High school / Secondary 2, Required, Technology - Written by on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 13:10 - 0 Comments

Online Educators Employ Technology to Police Virtual Cheaters

photo: flickr user visual.rebellion


by Elbert Chu


Online cheaters: Meet the cheating Terminator. The Securexam Remote Proctor is the sheriff in town. The nine inch Remote Proctor looks like the offspring of an Oscar statue, the Terminator, and a kindergarten tape dispenser. According to the Sloan Consortium, there are over 5.6-million students enrolled in at least one online course (2009), a daunting task to police for the remote proctor and techno-deputies.

photo: courtesy Software Secure

The Remote Proctor watches students and records video of their room, listens to them, locks them in testing software, and requires a fingerprint to start the exam. Any unexpected movements, voices or changes during an exam are automatically flagged for human review later. The Cambridge, Mass.-based Software Secure Inc. sells each unit for around $200, and cost to students depends on school subsidies.

The Remote Proctor integrates with education LMS/CMS like Angel, Blackboard, and Moodle.

Schools like Drexel University, the University of West Alabama, and Troy University have deployed these online exam sentries. Of course, when the course is over, students are stuck with an ugly paperweight. Not only that, some students reported having technical difficulties.

Remote Proctor has some deputies. Though, most of the other options for school administrators are software based, like keystroke fingerprinting. Keystroke fingerprinting identifies and individual patterns in the typing rhythm and pace. U.S. News reporter, Jason Koebler, reports Pace University has a new version of this digital fingerprinting in development in high schools. They also incorporate unique individual syntax:

He hopes that by analyzing a student’s stylometry (syntax and vocabulary) combined with keystroke recognition, he can create a more secure system that will scale back cheating. His system compares a student’s writing style on an exam with a baseline sample, which makes it more difficult for students to cheat, he says.

Koebler also reports not everyone is a fan of these techno-proctors. Teddi Fishman, director of Clemson University’s Center for Academic Integrity:

She says that while these “adversarial” anti-cheating programs might prevent a student from cheating once, it doesn’t teach students why cheating is wrong. “Our time would be better spent trying to help students develop their skills to make well-reasoned, ethical decisions,” Fishman, a former police officer, says. “I know that I want my role in the university to be one [in which] I educate rather than police.”



via U.S. News


WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies has a brief overview for implementation questions.

Campus Technology has some case studies for Remote Proctor (note: The webcasts were “sponsored” by Software Secure).




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