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South African Teachers Battle Against Cheating Using AI

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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South African schools and universities are grappling with the challenge of combating cheating using artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Copilot

As these generative AI models become more advanced, they are forcing educators to rethink their assessment strategies and adapt to the changing landscape of academic integrity.

South African Teachers Combat AI Cheating: Redesigning Assessments

To combat AI cheating, many educational institutions are redesigning their assessments. 

Diane Grayson, senior director of academic affairs at Wits University, explains that assessments requiring students to write essays are being modified to prevent them from bypassing the intended learning experience. 

South African Teachers Battle Against Cheating Using AI

Instead, more assessments are being given that require students to use AI tools and show how they have engaged with them, such as critiquing AI-generated text or demonstrating how they used an AI tool to assist with an assignment.

Incorporating AI into Teaching and Assessment

The incorporation of AI into assessment tasks is a way for educational institutions to adapt to the inevitable use of these tools by students. 

However, AI cannot and should not be used in every assessment. 

In many instances, a gauge of the student’s raw capacity is more important to educators than knowing how well they can use a particular tool.

Combating AI Cheating in Distance Learning

In face-to-face learning institutions, it’s easier to prevent the use of AI tools through monitoring to ensure students comply with directives. 

However, this is rarely possible in distance-learning institutions, which rely heavily on online testing and written submissions for assessments. 

Unisa has already incorporated AI into its exam proctoring software suite to combat AI cheating.

Preparing Students for the Real World

Another reason why higher learning institutions are driven to incorporate AI into their teaching and assessment practices is that their students, who will soon be employees, need to be better prepared for the real world. 

If they are taught how to use AI to assist them in their work, they will be better equipped for the future.

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Challenges and Opportunities

While AI brings challenges, such as the digital divide between students with different financial means, it also brings opportunities for personalized learning and adaptive assessment. 

However, schools must ensure that AI tools are deployed equitably and available to all students.

South African Teachers Combat AI Cheating: Embracing the Journey

Both students and lecturers are in the early stages of learning about what AI tools can and cannot do and how best to use them to teach more effectively. 

Embracing AI tools in education is a journey that everyone in education has recently embarked on, and the progress on the journey will need to be constantly monitored and practices will need to be constantly adapted as everyone learns and grows along the way.

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Oluchukwu Ikemefuna
Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

Oluchukwu Blessing Ikemefuna, a talented content writer from Anambra, Nigeria, found her writing passion in secondary school. Holding a degree in Biological Sciences from Federal University of Technology, Owerri, she specializes in blog writing across technology, finance, healthcare, education, and lifestyle sectors. With strong research and SEO skills, Oluchukwu creates engaging content globally. Her work aims to inspire and engage authentically while driving action. Outside work, she enjoys travel, reading, and movies as she grows as a skilled writer.

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