How to prevent cheating in online exams?
Higher education has undergone considerable change in the last few years. The universities are now targeting the demographic of students with online programs. These programs are aimed at working adults. Since they are online, these adults can get time to focus on these programs. Plus, they don’t have to stop their earnings to be a part of such programs.
However, elearning companies prepare the course content of such programs.
These programs are not able to assess the students. The quality of assessments in these programs is important so that the knowledge gained is thoroughly checked. The standards of the online degree can only be established once it has a good assessment. The students would lose interest in the program if credibility is lost in its online tests. The students would not want to invest in a program that does not offer a good return or lacks trustworthiness in its assessment. The colleges would cease to earn incomes if the students don’t enrol in such courses. The outcome of poor testing would not be good for the students and such online universities alike. Therefore, tests have to be cheating-proof. This implies students can’t cheat in them.
Since the tests are quite important for universities, they must invest in genuine methods of assessment. Cheating should not be allowed in such tests. It’s because cheating implies that those who put the efforts in the test are the same as those who didn’t. However, many studies have shown that cheating is rampant in online programs. The colleges have to make sure that cheating is completely prevented in the tests.
Equivalent to No tests: Therefore, having tests that are vulnerable to cheating is like having no tests. The universities that don’t have credible online tests implies that the program has no value.
But if a school or a university has assessments whose results can be measured, it will gain from an increased influx of students.
A university can lose its accreditation: Whether a university gets accreditation or not depends on how it offers certification. The schools and universities can lose their accreditation if no effort is put in monitoring the tests. When such a thing happens, the students would be left with unrecognised degrees. Elearning companies can make sure that the online assessments are of a certain level and that students require some thinking to solve them.
These are the following considerations for online assessment:
Tough questions: Questions should be prepared that respond to higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. These higher levels are Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. There should not be questions which are based on 1st, 2nd levels of Bloom’s taxonomy(Knowledge, Understanding ) so that students can’t find their answers from the internet. This is an excellent way to prevent cheating in an online exam.
Open-ended questions: The questions should be of different types. The questions should not be of the MCQ type only. Its easier to ask friends the answers to such questions. So, the students should be given open-ended questions. The answers to these questions can vary among students and hence cheating is tough. The students have to answer such questions with some details of the course material. And for that, they must have gone through the course material.
When you assign the responsibility of preparing the course material to the chosen one of the elearning companies, you should explain these guidelines about preparing assessments.
Explaining the aftereffects of cheating: The students should also be explained integrity. A video can be sent in an email explaining the results of cheating to students. The students are affected by such videos and will refrain from cheating in the exam. Also, students can be explained about integrity by an invigilator just before an exam starts which may discourage them from cheating in the exam.
Online proctoring: The exam should be monitored by a human proctor. It means that the students should have the webcam on during the exam. This will allow someone to monitor the live feed while students are appearing for the exam.
Have a limited testing window for the learners: This is also very important that the students are offered a limited time for appearing in the exam. It is important so that students don’t cheat in the exam. If the student is in a different time zone than yours, then time for the test should start for him accordingly.
Backtracking must be prohibited: This is necessary so that if students finish the test quickly, they can’t go back and find the answers to certain questions. Once they are done with a question, they are done with it. They musr have only one chance to answer the question.
These are some of the measures through which universities can prevent cheating in an online exam.