Online exams have become all the rage in academic circles. Not that students have a choice. With schools and colleges being closed left, right, and center due to the threat of the pandemic, online exams are the only other conceivable way of testing. While this has opened up a lot of flexible ways for students to give exams, there is also one big problem: the threat of cheating.
In a regular classroom, the presence of a teacher or two can often nullify all but the most enterprising and inspired cheaters, but when it’s online, the whole paradigm shifts. Suddenly, only one student is sitting in front of a laptop in their own room, where they are at full liberty to set up their equipment in the most cheating-friendly way. How does one counter this?
Well, like a wise man once said, modern problems require modern solutions. So it is with this. There are many ways of dealing with cheaters during online exams, and in this article, we shall discuss four of them.
Have Them Use a Secure Browser
Make students use a secure browser that locks them into what they have to do and only that. Taking away the option to cheat is the most optimal way of reducing the activity, and this is exactly that.
If the student tries to open a new tab or closes the window to access other files on the computer, an alarm will sound, or they will be unable to do any of that. It’s a simple, elegant solution that doesn’t require any investment to work.
Make Use of Online Proctoring
Through the power of the internet and technology, a proctor can still keep an eye on a student. By keeping the webcam and microphone open, a proctor can make sure the student is doing nothing illegal. This is best achieved by giving the student a list of things they can keep around and then ensuring they comply.
By moving the laptop around and showing the room the examinee has chosen to sit for the test, the proctor can also make sure that nothing that can be used for cheating is in the vicinity. This also helps the institution authorize the student’s actual identity by holding up their valid ID to the webcam and then taking a picture through image capture.
Give Them Timed Questions
By giving students a set amount of time to answer each question, rather than an overall time limit, you force them to spend their time efficiently and not look for answers. The proctoring software like Proctoredu will automatically move on to the next question should the student not answer the one in front of them in time.
If given two whole hours to sift through questions as they please, examinees will invariably single out the questions that have stumped them and look for ways to find answers that might not be the most legal. So, this is the best way to nip the whole thing in the bud and make sure they stay on track and finish the test at a proper time.
Create Questions That Can’t Be Googled
Google is a cheater’s best friend. Take it away from them. Even with a secure browser and microphones on, professional cheaters will find a way to use their phones to look up answers. Cut this off by simply creating questions that cannot be Googled away. The best way to do this is by giving them problems that require a measure of evaluation and analysis.
Word problems are a good example. Give them graphs and data that they need to sort through and understand to come to the right answer. Once they understand that Google is not their ally in this enterprise, they will quickly switch to using their heads – which is something they should have been doing all the time, but some people need a reminder from time to time.
Cheating is for sure a problem that needs to be dealt with. It has been around for centuries and is not going anywhere. The education system needs to evolve with this new brand of cheating that we are seeing now. The pandemic has made students adapt to their circumstances and evolve their tactics, and only the technologically savvy can keep up with them.
Teachers and proctors used to the classroom can no longer perform their invigilation duties properly. But they need to be taught and brought into the digital fold. That’s the only way to combat this new wave of cheaters.