Impetuses For Cheating In COVID-19-Induced Online Assessments At A Rural University In South Africa

Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on Advanced Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2021


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Impetuses For Cheating In COVID-19-Induced Online Assessments At A Rural University In South Africa

Bonginkosi Mutongoza



Owing to the significant disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on all sectors of society, education institutions have been forced to rethink how they conduct their operations. To continue with teaching and learning, most institutions were forced to adopt more blended methods of instruction as opposed to the previously dominant traditional face-to-face instruction. Because the transition was abrupt, most institutions in the developed world were therefore caught unprepared and had to grapple with gaps in the implementation of teaching, learning, and assessment. As such, this study sought to determine the motivations of students to engage in cheating during the transition to emergency online learning at a rural institution in South Africa. To achieve this, the present study relied on a qualitative approach in which lecturers and students at a rural university were interviewed using semi-structured online interviews. The study revealed that while online learning was introduced as a measure to salvage teaching and learning, institutions in rural settings find it difficult to guarantee assessment in the digital domain. The study determined that students’ motivations for cheating can be broadly explained in three dimensions namely the incentives, pressures, and opportunities. It is therefore recommended that to rescue academic integrity and combat cheating, there is a need for the adoption of an educative approach to ensure academic integrity as a starting point. This would require institutions to engender a culture of honouring academic integrity, and an adaptation of traditional contact-based surveillance and punishment policies for use in the digital domain.

keywords: academic integrity, academic dishonesty, cheating, online assessment, online learning, rural institution.