How to Prevent Cheating in Online Courses

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larryc:
How do we prevent cheating in online courses? There is another thread that is active right now, asking about the incidence of cheating online. But how do we head it off in the first place? How can cheating in online courses be minimized and prevented?

Here is what I wrote on the other thread:

Much of the cheating in online courses happens when you try to use the same assignments as you would in the classroom. My online courses have frequent, low-stakes quizzes but no big tests. Quizzes are open book (everything in an online course should be open book or proctored--otherwise you are rewarding cheaters). The quizzes are also timed and fairly difficult--there is no way you could index surf or google the answers before time runs out. Also the quiz questions are randomly drawn from a test bank, so everyone gets a different quiz.

I also give a lot of writing assignments with very specific prompts -- "Contrast the way that primary source one, primary source two, and primary source three responded to historical event X. What previous experiences was each drawing on? What methods did each use to state the case? And in hindsight, which was correct in their strategy?" Find a Wikipedia article on that.

I also give a proctored final, worth about a third of the final grade. The final is actually not all that tough, but if the final grade is at considerable variance with the other grades it can trigger an "audit" such as Clean mentions. I think I only ever did that once, and ended up apologizing to the student who was a nervous test taker but obviously know his stuff.

How about you guys--what do you do to discourage online cheating?

marigolds:
These are great, Larry! Bookmarking for further wisdom.

prytania3:
How can you even tell if the person signed up for the course is the one dung the assignments?

Maybe I'll start a business--taking online classes for people.

larryc:
Quote from: prytania3 on September 12, 2012,  9:10:17 PM

How can you even tell if the person signed up for the course is the one dung the assignments?

Maybe I'll start a business--taking online classes for people.


Who has that good a friend? To get through my intro class you need to take 15 really tough quizzes, each available for 48 hours a week apart, write three, 5-7 page papers responding to very specific readings, and a proctored final. Even a history PhD would have to put in some work. How much would you charge?

chaosbydesign:
Quote from: larryc on September 12, 2012, 11:38:16 PM

Quote from: prytania3 on September 12, 2012,  9:10:17 PM

How can you even tell if the person signed up for the course is the one dung the assignments?

Maybe I'll start a business--taking online classes for people.


Who has that good a friend? To get through my intro class you need to take 15 really tough quizzes, each available for 48 hours a week apart, write three, 5-7 page papers responding to very specific readings, and a proctored final. Even a history PhD would have to put in some work. How much would you charge?


You'd be surprised. I wrote better essays for my 'friend' than I did for myself at the start of undergrad. It drove me nuts because she'd tell people, in front of me, how well she was doing in coursework etc. even though she wasn't doing any of it. She was a dangerous narcissist -- they don't need 'good' friends, they just need people they can manipulate (which won't be me next time!).

A business taking online classes for people would be something else, though. I'd be tempted to word the agreement in such a way that passing the class wasn't guaranteed then deliberately screw it up -- the students couldn't complain without admitting that they cheated.

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