Online Test Takers To Have Their Every Move Watched By Special Webcams

from the we're-watching-you.... dept

For years now, there have been questions about the increase in high-tech cheating among students. One solution, of course, is to change the way students are measured, recognizing that collaboration is important so that working together and using additional sources is encouraged (you know, like in the real world). However, there still can be times where a good old fashioned test might make sense -- and that gets even more difficult when you're dealing with an online only school trying to give an online exam. A few years ago we discussed one school that was testing the use of a webcam system to take regular snapshots of the student while they took the test. It appears that just that type of technology is becoming increasingly popular for online test taking, with some believing it's more effective at preventing cheating than traditional proctored exams. The new camera system records a 360 degree view (to make sure there's no one behind the camera helping out), records all audio as well and even requires a fingerprint to make sure you're really who you say you are. It also has some method for alerting monitors to suspicious activity (such as if someone starts getting a bunch of questions right soon after taking a phone call). All in all, it sounds pretty thorough -- though, we're sure someone will figure out an effective way around it before too long. In the meantime, some are suggesting that such a system is too invasive -- but as long as the test-taker knows what he or she is getting into, it's hard to see how that's a problem.
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  • identicon
    KR, 20 Jun 2007 @ 11:57am

    nuclear arms race for test cheating

    Since the dawn of time, there have been test cheats and those trying to stop them from cheating. Mirrors, photocopy machines, mobile phones, etc. are technologies that have ushered in new cheating innovations.

    The idea of a 360 camera system seems pretty difficult to beat. The privacy concerns and the cost and maintenance for such systems will likely limit the adoption of these cheat prevention systems.

    Much of the time, grades are based on how well the class as a whole performs. In classes where cheating is rampant, the grades in general will be higher. Since there is typically a grading curve, mostly the stronger students will still come out on top. However, if the test is really difficult and cheating is easy, a better student may be penalized against the curve. Being the one clean cyclist in the Tour de France, or trying to catch up to a Roger Clemons fastball will put this player at a disadvantage.

    Where was I going with this? Cheating - no bueno. Roids - no bueno.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      cheater, 20 Jun 2007 @ 12:09pm

      put whatever you need under the table... sit slightly farther back from the keyboard, and when you look down at your notes, it looks just like you are looking down at the keyboard.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2007 @ 12:08pm

    VNC combined with dual-screen can beat this EASILY

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Too Easy, 20 Jun 2007 @ 12:17pm

    In graduate school we had many online tests. Everyone cheated quite easily by having digial copies of the notes for the course on the computer, side by side with the test. Then just doing keyword searches regarding the questions to find the answer. In the case of webcams this method would never be detected as the cams wouldn't record whats on the screen. If the tests were in class on our laptops we would just minimize the the window when the professor walked around, not that they cared as they realized it was impossible to stop. Thus in most classes, quizzes/tests were just a small part of the grade as the professors realized their were better methods to grade us then memorization.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Casper, 20 Jun 2007 @ 12:57pm

    I doubt it's the technology...

    The tech might be cool, but it's probably the fear of being watched by an all seeing eye that never blinks, that keeps kids from cheating. In reality even that can not tell if someone is really cheating, stretching, etc. The person watching would have to be paying enough attention to tell the difference, and they are easily distracted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 20 Jun 2007 @ 1:33pm

    Build a better trap...

    and mouse will only get smarter. Remote access, hiding your notes uder a table, and whatever VNC is. This 360 camera idea is still fairly new and people are already thinking of counter measures. The only really way to stop is the same as stopping pepole from illegal downloads, make it so its not worth the effort. Offer the legit music at a such a low rate (and make it useful) that it would not be worth the hassle to download it. Make test scores count for so little of the overall grade that it would not be worth it to cheap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Intruder, 20 Jun 2007 @ 1:48pm

    de-grading

    So you'd rather be graded on how well the teacher/professor liked you - instead of your proficiency in the subject - sounds subjective to me...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe, 20 Jun 2007 @ 2:03pm

    360 view. That sounds like an amazing camera. Does it spin around or are there multiple cameras inside?

    All the online tests I have ever taken always involved a time limit and you could use your notes, book, etc. And the questions were different each time you took the test.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TheDock22, 20 Jun 2007 @ 3:03pm

    Like the real world cares...

    Cheat all you want in my opinion, you are really only hurting yourself in the process.

    When you get into the real world many jobs these days are requiring proficiency test to prove you know what you claim you do. If you fail, you don't get the job. If you weasel by that you can still be fired for not knowing what you should.

    So go ahead and cheat, who knows? Maybe the things you cheated on will never come up again in your life. Then again...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BTR1701, 21 Jun 2007 @ 3:10am

    360 Camera

    It's just a standard web cam but it points at a mirrored ball that gives a 360-degree reflection of the room.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Reel, 26 Jun 2007 @ 8:41am

    Quit with your God Complex

    These proposed methods for preventing cheating are rediculous. Cheaters will be clever enough to get around this. I don't cheat, and I went to school the old-fashioned way (with the exception of one online class), but I would not take an online class if it had all of these technological requirements and if there was an overall feeling of distrust involved. I don't want people watching over me like. These people with God complexes need to quit! It will never work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    joblo, 9 Jul 2007 @ 12:50pm

    lol whatever. I cheat in my online classes all the time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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