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Evaluate your course for cheating opportunities

Some students view the online environment as an opportunity to cheat. Two common issues are:

  1. Impersonation (the person doing the work in the online course is not the person registered for the course);
  2. Assistance (the person taking the course gets assistance from other students or experts, or from unauthorized resources).

So far no one has come up with any fool-proof, low-cost ways to stop cheating in online courses, just as no one has figured out how to stop cheating face-to-face. But you can design your online course in ways that make cheating a lot more difficult.

A great tool for determining how “cheatable” your online course is used to be Jared Stein’s Course Cheatability Check – but unfortunately it’s available online only occasionally (do a search and see what you find). The Course Cheatability Check was a form that assigned a score for certain practices. For example, if you require high-stakes online quizzes but never change or rotate the questions, you make it easier for students to cheat in your online course.

Another great set of strategies to combat online cheating comes from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Although you may not be able to implement all of the items in both lists,¬†we can all do more to make our online courses less “cheatable.”