Online course creators face several significant challenges when it comes to preventing cheating and maintaining academic integrity.
In traditional classrooms, instructors can monitor students during exams to prevent cheating. In an online setting, course creators have limited control over students’ testing environments, making it easier for students to access external resources, collaborate with others, or seek unauthorized assistance.
Online courses often require students to submit written assignments, and plagiarism can be a pervasive issue. Students can easily copy and paste content from the internet or share work with others without proper attribution.
Additionally, with the rise of Artificial Intelligence, new issues have appeared when it comes to cheating in online courses. While AI can be used as a tool to prevent cheating, it can also facilitate dishonest practices. AI can quickly produce essays or assignments on various topics and summarize or translate lengthy texts effectively.
Hence the need for effective strategies to prevent cheating in online courses is greater than ever. In this article, we’ll delve into the realm of Moodle, exploring the best solutions to prevent cheating and safeguard the integrity of your online courses.
Can Moodle detect cheating?
Moodle itself cannot detect whether a student is cheating. However, it can easily be integrated with external tools that allow you to keep a closer eye on your students. It also gives you access to student activity logs through which you can keep tabs on suspicious behavior.
Nonetheless, despite not having a specific feature for detecting cheating built in, there’s a lot course creators can do to prevent cheating on their online courses. Let’s take a look at some of the security measures you can implement.
How to prevent cheating on Moodle?
The first step to prevent cheating on your Moodle courses is to work with the tools and resources the platform offers out of the box. Finetuning your course settings and using its features to your advantage can go a long way to preventing dishonest activity on your online courses.
Moodle offers various quiz settings that can be used to deter cheating. These include setting time limits, randomizing questions and answer choices, and shuffling question order to make it more difficult for students to share answers.
It’s also recommended that you create larger question banks to create exams so that each student receives a different set of questions. This makes it harder for students to share answers in real time.
Include open-ended assignments that require critical thinking and personal analysis. These are harder to cheat on compared to multiple-choice quizzes.
Encourage peer review of assignments and discussions. When students know that their peers will evaluate their work, they are less likely to cheat.
Implement strong authentication methods, such as requiring students to use Single Sign-On (SSO) systems tied to institutional accounts for accessing Moodle.
Protect course materials with passwords or restrict access to specific IP addresses or timeframes to prevent unauthorized access.
Activity Logs and Tracking
Moodle tracks user activity, including when students log in, access course materials, submit assignments, and take quizzes. Unusual or suspicious patterns of activity can be flagged for further investigation.
Update course materials, quizzes, and assignments regularly to reduce the effectiveness of sharing answers from previous years.
Furthermore, there are external tools you can use to take security one step further and bulletproof your courses.
Use Plagiarism Scanners
One of the common methods of cheating in school is plagiarism, which is using other people’s ideas and content as if they are yours.
If you have access to plagiarism detection tools like SafeAssign or Turnitin, you can integrate them with Moodle. These tools check submitted work for plagiarism and provide similarity reports. By scanning your students’ work against millions of other published work, you can best ensure it is original.
While Moodle itself doesn’t provide proctoring features, you can integrate third-party proctoring tools like ProctorU, Examity, or Proctorio. These tools can monitor students during online exams, including webcam and microphone monitoring, screen sharing prevention, and identity verification.
Below we’ll take a look at some popular proctoring tools you can use for your online courses:
ProctorU allows you to monitor your students through multiple features. It provides a secure browser that locks down the testing environment, preventing students from accessing external resources.
Plus, students are required to verify their identity using government-issued ID and are proctored in real-time through webcam and microphone feeds. Sessions are typically recorded and can be reviewed later if necessary.
Examity is another online proctoring solution that offers similar features.
Live Proctors: Like ProctorU, Examity provides live proctoring services with real-time monitoring. Examity also employs AI algorithms to flag suspicious behavior. This way, course creators can choose from various levels of proctoring, from fully live proctoring to automated proctoring with AI based on their needs.
Proctorio is a proctoring tool designed for integration with various LMS platforms, including Moodle. It offers automated proctoring features that include webcam monitoring, screen recording, and identity verification. It also provides video recordings of proctoring sessions that instructors can review if they suspect cheating.
Keep in mind that no single solution can completely eliminate cheating, and it’s essential to strike a balance between preventing cheating and maintaining a positive learning experience. Moreover, it’s crucial to consider ethical and privacy concerns when implementing monitoring and proctoring tools. Students should be informed about the data collected and how it will be used.
Ultimately, the effectiveness of cheating prevention measures in Moodle courses depends on the combination of strategies, tools, and the commitment of instructors and institutions to uphold academic integrity.