Derailing Online Cheating
by Alexa Schumacher
A common concern and comment from a faculty member:
One of my biggest concerns is minimizing cheating. I like the control that being in the classroom gives me for making sure that eyes are not wandering.
But what can we do as online educators to spot it beyond turnitin.com or vericite.com? What are some tried and true tips that some of you may have found work (or heard about from other colleagues? And at one point do we as educators recognize there's only so much we can do?
Dear Concerned Faculty Member,
There are a few key ways to address this:
- VeriCite Plagiarism Software – built into Canvas!
- Shifting the format of your course to Hybrid or Proctored Online Course format
- Course Design techniques, tips and tricks!
Below are examples of these methods of limiting and addressing cheating head on.
1. Plagiarism Software: At GCC we have VeriCite built right into Canvas! This is just like Turnitin.com and can be automatically turned on for any written assignment in Canvas. Dr. Connie Lantz at firstname.lastname@example.org can help you with this instructional aid when you set-up your Canvas course. There are also tutorials available...very simple to use. I use it now :-) I teach in English, so of course, this is a huge concern. After I let my students know that I use VeriCite and that all their work is checked for Plagiarism, the issues drop considerably.
2. You can shift the way your course is offered. You can offer a course where exams or even course work is done physically on campus. We have two methods explained below to choose from:
Hybrid: You could also offer a Hybrid Course format where you include all the aforementioned and add in some face-to-face collaboration and lecture time. The most common Hybrid format is a 50/50 split between face-to-face and online instruction, but you can offer a different split to meet the needs of your student base.
POC: If you are still concerned, you can offer your course as a Proctored Online Course (POC) and have students complete essays/quizzes/tests/exams in-class and the rest online in Canvas (instructor must proctor the exams and set-up the room – list this information in the Ticket Note so your students are prepared when they register).
3. Course Design: There is a movement to shift the way we talk about cheating. So, instead of calling it cheating, instead think of it as ways of building critical-thinking skills and rewarding innovative thinking. You can try to design assessments that include student-made video and audio, and use projects rather than tests. This is a great workaround for an online environment. Remember, solid course design can make or break the success of your class – for some helpful hints on course design, see below for articles and handouts!
Here are some great handouts with more tips to prevent/derail online cheating through course design:
Cheating is a major concern. This handout is not meant to minimize or negate your concern. Please keep in mind that the vast amount of empirical evidence has shown that online students are no more likely to cheat than face-to-face students, so the online environment has not been linked to rampant cheating, as some thought. Typically, students who are honest are honest – see below for articles and handouts!
Here are some studies on the subject of online cheating:
GCC Academic Honesty Policy - Please note that this policy is the same for all modalities: face-to-face, hybrid and online courses.
Hope this helps! Please email me if you have more ideas or tips and tricks - email@example.com
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