What may be the biggest problem in online course assessment? Cheating and Plagiarism!

What are the issues relating to cheating in online courses?

Cheating goes high tech:

“This is the gamification of education, and students are winning,” the professor told me.

The Shadow Scholars could just be the tip of the icebergs – in cheating.  Copying and plagiarism in online courses are also a concern for educators and education authority.

How to solve these cheating and plagiarism problems?

1. Use of technology and tools –  like face recognition, or other electronic identification, as outlined in this post interview to identify the persons, and tools such as turnitin or playchecker to check on plagiarism.

I have used playchecker in checking my own writings based on plagiarism, and here is the result.

2. Course terms and conditions – checking and monitoring of students’ submission of work based on agreement to terms and conditions, and an honor code.  Coursera and Udacity provide comprehensive terms and conditions of the registration and use of course materials, and submission of work.  This may not exclude students from cheating or plagiarism but could deter any students from cheating with intention in online courses.

3. Human intervention – where professors and instructors would interview the students via virtual conferencing or by referring to third party agents (employers, college or university authority, or authorized local representative) to check on the identity of students.

4. Test and examination centres – where students are required to sit for the tests and examination under surveillance, and monitoring if there are any cheating or plagiarism.  This could be a costly exercise, though worthwhile to prevent and reduce cheating.

Prevention is better than cure.  I think the excellent terms set out in the courses such as Coursera and Udacity would help students in appreciating the importance of integrity and honesty.

Here are the Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education.

Comments?

Postscript: This post on Dozens of Plagiarism Incidents highlights the seriousness of plagiarism.

Another related post.

A post on Plagiarism retrieved on 26 August 2012.

Nice post about cheating.

A post on cheating accessed on 8 Sept 2012.

14 thoughts on “What may be the biggest problem in online course assessment? Cheating and Plagiarism!

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