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Your Cheatin’ Heart

One of the big questions that dog the credibility of distance education is whether students are cheating on exams. Professors do not see the students and often cannot verify who is taking the tests.

Colleges have dealt with this issue through various methods, including requiring students to take proctored exams at a local college or church, or even using biometrics to electronically verify students are who they say they are.

A company called Software Secure announced a new product today that combines several security features to help ensure that students in online courses don’t cheat on tests. It’s a device that plugs into the test taker’s computer and requires the student to provide fingerprint verification before the test can begin. During the exam, the device also uses 360-degree video and audio recording to make sure nobody is helping the student. A professor can monitor the exam process from afar to make sure the test taker isn’t taking too many bathroom breaks as well.

Some colleges that have worked with the company say they plan to require online students to use the product in hopes of providing the same standards of accountability that are found inside a live classroom. —Dan Carnevale

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