Cheating on college exams used to involve sitting next to the smartest person in class and hoping they studied the night before. Now, colleges and universities are facing new challenges to the integrity of their students – smartwatches, which test takers could easily use to access notes, message friends for answers or discreetly search for information from the Internet.
In 2014, the University of London was among the first schools to express its concern that students might be using smartwatches for more than just telling time. Two students were caught using the gadgets to cheat on exams during the spring semester. The university sent a warning to students, informing them that mobile phones, tablets, wearables and other electronic devices weren’t permitted in classrooms during exams.
“Smartwatches may become a problem in the examination hall from 2015 and beyond,” the university’s Academic Committee warned last fall, shortly after Apple announced its Apple Watch in September.
Currently, the university’s ban includes all watches. This will include Apple and Android-based smartwatches.
“Students are already asked to place mobile phones in a plastic wallet under their desk, so we adopted the same procedure for watches,” the university told BuzzFeed on Friday. “Students either don’t wear them to an exam venue, or they remove the watch in the venue and place it in the plastic wallet.”
The Apple Watch will be available sometime during early 2015 for $349.