How Online Education Destroyed Fair Exams

Recent developments in education changed our understanding of studying. Pandemic led to a quick switch to distance learning, and the exam session has become completely different from what students were used to. Why? Passing tests online provides certain opportunities for cheating.

But for those willing to improve their grades, remote work in the safety of their homes became a saving. After all, it’s much easier and less stressful to pass difficult subjects in the comfort of your own room. A classroom full of strict teachers is not always a conducive environment. 

So, we’ve decided to analyze how relevant the problem of cheating online is and whether distance exams are turning into a complete lie.

How Online Education Destroyed Fair Exams

The Most Common Cheating Techniques

On the one hand, the transfer to e-learning has made the life of many students much more complicated, leaving them less free time. The number of homework assignments has undoubtedly increased. As learners claim, they deal with much material on their own. Surely, it’s a problem for those used to studying under the guidance of a teacher. Learners who are productive when learning in a group of friends suffered as well. Thus, students started asking themselves: «Can someone write a paper for me?» when the workload became too much for them. Luckily, experienced writers can help one complete an assignment on any subject, any time. As a result, a student’s academic performance improves while the stress level lowers.

At the same time, distance learning has offered one advantage for those unwilling to study—which is room for cheating. Many admit that finding an answer on an exam is no longer a problem thanks to various tools. Let’s be honest: we all have more than one gadget at home, be it a laptop, tablet, or a second phone. So, once students put their screen out of the teacher’s sight, they can google any topic.

Of course, there’s also a rather traditional method—printing out cards with clues or writing them by hand. Students either stick them on the wall or lay them out in front of a laptop. Such online cheating isn’t easy to prove, as the only thing left to professors is tracking strange eye movements.

Moreover, there are other ways allowing learners to get a better mark without being caught:

  • An earbud/invisible headset. This method also requires having an assistant who starts looking for answers immediately. Once the information is found, the helper dictates it to the student;
  • A ready-made file. Once one opens a doc with necessary data, they begin searching for the topics needed;
  • Leaving the room. This is the riskiest method, as not many teachers will allow one to go the bathroom or elsewhere in the middle of an exam;
  • Troubles with laptop lid. Students place the device in such a way that the camera shows their face and chest only, but not their arms. This technique allows hiding the fact that learners are typing something in the search engine. Moreover, if the professor starts asking questions, there’s a great excuse to use—the laptop’s lid is old that it can’t be put in the proper position;
  • Special glasses. This technique is surely not about sunglasses. Translucent lenses come in handy as the laptop’s glare is reflected in such glasses, thus, teachers can’t simply track where the students are looking.

In fact, most educators are aware of the ways mentioned above. Therefore, they came up with solutions, allowing them to fight against cheating. One is a tight time frame. Teachers are increasingly shortening the exam duration and their motivation is simple. The less time students have to complete assignments, the less time they have to look for answers elsewhere.

How to Catch Cheaters?

Teachers and proctors have their own instruments to identify dishonest students. For example, regular lowering eyes seem suspicious since learners often leave cards on the desk. At the same time, students learned not to hold their eyes at one point for a long time.

As for more serious ways to find cheaters, there are several of them:

  • Showing the students workplace before an exam;
  • Identity verification;
  • Prohibition to mute sound and video;
  • Prohibition to leave the premises.

As For The Thesis Defense…

Of course, the educators’ main task is to evaluate the knowledge acquired by students, and that’s way easier to do when the defense is carried out by videoconference. First, students are asked to position the camera so that they can be seen. Surely, they are watched by the committee members. Second, additional questions and clarifications are of great importance. However, teachers often complain about the low image quality—and because of that, they can’t see students’ mimics and gestures.

For some learners, such a defense is more comfortable from a psychological point of view. After all, they are less nervous when at home. And to find enough time for defense preparation, one can always turn to a paper writing platform and make sure no tasks distract them from getting ready. First, only knowing that all the papers will be completed before the deadline, can make the student fully focus on what matters—the exam. Second, let’s admit it, thesis preparation requires lots of energy and attention. As a result, students are so exhausted that they barely have the efficiency for simple things, not to mention homework.

How Online Education Destroyed Fair Exams

Can Proctoring Software Save the Day?

And while we are not completely disappointed in online learning, there is some news from the software world. A special tool allows universities to conduct fair exams, and that is automatic proctoring. Such a service works through a browser. First, the system checks the user’s camera, microphone, and desktop to see if the screen is being recorded. Then, it identifies the student using a face recognition system.

During the exam, the program monitors the face and eyes of the learner. Also, all data is recorded, as the system registers everything that breaks the established rules. Of course, this is a lot of stress for students, but how else can colleges check their integrity? Such serious measures mean one thing—students must fairly prepare for exams. And that’s when time management comes first. Everything from finding an author to write my research paper on to studying additional literature should be carefully planned. It is a good organization that plays a key role in any business, especially when it comes to exams.

To Sum It Up

The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the educational systems around the world. The absence of a teacher has opened up tremendous opportunities for cheating and other tricks to use in case of poor training.

On the other hand, some student techniques seem to be timeless and teachers are great at recognizing them. Moreover, modern software leaves less room for cheating, and we’re already wondering how e-learning will change over time.

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