No Smart Watch Bans for Otago Exams

Massey bans all watches during examinations

Despite not having any cheating instances with watches to date, Massey University has implemented a ban on all watches for students during examinations. The university said the ban was a reaction to “changing technology”.

The watches, recently released by Apple, allow individuals to access the internet and documents and communicate with others. The ban, however, is for all watches, not just smart watches.

Spokesperson for Massey University, James Gardiner, said there has been “no negative reaction [from students] to date”.

Students at the University of Otago, however, have expressed concern over potential bans, with one saying “the clocks in the exam room can be out, or hard to see, it is nice to have your own watch on the desk for personal timekeeping”.

Director of Academic Services, John Price, has said that the university will not be putting a ban in place in the foreseeable future, but will “monitor the situation closely and will seek to amend its exam regulations if required”.

Price said if a ban were to be enacted at Otago, he believes students would support the move. He said the university “believes students will support actions that decrease the opportunity for dishonest practice in examinations”.

Price said the university’s examination rules are specific about what is, and what is not, permitted in examinations. Currently, “no devices with communication capability may be used in the examination room or adjoining areas (e.g. toilets) during the period of the examination.” Cell phones must be also switched off and handed to the supervisor at the beginning of the examination. “Examination supervisors are trained to be vigilant for any suspicious activity,” says Price.

Bans have not yet been put in place in any other New Zealand universities. However, universities have said they will monitor the situation. Bans on smart watches have taken off worldwide, with City University in London and Southampton announcing bans in recent weeks.   

This article first appeared in Issue 13, 2015.
Posted 10:54am Sunday 24th May 2015 by Bridie Boyd.