In most areas, COVID-19 is now treated as the common flu.
People are no longer required to wear face masks outdoors and even indoors. International borders have opened up and travel is back. Offices have begun adopting hybrid setups. Leisure activities are back in operation.
While the effects of COVID-19 will always be felt in one way or another, or as they say, we'll never really go back to pre-pandemic times, it's such a relief to see that life is finally back on the streets. Schools have even already opened up their doors to students again for face-to-face classes.
But let's be honest. There will still be times when teachers would still have to give online exams or quizzes to their students. This online type of giving exam is quite challenging, especially since it's so easy to get answers from the Internet, someone helping in the background, or an exam leak spreading among classmates and different sections.
What can be the challenges? There's no safety net of a physically present proctor. It's much easier to cheat without getting caught. And it normalizes a culture of cheating among the students which defeat the goals of an educational institution to inculcate integrity and excellence.
With that said, teachers are free to use tools that will make it much harder for students to cheat for an exam without them getting caught. It might of course need extra effort in the part of the teacher or proctor but what's important is the students know that cheating is never tolerated and getting caught will mean grave punishment.
We list down below some actions to take so that students consider cheating less and that teachers may employ the right system in order for no one to be positioned to cheat.
Follow these tips with due responsibility.
Identify the primary causes of student cheating.
Most frequently, a person's lack of confidence, intense pressure to perform, and/or studying in a setting that encourages academic dishonesty are what lead to cheating. Build confidence by just doing a good job of instruction. Engage the class by talking to the pupils. Insist on the camera being on the entire class. The host can now only see a chat member's camera thanks to a feature in Zoom. Offer exercises that will hold the class's attention and activate their brains. The likelihood that your pupils will even consider cheating will be reduced if they see that you are doing your best to instruct them in the online environment.
Create a classroom where students are rewarded for learning rather than for receiving high grades. Remind them from the start that passing by cheating means they will miss out on important lessons they could havelearned had they studied honestly and the proper way, as this will benefit them in the future.
Use the proctoring resources available online.
Make arrangements with the administration of your school to set up a proctoring system. Online, there are several tools that may be used to verify a test taker's identity, warn when no one or several persons are discovered, alert when there are many open tabs, screen recod, set time limitations for answering questions, prevent mobile phones, and many other things. Providers of proctoring software that come highly recommended include Mercer, ExamOnline, Examus, ProctorExam, and SpeedExam.
At the beginning of the semester, create an academic honesty contract that students must sign in accordance with university standards.
Get familiar with the cheating policies at your institution first. Ensure that your students will be furnished a copy and are familiar with them. Make a promise, a song, or a film that uses creativity to warn kids of the repercussions of breaking the law. Play the video, have belt out a song, or have them say the vow before the exam to help them understand why cheating is unacceptable.
The questions that need critical thought should be prepared and varied.
Neither true or false statements nor multiple choice questions should be used. Make sure the pupils exert the mental effort necessary to differentiate their answers from their other classmates. Give each group in the class a different test after dividing the class into groups. If you are teaching a class where students are from several nations, have them take the test in various time zones.
Implement measures to prevent students from utilizing the internet to look up answers while taking the test.
Google includes proctoring tools as well as tools that can determine if there are a lot of open tabs. There are quiz types that only show one question at a time, provides a time limit for answering, disallows going back to a question that you already answered, etc.
Never provide students with a copy of the entire exam after the test day and avoid releasing scores right afterwards.
Refuse to provide students with a copy of the entire test after testing; just disclose the questions that they got wrong; and only reveal results after all of your classes in the same course or subject have taken the exam.
In order to keep classes that will take the exam at a later time from feeling additional strain, this is done.
Never permit taking the entire exam again.
If a student misses the test date, demand valid justification for their inability to take the test. Make sure the student(s) are taking a different test than you are.
Although we never support cheating, it's important to keep in mind that everyone working in the education industry is having a difficult time right now. Be gentle with yourself and your students. We're still adjusting, and we'll keep switching gears until the online environment can foster and sustain a love of learning while also fostering integrity in the classroom.
In an ideal world, students and teachers alike should be incentivized for continuing their studies at such a difficult time. They'll feel a lot of relief if they use ergonomic furniture in their workspace. It will help them stay focused and alert in their classes. It will help them remember facts and details needed to ace their exams. Invest in your education and all the tools that make it much more fulfilling to study.