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17.000 European university students take part in a pilot trial to verify their identity and authorship of online activities

In the third pilot trial, at the UOC around 2,000 students

At least 17,000 students on bachelor's and master’s degree courses at seven European universities, including the UOC, are taking part in the final pilot trial in the TeSLA European project during the 2017/18 academic year. The aim is to develop a system that validates the students’ identity and authorship in their activities, which will allow online exams to be taken and fight against plagiarism.

This third and final pilot trial is divided into two stages. The first began with the start of the academic year and involves the participation of 7,000 students. The second will begin in February and will feature the cooperation of between 10,000 and 14,000 students. During the pilot trial, the TeSLA system is being used in the assessment activities that the students do, incorporating face and voice recognition tools, tools that capture writing patterns and others that detect plagiarism and analyse language and writing style.

Besides the UOC, other universities that are part of the project are running pilot trials simultaneously: The Open University (OU, United Kingdom), Open Universiteit Nederlands (OUNL, Netherlands), Anadolu University (AU, Turkey), University of Jyväskylä (JYU, Finland), Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski (SU, Bulgaria) and the Technical University of Sofia (TUS, Bulgaria).

In the third pilot trial, at the UOC around 2,000 students, 15 professors and 88 members of the affiliated teaching staff from 15 different courses involving four faculties and one centre are taking part:  Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications; Centre for Modern Languages; Psychology and Education Sciences; Economics and Business; and Law and Political Science.

A project funded by the European Commission

The TeSLA project is promoted by a consortium comprising 18 organizations under the umbrella of the European Commission and coordinated by the UOC. It has a budget of over 7 million euros and a duration of three years (ending in 2018), during which time three pilot trials will have been run, the last one divided into two phases.

In the first two, which were conducted in the 2016/17 academic year, a total of 5,568 students took part, of which 1,036 were from the UOC. From the results obtained, the students highlighted that it allowed them to save time and, above all, show that they had been the ones to do the activities. At the same time, the students reiterated the confidence that the system conveys and how the data gathered are stored and analysed securely.

“The results from the two trials are highly positive. In the first, we tested all the instruments in isolation, and in the second, we tried out the almost complete first version of the system. We are currently working on the final version of the system with which the project will end”,  explains Ana Elena Guerrero, project coordinator and researcher with the Technology-Enhanced Knowledge and Interaction Group (TEKING) research group, affiliated with the UOC's eLearn Center.

The details of the students taking part in the trial are anonymous and are stored according to European data protection standards.

The 18 organizations that comprise the consortium and that have lent over sixty professionals to the project are:


  • Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) - Spain
  • University of Namur (UNamur) - Belgium
  • Open Universiteit Nederlands (OUNL) - Netherlands
  • Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski (SU)  - Bulgaria
  • The Open University (OU) -   United Kingdom
  • Imperial College London (Imperial) -  United Kingdom
  • Technical University of Sofia (TUS) - Bulgaria
  • Anadolu University (AU) - Turkey
  • University of Jyväskylä (JYU) - Finland
  • Institut Mines-Télécom (IMT) - France

Quality agencies

  • European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA)  - Belgium
  • Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (AQU Catalunya) - Spain
  • European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education EV (EQANIE)  - Germany

Research centres

  • National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE)- Mexico
  • Idiap Research Institute (Idiap) - Switzerland

Technology firms

  • LPLUS GmbH - Germany
  • Protos Sistemas de Información S.L. (protOS) - Spain
  • WFSW SA (Watchful)  - Portugal