Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Curbing Online Cheating

I hope that you will never have to give “the speech” to your class as Prof. Richard Quinn had to at the University of Central Florida.

With the increase of electronic assessment, comes the concern of increased cheating.  The Chronicle for Higher Education recently posted on how students in an online course worked together to successful pass their course by cheating.  Just a few months ago, KU had it first national conference on test fraud. (More than 130 people from 29 states and Canada attended the “Conference on Statistical Detection of Potential Test Fraud” on May 23-24, including professionals from state departments of education, federal agencies, private testing companies, public school districts, and universities.) In addition, I have visited with a number of faculty members who have expressed this concerned and have asked for advice on how to reduce the opportunity to cheat. I would like to provide you with some suggestions from John Fontaine, a Senior Director at Blackboard, on how to reduce online cheating. (For more detailed descriptions of these tips, click here.)
  1. Change your assessment to constructivist activities (such as blogs, wikis, and group projects)
  2. Pull questions from large pools to vary questions among students.
  3. Randomize question ordering, answer order, and display one question at a time.
  4. Set feedback options to display answers after assessment window is closed.
  5. Use “Negative marking” to penalize students for choosing wrong answers.
  6. Use calculated questions.
  7. Lower the stakes of the quiz by making quizzes unlimited attempts and increase exams and protector the exams.
  8. “Watch a video, click next and take a quiz” style courses reward “cheating” and copying.  Completing the sequence is the reward, people will do whatever gets them through sequence the fastest. So, rethink sequencing and design of course.
There are additional settings in ANGEL and even software programs that can be installed to reduce the ability for students to capture online test questions and answers. If you feel that there may be cheating in your in-class or online course, feel free to contact one of the Educational Technology Liaisons in TLT to provide you suggestions on how to reduce this issue in your course.

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