Online learning has become all the rage recently. Schools have been caught unprepared for this sudden shift to online caused by Covid-19.
Although the style of online classes is different from that of the traditional classroom, some of its practices have found their way into the online world. And not all these practices are of the good kind.
Cheating in class is not an uncommon event in the traditional classroom. It therefore comes as no surprise that the habit is also present in online classes. But just as cheaters get caught in class, you can also get caught if you’re cheating online.
But while it’s easier to cheat in online classes it is also easier to be wrongly accused of cheating.
How students cheat in online classes
Students have learned to grow with the times. As such, various ways to cheat in online tests have developed over time.
#1. Mobile Phones
Students could use their mobile phones to use online resources like Chegg and Google to search for the answers on the internet, and assist other test-takers by sending answers to test questions as well as store answers. The invention of the incognito mode feature also helps the cheater avoid the risk of discovery when browsing for answers.
#2. Screen sharing software
When a student is given an exam from remote locations, the student can use numerous monitors to enable another person to access the exam questions at the same time. This other person can then provide answers to the questions.
Online examinations may generally not have supervisors. A student can, therefore, decide to have another person take the test on their behalf.
#4. Electronic Gadgets
People have begun creating high-tech devices that can be used to cheat in online tests. These devices include:
- Calculators that can save formulas and other information
- Micro earpieces
- Spy eyeglasses
- Undetectable smartwatches
#5. Auto-Coding Software
Some students use auto-coding software that enables them to pass programming exams without writing a single line of code.
Systems that have been put in place to monitor online cheating
Schools have desperately turned to numerous systems for combatting online cheating. But all of these systems have their flaws and many make false accusations against students more likely to happen.
Some of these systems include:
#1. Online ID authentication
If the school is using this system, you will be asked to take a picture of yourself and your ID and send it across. This happens once you click on the exam link. But this does nothing to really protect against actual impersonation as no one is going to ask someone who does not look anything like them to display their picture ID and submit it – on the other hand this system is less likely to result in false accusations.
#2. Secure Exam Browser
This browser allows the school to define the apps and sites that are allowed before the exam. As such, if you try using another program that is not permitted by the browser, the system automatically shuts down.
This means you can’t search for answers online or use screen sharing software. But students get accused of cheating even when using these systems because their professors or schools may simply find their answers suspiciously similar to other student answers or too “good” for the student’s ability.
The proctoring software verifies your identity and monitors your behavior before and during the exam using audio and video recording. The live webcam proctors will also monitor you to see if you look at notes or books. This system means that you’ll get caught if someone else tries to take the test for you. But it also means that looking away from the webcam or background voices or noises can cause you to be falsely accused of cheating.
#4. Plagiarism detection software
This software searches the web and identifies if the data is entered by the student comes from anywhere else on the internet. But you could write books about the problems with these systems like Turnitin – let’s just start with one example: You cannot write about the American Revolution without saying it happened in 1776. Turnitin will count that as a “hit” for plagiarism because a few other people have also written that. Enough said for now.
#5. Other mechanisms
There are various other technical mechanisms that schools use to monitor online cheating, including:
- Fingerprint identification
- Iris recognition
- Keystroke recognition devices, and more
Each of these can be implemented depending on the network infrastructure and funding of the school. But none of these protect the student from being falsely accused.
What do I do if I’ve been accused of online cheating?
The consequences of cheating online are just as severe as they are for cheating in the regular classroom. And although it may not look like it, various institutions have put in place different mechanisms to prevent online cheating. If you’ve been accused of online cheating, you need to get in touch with our attorneys at DC Student Defense as soon as possible.
These materials have been prepared by Cohen Seglias for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.