UJ Alumni Impumelelo Magazine Edition 8

The success of the app is not only good for business; it is also of huge importance to academic integrity. “When academic integrity is jeopardised, so is employability,” says Nic. “You are essentially cheating yourself and others out of degrees holding value in the workplace when unethical decisions are taken. Unfortunately, there have been incidents of cheating across universities with the move to online, but The Invigilator application can now solve this issue and ensure exam conditions are abided by when remote testing is administered.” Since creating The Invigilator, the foursome all had to get used to the tech start-up lifestyle, where conventional working hours go out the window. Problems must be rectified as quickly as possible and it’s up to the team to do that. “None of us would have it any other way. Work doesn’t really feel like work because we are all so passionate about what we are building and the potential the company has. Fortunately, the interviews I had to do in my previous roles at FNB gave me skills I could bring to the table in driving our public relations campaign forward,” says Nic. Through the use of technology, education can become more accessible and affordable to students across the globe. The Invigilator is not just a proctoring tool used for high-risk examinations, it’s an education tool that allows for the inclusion of continuous assessment as well as blended learning in that short tests, quizzes and assignments can be administered constantly over the academic year without the need for fixed space and physical invigilators, meaning students get a deeper understanding of the material at hand, resulting in higher employability. Nic Riemer holds a CA Honours from UJ.

RECEIVING THE SAICA TOP- 35-UNDER-35 OVERALL WINNER AWARD WAS ONE OF THE PROUDEST MOMENTS OF NIC RIEMER’S LIFE. HIS DREAM IS TO INTRODUCE THE INVIGILATOR INTO MANY DIFFERENT GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS AND SHOW THE WORLD THAT A SOUTH AFRICAN EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY COMPANY CAN ACHIEVE INTERNATIONAL MARKET SHARE THROUGH OUTPERFORMING INTERNATIONAL OFFERINGS. HE ALSO WANTS TO MAKE SAICA PROUD OVER THE NEXT YEAR. within the profession. I am extremely proud and grateful that SAICA has recognised this through my inclusion as a finalist and then overall winner in The SAICA Top-35- Under-35 competition.” The app is currently the top free education app in South Africa and is utilised by several large tertiary institutions. Unisa is leading the pack with 225 000 students using the app as well as UJ, Rhodes, NWU, Boston, DUT, CUT and UCT. Having a passion for the advancement of future-focused education solutions in under- resourced settings, he co-founded the app with two fellow academics, Dewald Joubert and Jurie Wessels, and his software engineer brother. He is now working full time on The Invigilator with a focus on scaling the business globally.

“When we went into COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, Dewald, Jurie and I began discussing how students were going to move online and the current proctoring systems that were available on the market. We felt that the current proctoring systems had limitations such as laptops being needed, constant internet connection as well as high costs. As a result, universities were not making use of any technology and we seized the opportunity to create a South African solution built for South African students and lecturers. With my brother, who is a gifted software engineer, the four of us set off in April 2020 to create The Invigilator Application.” By September 2020, Version 1 of the app was ready and APT was the first to make use of the application for their 4 000 students. This was the first time the app was used in real life in exam conditions, and even though it was a simple version of what it is today, it managed to conduct the invigilation successfully. “From that point we managed to roll out the app to a small group of Unisa students for piloting purposes. After these exams were conducted successfully, we gained traction by meeting with more universities who were looking for a proctoring solution that could be used to maintain examination integrity,” says Nic. He says the success of the application is one hundred per cent due to the Invigilator team. There was a huge drive in all four of them to create a solution that could assist universities maintain academic integrity and make remote assessing possible even past Covid. “With each member of the team bringing a unique skill set to the table, and after the opportunity was spotted, we didn’t stop until we had a solution that was ready to go to market. The speed of the team is something that has impressed multiple universities as well as the perfect

blend between academic and technology requirements in the solution.”


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