Invigilator becomes the most downloaded education app in SA

Johannesburg – A year ago, the Invigilator App was launched and this week it became the most downloaded free education app in the country.

Nicholas Riemer, who is the co-founder and CEO of the Invigilator, said the remote, mobile-first exam assessment tool developed by local academics, was downloaded largely by students from the University of South Africa – 50 000 students in total.

Other higher institutions of learning using the app include the University of Johannesburg, Rhodes University, Boston City Campus and the University of Cape Town. Riemer said 200 000 downloads were still expected ahead of the upcoming remote exam.

The three lecturers, Nicholas Riemer, Dewald Joubert, and Jurie Wessels, said they had put their skills together to create this ground-breaking app because they felt dismayed knowing students’ education and future careers would be jeopardised due to the challenges of their online exams during the early days of lockdown.

Riemer said the app was launched with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ accounting professional training board course.

“The team started building the application in May 2020, launching the first version in September 2020. Since launching, new features, as well as efficiencies, were added to the application to allow for such high volumes of students to make use of the app for 2021 tests and examinations,” he said.

Riemer said that unlike competitors, it did not require uninterrupted internet access/electricity supply and it could even work offline on the oldest of smartphone models.

“Most students in the country lack the resources required for high-tech remote invigilation and most academic institutions were unable to mount the cost and technological barriers posed by existing, internationally available invigilation tools, while navigating the safety challenges with in-venue exams during the pandemic.”

Riemer said the Invigilator allowed examiners to choose from a variety of photo authentication, speech recording and GPS mapping tools, matched to the level of security required for each assessment.

The app uses artificial intelligence to authenticate photos, flag recordings containing speech as well as students writing in close proximity to one another and generates verification codes for integration into a learning management system.

And no one can cheat the system, he reassured.

“Due to the fact that the application is customisable by the lecturer/ university, the number of prompts and requests always differ from one examination to another. The increase in institutions making use of the application is testament to how effectively the application is working in ensuring academic integrity,” he said.

Riemer said the next step was to have it rolled out to schools, with Hoerskool Waterkloof being one of the first schools to have adopted the solution for 1 900 pupils.

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