In an email sent to fellow staff after the initial Newshub article was published, Dr Wills described the University of Auckland’s handling of its online assessments and exams as “downright embarrassing”.
“Thanks to the format of the exam, private communication can take place freely on Facebook, Discord, WeChat and other platforms during the exam,” he wrote.
“None of the reported cheating methods come as a surprise as they were methods already reported by academic staff to the University last year. The unproctored online exams nevertheless took place.”
Dr. Wills says future reviews need to have some form of oversight to put a stop to it.
“I haven’t looked at existing systems for monitoring online exams. Whatever they are, they must be quite intrusive,” he told Newshub.
“Like they have to require students to have a camera on their computer, which is on, for example. There has to be something better than a free-for-all…there has to be something better than nothing .”
In his email, Dr Wills also challenged a university spokesperson quoted in the article, who said Newshub teaching staff had been asked to be “extremely vigilant” in light of the allegations. ‘misconduct.
“[It’s] return the ball. What should these staff do? Creating fake accounts to mingle with other fake accounts online in the afternoon and evening during the exam period?
“Do all that extra work outside of work hours while performing their ‘regular’ daytime duties? Visit student quarters to avoid organized cheating in person? How should they be ‘extremely vigilant’ about students’ telephone communications during exams?”
He said around 40 people responded to his email expressing anger that teaching staff were being asked to take on this increased workload during exam time, especially as they are ” already overworked” and often lower paid staff.
Newshub contacted the University of Auckland for a response, but a spokesperson said they could not comment further.
However, in response to Newshub’s initial request for comment in June, the spokesperson said the university had launched an investigation after a student contacted a staff member concerned about planned academic misconduct. during an online exam.
“As a result, tutors have been warned to be extremely vigilant regarding academic misconduct in light of these allegations. The university has mechanisms in place to detect cheating and will follow up and sanction where there is evidence of infractions.
“While we are not aware of any cheating during these online reviews, we will investigate the allegation.
“Students are fully aware of their responsibilities for academic integrity. They are informed of the consequences of violating these throughout their courses and reminded again on their examination papers.
“Last year the COVID situation meant that exams were largely moved online and we have continued this practice in some programs to provide students with certainty about the assessment process in light of potential changes in levels. COVID alert.
“We will continue to seek ways to ensure that the highest standards of academic integrity are maintained and that the small number of students who fail to meet them do not negatively impact others.”