No More Cheating with Online Exams

Ever catch a student cheating on your online exam? Studies consistently reveal that over half of college students have cheated at least once. Years ago, a student informed me that his peers were using smartphones to photograph the screen during my online exams and then texting friends who hadn’t taken it yet. I was disappointed but also unsure what to do about it. Chico State now has a solution to address online exam cheating in all its various forms. A remote proctoring service called Proctorio provides the convenience of online exams along with the security of proctored exams. This service, which is free for all Chico State faculty, allows you to:

  • Block internet searching and other applications during the exam.
  • Observe the student and their test environment via camera to ensure they are following your testing rules.
  • Customize the strictness of the rules used to best fit your expectations.

After the online exam, Proctorio provides you feedback on each student including data on browser clicks, eye-movements, and an audio/video recording. You then decide how, if at all, to proceed with the data.

If you’re interested in using Proctorio in Spring ‘19, you must first attend a training. If you’re interested in learning more, please attend a virtual initial information session (via Zoom) on Monday, October 15th at 11am to see an overview of this new technology to see how it can fit your needs. Click here to RSVP if you’re interested.

If you have any questions about the information session or about bringing remote proctoring to your course, contact TLP at 898-6167.

How did they know that?

Last year an accomplished professor came by the office for some grading help with a midterm which our students are sometimes able to provide (so long as we stay FERPA compliant). He noticed many students were getting the same answer wrong in the same particular way over and over. Perplexed, he wondered aloud what could be happening until one of the student staff members in the office remarked that the exam and/or study guide was probably on Quizlet. We both responded “What is Quizlet?”Image result for quizlet

Quizlet is one of a suite of websites leveraging crowdsourced content for study help for students. Study Blue is also popular and there are probably dozens of others I am not aware of. In most cases these sites offer study guides students have uploaded that can be turned into flash cards or practice exams. On the whole, the sort of thing we all hope students do. Of course there are also less than exemplary practices. In the case referenced earlier, someone had uploaded nearly an entire exam. Even further on the spectrum, there are many pay-for-essay sites online offering products of dubious origin. We have come a long way from file folders of essays and exams passed from friend-to-friend over years and are likely to go even further in the coming years.

We have tools at our disposal to help with academic honesty including digital products like turnitin and personnel with expertise in Student Judicial Affairs. These can be extremely useful, but I also want to direct you to the most valuable resource at your disposal: your students. Asking current and former students what tools they or their peers used in your classes can give you a baseline. You may like what you hear and decide to help curate the collections on Quizlet yourself or direct future students to especially valuable guides. You may find your students are utilizing out-of-date, incorrect, or unethical resources. Then it may be up to you to change your exams or teaching practices to accommodate. If you do talk to your students and find something interesting, especially a web service or a network, don’t keep it a secret, pass it along and let us know.

Dr. Sara Cooper has provided additional Book in Common Material. Check out this section of the CELT page for regular synopsis updates, discussion questions, and other resources.

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