Your Cheatin’ Heart

May 22, 2007

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. —

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