Yesterday, I was at the Century Park Hotel in Manila to attend the 1st International Conference on Open and Distance eLearning (ICODeL). At the concurrent paper presentations, I had the pleasure of listening to Fr. Gerard G. Ravasco talk about technology-aided cheating on ODeL (Open and Distance eLearning) courses. Fr. Ravasco administered an open-ended questionnaire to his students enrolled in a graduate course in Computer Ethics. From this, he was able to identify different types of online cheating. His students also gave suggestions on how cheating can be prevented.
Technology-aided cheating … here are the ways:
- Impersonation. The student can go to an online service that offers to make assignments or write papers and then pass of the work as his.
- Search engine and plagiarism duo. The very easy to do cut-and-paste method without citation.
- Unauthorized intellectual networking. Posting of previous content or coursework from those who have taken the course so others in the network can benefit.
- Unauthorized technology exploitation. While taking an online test on the official desktop computer, the student has a tablet computer or other mobile device at hand to google answers. More tech-savvy students can actually do course hacking.
- Unlawful distribution. Students borrow previous submissions or assignments from others who have taken the course. They revise these a little and submit them as their own. They assume the teacher doesn’t read it anyway and will be unable to tell them apart.
- Deceit and manipulation. Student misrepresents one’s status or situation to buy time or cheat. The student may say he was unable to complete an assignment because a relative died or she got pregnant.
Fr. Ravasco offers the following suggestions to help prevent cheating on ODeL courses:
- Policies and requirements. There must be clear guidelines and consequences for academically-inappropriate behavior. Assignments must require creativity so that students cannot just cut and paste.
- Interaction and communication. Students are less likely to cheat if there is frequent feedback from the teacher.
- Design of assessment. Randomize items in the question pool. Conduct oral exams via live web chats. Perform assessments in a secure web browser.
- Monitoring and evaluation. Do online proctoring using screen viewers.
Fr. Ravasco says we probably need to do more studies on online cheating as there is limited literature since ODeL is relatively new. Got any more cheating examples not cited here? Drop me a line at email@example.com.