Some new students assume that when it’s time for that mid-term exam in an online degree course, it’s probably going to be a lot easier to cheat – maybe just a little – to bump up their test scores. After all, in e-learning, the professor can’t see you, right?
Not necessarily. As distance learning has grown and matured, schools have gotten smarter about every aspect of the online class experience – including tests and quizzes. As a result, nowadays it’s tougher than you might expect to improve your grades by using notes or trying to look for answers on the internet while a test is going on.
Open Book Tests, Time Limits & More
One way online teachers can keep you honest is by giving classic open-book style tests, with questions that test higher-level thinking and reasoning skills rather than simple factual questions. Be careful with these kinds of tests. Because students often don’t take them seriously and don’t prepare for them well, scores on open book tests are very often lower than on tests requiring simple memorization.
Another basic approach used on tests given in synchronous fashion (where all students are online taking the test at the same time) is to simply set a strict time limit for giving answers. Professors will often give just 90 seconds for you to answer a question, making it pretty tough to go looking around for something you don’t know.
Version After Version
Thing you can email another student in the class and find out what the answer is to question number 3? It won’t work if your online professor is smart enough to create a few different versions of the test. The selection that’s right for someone else on a multiple choice question may be wrong in the version of the quiz you’re taking.
Last but not least, technology is being used against cheating in the more sophisticated online colleges and universities. New programs running the school portals where online tests are given prohibit students from printing, copying and pasting anything, clicking back to previous parts of the course or even surfing the web or school search engines while the test is being given.
As online learning gets more grown up, college university programs aren’t just getting better at keeping students interested in the course work. They’re also getting a lot more skilled at keeping them honest.