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Averting Online Cheating With Technology

By Deborah Williams

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No one can argue against the fact that the Internet has opened new educational opportunities for many people; consequently, many well-known colleges and universities have made free school courses online available to students anywhere in the world with massive open online courses (MOOCs).  However, professors have wondered how to ensure that a student (whom they have never seen) is really the one answering the questions without any outside assistance, including search engines.

New York Times writer Anne Eisenberg’s article, “New Technologies Aim to Foil Online Course Cheating,” that educators now have a new tool that should eliminate or reduce the chances that an online student can cheat on an online exam.  One company, ProctorU, now offers remote proctoring that is believed to be as good as live, in-person proctoring.  Their product uses screen sharing and webcam feeds at offices in Alabama and California.  Another company, Software Secure, video records test-takers.  Later, three proctors independently view a faster-speed video of the student.  To ensure that the person enrolled in the course is the one who is doing the work, another service called Signature Track “confirms students’ identity by matching webcam photographs as well as pictures of acceptable photo IDs.”  Additionally, a software program analyzes the student’s typing rhythm.  The results are compared to this original sample to confirm that the student is the author of all submitted work.

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