may be the reason why more students are getting flagged for alleged plagiarism and cheating. 

Unisa Plagiarism Rules 

According to Unisa, all academic work, written or otherwise, submitted by a student is expected to be the result of their work. The University views acts of copyright infringement and plagiarism as a serious offence.

Plagiarism is the act of taking words, ideas and thoughts of others and presenting them as your own. It is a form of theft which involves several dishonest academic activities. 

Students are advised to review the University’s Policy on Copyright Infringement and Plagiarism and the Student Disciplinary Code, which are both available on myUnisa: www.unisa.ac.za/unisarules

Students are advised to study the Disciplinary Code, especially chapter 3 (1.19). 

Student Concerns 

South African Union of Students spokesperson Asive Dlanjwa says they can't say for certain if Unisa students are cheating in large numbers. However, they emphasise the need for a full investigation as it is crucial to protect the academic integrity of Unisa's qualifications.

While Dlanjwa acknowledged the concerns of affected students. They believe a solution that balances getting to the bottom of the issue and protecting the credibility of Unisa degrees is paramount.

Two things as we are saying must happen: we must get to the bottom of this so that we protect the academic integrity of Unisa and not only for the students that are affected but for the other 400,000 students that are registered at Unisa. 

Dlanjwa suggests that there may be issues with the systems Unisa has put in place to detect cheating in its online exams. This suggestion stems from complaints from students who are allowed to complete their examinations without any flags and only find out about issues when they receive their results. 

it is clear that something might be wrong with the system but we can't say the system is ineffective we don't have a evidence to that effect

However, Dlanjwa acknowledges that if the system was faulty, there would be many more students flagged for plagiarism and cheating. This as more than 400,000 students are registered at Unisa and only around 15,000 which equates to less than 4% of students. 

That is not even 10% of the students that are registered with Unisa for instance so the point that we are making is that if there are issues, let them be dealt with but we do not have any evidence to the fact that the system does not work.

"We think if the system probably had been collapsing we believe that quite a number of other students would have been affected."

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