Nabbing 21st century cheaters

Virtual proctors and computer monitoring software can be used to prevent students from cheating during online tests.

Virtual proctors and computer monitoring software can be used to prevent students from cheating during online tests.

Any new classroom tech advancement is going to bring with it a host of new challenges for teachers to figure out. Some present bigger challenges than others. Take online course courses, for instance. They have been a great resource for schools and students alike, providing students with the opportunity to experience higher ed material while giving professors more flexibility in their lesson plans. But how are educators supposed to monitor students if there’s no face-to-face contact?

One problem with this in online classes is that it can be harder for teachers to prevent cheating. Educators have grappled with this problem for some time now. Cheating has always been a constant presence in schools, but has become more common in recent years. In the 1940s, only 20 percent of American college students admitted to cheating while attending high school. Now, some estimate that number has jumped to as much as 98 percent! With 6.7 million students taking at least one online course in the U.S., that provides plenty of opportunities for students to take advantage of the system.

Solutions to the cheating problem
Luckily, there are some tools that can help teachers monitor and prevent cheating: virtual proctors and computer monitoring software.

Virtual proctoring is a 21st century update to an age-old system. Proctoring came about when universities wanted to offer students long-distance learning opportunities including mail-correspondence courses. To ensure that a student didn’t cheat on his or her exams, an impartial proctor was selected to watch over the testing. The modern method is similar except proctors can monitor the exam process from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. Using a webcam, proctors can remotely oversee an exam and encourage honest work.

With virtual proctoring, there is still a possibility of human error as proctors could miss cues that a student is cheating. Not so with computer monitoring software. These programs can lock down browser windows, ensuring that students aren’t surfing the web looking for test answers. If students think they can get around the system by having someone else take a test for them, they’d be wrong. Students must answer a series of personal questions in order to establish their identity before testing begins.

Ideally, online courses should use both tools in order to curb cheating. Having a virtual proctor paired with computer monitoring software will give educators every opportunity to keep students honest.

Does your school have measures in place to prevent cheating? Do you think students are more likely to cheat in an online environment than in the classroom? Tell us what you think in the comments section below or message us on our Facebook page!

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.