Saturday, February 7, 2015

Video Presentation: Cheating and its Prevension in Distance Education

      What is academic cheating? Students perceive cheating as actions against university policy, benefiting from someone else’s work, not using your own brain to receive an unearned grade.
          Is cheating a problem in distance education? Studies showed that more than 70% of students have admitted to cheating during online exams, projects, and other activities.  Almost 95% of students cheating in online environment are not being caught.

 How do online students cheat? They wait to get answers from others, try to retake an exam based on false claims about the LMS crashing, get help from websites, and take an exam jointly with their classmates It is also possible that another person takes the exam or entire course.
        Why do online students cheat? Students reported that they cheat because they want to pass the class, get a perfect score, most of their friends are cheating without being caught, and it is easy to cheat online using the Internet.  Other reasons include isolation in online environment: the instructor is invisible and possibly does not care.
         Is it possible to reduce or prevent cheating in online environment? Studies showed that university policies on academic misconduct in which consequences for being caught are clearly identified reduce cheating. However, many students do not read or ignore them.
         Some software programs lock-down the screen when timed exam begins-students cannot navigate anywhere else on the computer. However, students can set up two computers-one for the assessment and one to browse the Web to find answers.
         Similarity detection software such as Turnitin identifies plagiarism, but do they reduce cheating? In a study on students and instructors’ perception of Turnitin, 56% of students and 72% of instructors thought that the awareness about the tool can reduce cheating.
          Webcams can be used to monitor each student taking the exam.  However, the assistance which are not in view of the camera could be offered.
          Biometric devices such as finger prints identifiers and iris detectors can be used to verify students’ identities, but this products are expensive.
          Are there any computational analysis to detect cheating in online exams? Several studies discussed a formula which can identified the ratio of common errors on multiple choice exams to questions answered incorrectly. This ratio can help to detect cheating.
       Randomization of multiple choice questions is another technique used by educators to prevent cheating. However, it was shown that reordering questions may negatively affect students’ performance.
          Can cheating be prevented through type of assessment? Some studies showed that students cheat less during proctored exams, while findings of others did not support this claim.
       ProctorU is a company which might be helpful if distance education students cannot come on campus to take proctored exams. This company proctors exams remotely, checking students identity and watching them using webcam. However, this serves is expensive.
          Can course design reduce cheating? In some studies students responded that meaningful and challenging assignments focused on creative and critical thinking precludes cheating. Students also admitted that they cheat less if they respect their instructors. 
      All described mechanisms have limitations. Students do not read or ignore policies on academic misconduct. Screen Lock-down software is not efficient if students use two computers. Webcams do not capture helpers who are not in view of the camera. Proctored exams sometimes are not possible or cannot be mandatory. Biometric devices are expensive. Randomization of multiple choice exams may negatively affect students’ performance.
       Policy makers, administrators, educators, high-tech companies, and students identify several ways of cheating prevention, but which one is the most efficient, where, and when?
Our keynote speaker Dr. McCabe, a retired professor of Rutgers Business School, is going to answer these questions. Over the past twenty five years, Dr. McCabe, who is often referred as the “founding father” of research on academic misconduct or as “Dr. Ethics,”  has done extensive research on college cheating, surveying over 165 000 students at more than 160 colleges and universities in the US and Canada.
He also is a founder of the International Center on Academic Integrity.
Please welcome Dr. Donald McCabe as he shares his knowledge about academic misconduct and helps you to find the optimal solution for cheating prevention suitable for each of your programs.

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I commented on Gary's and JoAnn's video and discussed mine and JoAnn's video on Skype.