How to prevent and eliminate plagiarism and cheating?

Isn’t cheating and plagiarism a huge concern in MOOCs?  Yes, as highlighted by Siemens (p6) here and McEachern in MOOC post here.

Cheating and plagiarism is rather common in online education, and in particular MOOCs.  Surprised?

One professor doesn’t want to give out the correct answer in MOOCs – in this post of “one-mooc-professor-wont-let-students-know-right-answers”.  The intention might be to minimize cheating in MOOCs.

How to prevent cheating and plagiarism?

Her is a nice post with videos on plagiarism and cheating.

It takes time & efforts to develop good assessment tools and questions (MC) in the same domain of known knowledge. There is a “threshold” limit where one could exhaust all questions on certain topic, unless you open up new topics. Cheating is still a challenge as students could appear as multiple “candidates”, and could share answers once they are known in multiple forms (emails), and even websites/social networks that are closed. The timed tests (MC) may be one way to control, but again, if multiple tries are allowed, one could “improve” upon time, and candidates could merely copy all the questions and answers and “resell” to others who want to know these. I am not an expert in cheating, but from observing and experience, we know that there are many tricks that could be used.

The most effective way to prevent students cheating is NOT to use Multiple Choice, or even Peer assessment as the sole means of assessment in MOOCs. But this would include more stringent assessment requirements, and may drive more students away, as this could mean that only LEARNING remains, without much “assessment” by the MOOCs. The assessment would then be done by taking “real tests, assessment or examinations, portfolios, and participating in Forum etc.” like what the first cMOOCs are required. This may not be the perfect way to prevent cheating and plagiarism, but at least, this would deter those who want to get the qualifications easily by ensuring that they work with authentic tasks, and produce original work. I seldom see students able to cheat that easily with customized and personalized learning tasks, and assessments.

What are you experiences on this area?


#CFHE12 #Oped12 A reflection of MOOCs Part 4:The number one challenge in education – Cheating

I was appalled by what this post tells us about – stories of cheating.  Test taking by others is a cheating scandal that would damage education’s reputation.

Cheating in research is also on the rise.

In this post on MOOC cheating:

Frankly, why anyone who do this in a course that focuses on learning and offers no credentials, beats me. Students who cheat are really cheating themselves. If you are sure an answer is plagiarized from somewhere else (often easy to determine with a quick web search), you could simply award 1′s everywhere, which amounts to a score of 0.

Cheating could be the number one biggest problem for MOOCs as I have shared in my posts here and here.

I reckon there aren’t many formal researches (at or above PhD level) done on this cheating and plagiarism as yet, as it could be both sensitive and overly “destructive” for educators and institutions to realize.

However, if this cheating is allowed in MOOCs, then how could we be confident in giving credits to those who have done the MOOCs?

Isn’t cheating and plagiarism a WICKED PROBLEM?  No one likes it, but we don’t know how to handle it, when it is not easily and fully under the control of the MOOCs providers.  Jenny once said that educational change is a wicked problem.  I have also shared my views on those wicked problems.

What do you think about cheating and plagiarism?

What are some of your suggestions and solutions to these problems?

Postscript: A good reference paper here.

Another good research reference paper here.

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.


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.