McKenna Garrison joined the iCEV marketing team in 2022 as the Content Marketing Specialist. Originally from a small town on the Gulf of Mexico, Garrison attended Texas Tech University from which she graduated with a B.A. in Public Relations & Strategic Community and an M.A. in Mass Communication & Media Studies. Garrison looks forward to bringing more of a storytelling element to iCEV social media pages. She also hopes to connect other CTE educators from around the country to the incredible curricula and resources iCEV has to offer.
In any classroom, academic integrity is paramount to student success. It can be incredibly disappointing to discover your students have cheated in your class and now you’re left wondering how to prevent such a thing from happening again.
As a digital curriculum provider, we understand that preventing and detecting cheating, especially in a virtual learning environment, can become a unique challenge that educators face.
In this article, you’ll discover how to prevent cheating in your online course through:
Ways students are attempting to cheat in your course
Tips and strategies for recognizing cheating
Strategies to reduce cheating in the classroom
Tools to prevent students from cheating with digital curriculum
By the end, you’ll walk away with the confidence that you have the knowledge and tools to prevent cheating when using an online curriculum.
How Do Students Cheat with Digital Curriculum?
Unfortunately, as technology has advanced within the classroom, the ways students cheat have also evolved. For example, instead of students passing notes back and forth during an exam, they may now share Google Docs with the answers to a multitude of students between multiple class periods.
Discovering how your students may decide to cheat is one step toward preventing cheating altogether. Students may cheat by:
Sharing answers with other students via screen capture, Google Docs or even texting one another.
Finding answers online from web searches or other third-party resources like Quizlet and Chegg.
Passing off another student’s work as their own.
Editing web-based platforms to alter grades or submitted assignments.
How Students Share Answers
Students can share answers to homework, quizzes, and exams in a multitude of ways. Gone are the days of students passing notes. With modern technology, students are tapping into new tools to share answers in real-time, across multiple class periods to cheat on curriculum.
When students take an exam they can write the questions and answers in a Google Doc, text or even simply take a quick screen capture. By doing so, students are not only able to get the answers from friends who are also in the class, they can even pass along the answers to other students in later classes.
How Students Find Answers Online
When using the internet to take an exam, it can be tempting for students to look up answers to questions that they don’t know. With a quick click of a button, students can easily open a new tab, Google the question and find multiple resources to help them answer questions on the exam.
Additionally, with companies like Quizlet and Chegg, students can easily find similar questions that provide the exact answer they are looking for.
How Students Pass Off Other Students’ Work as Their Own
Students attempting to pass off other students’ work as their own is nothing new to the world of education. However, in an online environment, students have begun to get a bit trickier.
Referring back to students giving each other answers through a Google Doc, students can also share old or previously used documents for a friend or classmate to submit as their own.
Similarly, students will also use screen captures of another student’s assignment as proof of their own work. While this is more commonly used in cases of essays or homework assignments, students can also use a classmate's work on long-form exam questions.
How Students Alter Grades and Assignment Submissions
It’s no secret that students are adapting to the technological advances in the classroom. One of these adaptations is that students have learned how to alter their grades or assignment submissions by changing the code on the website.
While this does not actually alter the grade that was submitted in the platform, students can convince their teacher that there is a technological issue occurring and the grade showing in the teacher’s grade book is not reflective of their actual grade. Typically, this is “proved” by the student showing the teacher what is showing in the student’s grade book.
Tips on How to Recognize Cheating in My Classroom
Once you know how your students could cheat in your class, it becomes easier to recognize when cheating has occurred. While these strategies are not fool-proof, being able to spot cheating can help discourage students from cheating in your courses.
Red flags that could indicate a student is cheating include:
Students have multiple tabs open or switch between browsers during exams.
A submitted screen capture does not include any identifying information.
The answers provided are out of character for the specific student.
A student’s work is extremely similar to another student’s submission.
The grades showing on the student’s end do not match what the platform is showing you.
Strategies to Reduce Cheating in My Class
Understanding how students cheat and how to spot cheating in your classroom only provides a reactive solution to the problem at hand. By implementing strategies to prevent cheating on online curriculum, you can become more proactive in reducing cheating altogether.
Strategies you can implement in your classroom to prevent cheating:
Collaborate with IT to block common third-party websites used for cheating
Utilize anti-cheating tools during online exams and assignments
Review screen captures and other non-traditional submissions
Use different versions of assignments and exams in each class period
Manage access to personal devices during exams
Collaborate with IT
Tapping your school’s IT department is a great first step in preventing cheating in your classroom.
IT can block third-party sites like Quizlet, Chegg and any other sites that frequently provide access to answers on an exam.
Utilize Anti-Cheating Tools
Implementing anti-cheating tools and software can significantly reduce your students’ ability to cheat in your classroom.
Tools and software can include:
Plagiarism detection software
Exam proctoring software
Browser locking software
These tools can keep students from opening additional tabs, prevent copy and pasting functions, and even capture student behavior during exams.
Review Non-Traditional Assignment Submissions
When a student submits an assignment via screen capture or another non-traditional way, it’s paramount that identifying information is present.
During a review, you can require students to have their name, URL, or school ID number, present on any screen captures. This helps to ensure the student submitting the work is the one who completed the assignment.
Implement Multiple Versions of Assignments and Exams
A tried and true way to prevent students from sharing answers to assignments and exams is to change the questions and format per class period or even within a class so that students cannot easily pass answers to one another.
Whether that is some versions are multiple choice while others are long-form responses or even asking entirely different questions on each version, this method can help prevent and reduce cheating in your classroom.
Manage Access to Personal Devices
In addition to utilizing website blockers and anti-cheating tools, another way to prevent students from passing or finding answers is to manage student access to their personal devices.
This could be by implementing a no-device policy in the classroom, taking up personal devices during exam times, or being a diligent proctor during exams.
Tools to Implement in My Classroom to Combat Cheating
Whether the online curriculum platform you use or your school has anti-cheating tools available, it’s always a good idea to consider implementing additional tools to prevent cheating in the classroom.
Depending on your specific needs, one or more of these tools could reduce cheating in your classroom.
What is SafeAssign?
SafeAssign by Blackboard is a plagiarism prevention tool that compares a submitted assignment to academic papers and other existing works to identify any areas of overlap.
When areas of overlap are detected, SafeAssign provides a detailed report reviewing the similarities between the submitted assignment and the existing information. This report allows the teacher to see how much of the student’s assignment was pulled from additional resources and creates the opportunity to not only identify plagiarism but to provide clarity on how to appropriately cite sources.
Respondus removes the browser menu and toolbar options to stop students from looking information up or sharing information through the internet.
Additionally, the lockdown browser also disables students' ability to copy and paste, screen capture, use keyboard shortcuts, and exit the assignment before it is submitted.
What is ProctorU?
ProctorU by Meazure Learning is an online proctoring platform that allows students to take exams online while ensuring the integrity of the exam.
ProctorU upholds academic integrity standards through three options depending on your classroom needs, Record+, Review+, and Live+:
With Record+, your exams can be set to begin at a pre-determined time with the session recorded and reviewed by a certified proctor.
When using Review+, you will have additional access to a live-proctored launch and an incident report once the exam is completed.
Additionally, Live+ provides human validation, active intervention of suspicious behavior during the exam and comprehensive reporting.
With these three options available, you can rest assured that your classroom is a secure testing environment.
How Do I Prevent Cheating in My Classroom?
Discovering cheating in your classroom can be frustrating. When students cheat on assignments and exams, they aren’t mastering the material and won’t have the skills and professional integrity they’ll need in their careers. As an educator, the last thing you want is to feel like your students are not adequately prepared.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help. By staying on top of the latest trends students use to cheat and implementing the tools and strategies in this article, you can help prevent cheating from happening in your classroom and ensure your students are prepared for success.
Do you need more ideas to combat cheating in your classroom or looking for tips for a traditional classroom setting?