Online teaching: Do you know who is taking the final exam?
Qinghai Gao Department of Criminal Justice & Security Systems, Farmingdale State College Abstract: In recent years Distance Learning has been steadily gaining popularity. More and more courses are being taught online. However, one question remains for those who teach online courses: who is doing the real course work? In this paper we will briefly survey the commonly used methods to prevent students from e-cheating, attempt to answer the question whether present technology has made it possible to completely eliminate student dishonesty in Distance Learning. In particular we look at how biometrics as identification tools can be applied to achieve this goal. The main purpose of the paper is to ask college educators and policy makers to rethink the credibility and quality of modern college education which could be endangered by issuing college degrees to the students who never really took the required courses. Introduction As the Internet usage becomes an indispensable part of our daily routine and everything goes online, Distance Learning has been steadily gaining popularity. A significant portion of the students take online courses. To meet this needs and to attract remote students many colleges and universities now offer online courses as replacements or as supplements to the traditional classroom based face-to-face courses. However, one question remains for those who teach online courses: who is doing the real course work? Especially when it comes to e-exams, online teaching makes it extremely difficult to deal with one serious problem: student dishonesty . To solve the problem many scholars  have proposed different methods, such as: ●Design open-book exams ●Use discussions, essay, and other written projects; reduce the percentage of exams ●Use a large pool of questions to randomly generate exams for each student ●Require students to take exams on site In order to reduce the possibility of e-cheating in our college, which uses Angel as the online teaching tools, we utilize the following measures to minimize the chance of e-cheating: ●Divide a typical course into a number of modules. Inside each module we set up a discussion forum to require every student to submit his or her opinion for an issue and respond to a minimum of three submissions from others. ●Set up quizzes and exams consisting of a set of randomly selected questions from a large question pool so each student will have a different exam/test. For the multiple choice questions
Fall 2010 Mid-Atlantic ASEE Conference, October 15-16, 2010, Villanova University
the answer choices of a question are randomized also for different students. The questions are also given one at a time. ●Set up the time restriction. Once an exam/test is started it has to be finished within the specified time frame. And students are given only one chance to attempt it. ●Compare the IP addresses to see if two students are in the vicinity of each other. Make use of plagiarism detection tool Turnitin and search engine to check some questions for possible dishonesty. To date the majority of colleges and universities use these methods. However, these measures are not enough to prevent e-cheating since the traditional password-based system is inadequate to successfully authenticate students remotely. For example, a student can give his or her account information to a person and let that person take the exam for him/her. One proposed solution to the problem is to use biometrics. We believe that the recent developments of biometrics have made it a viable technology to prevent e-cheating. With this paper we will look at the state of the arts of the solution. The rest of the paper is organized as the following. Section 2 will first introduce how biometrics system works and then describe a few commonly used biometrics. Section 3 briefly surveys the literature proposals on using biometrics to authenticate students for e-exams....
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