Can Learning Management Systems Detect Cheating?

Learning Management Systems are a central software for educational purposes. There are various ones which each have their own capabilities and most learning management systems have built in cheating detection systems or make use of integrated proctor software.

The majority of Learning Management Systems are able to detect cheating through built in systems and integrated software. Different methods to detect cheating involve keystroke software, biometric identification and browser lockdown methods.

The majority of institutions makes use of Learning Management systems in order to integrate course material, centralize course material and students are able to upload and take assessments on their assessments. These systems have integrated cheating detection systems.

What Learning Management Systems are Available?

There are various Learning Management Systems available. Learning institutions make use of these systems as a central database for students to access assignments, their grades, submit assignments and access course material. Many systems integrate multiple apps such as an email application, and a file storage system.

Examples of Learning Management Systems include Blackboard, Moodle, EduMe, BrainCert among others. They emerged to support e-Learning and better the student experience altogether.

Blackboard enables students to easily communicate with their lecturers, and with other students. It makes use of Safe Assign, proctored exams, Lockdown browsers and other monitoring tools in order to ensure that students complete their own work with integrity and follow their institutions policies. Proctored exams are completed in monitored video conferencing sessions or with the use of proctoring software to monitor students during their assessments.

Moodle however does not have as many built in cheating detection systems but it can detect plagiarism through integrated platforms such as Turnitin. In some instances Moodle makes use of proctor software to take photos of students every 30 minutes while they write their assessments in a live session – but students need to give permission for the software to access their devices.

Other Learning Management Systems such as BrainCert include built in proctoring software that cloud based encrypted software that allows for video conferencing in order for instructors to invigilate live assessments.

What Proctor Software Is Used?

There are various options available for proctor software. IP address tracking ensures that students are in the correct location to verify that the student is completing their own assessment. Biometric verification is able to detect a students distinguishing features such as their face or fingerprints.

An extremely effective proctor software is the Lockdown Browser software. It is integrated into Learning Management Systems and students are required to give it permission to take control of their device temporarily.

While the Lockdown Browser software is activated it tracks if a student leaves their assessment to open another browser or tab and alerts the instructor. Further it can even prevent the student from leaving the browser where their assessment is open during the time that the assessment is being taken.

360 degree camera’s and live video conferencing sessions while students complete their assessment allow instructors to ensure that there is no body else assisting the student while they complete their work.

During a live video conferencing session instructors will be able to hear if there are any disruptions in the students environment, they can monitor students to ensure they do not cheat by looking through their course notes and further that they do not research further unauthorized information on their devices during an assessment.

How Do Learning Management Systems Detect Cheating?

Learning Management Systems are able to detect cheating in various forms for different types of assessments. In timed quizzes or assessments, Learning Management Systems can detect if a student takes abnormally long to answer a question and may raise a red flag that they could have searched for the answer. In some instances the assessment may lock you out of completing it if your screen is dormant for too long.

Alternatively in live assessments that are being completed in an open browser on the Learning Management System, it may be able to detect if you change between tabs and browsers to search for answers.

How Can Instructors Deter Cheating?

Instructors can deter cheating by creating assessments that have a mixture of subjective and objective questions which will require students to have an understanding of the topic. The same questions can also be asked in different forms to ensure that students do understand the content of their course.

By varying quiz questions and applying a random generator to assign students different questions it will make it difficult for students to screenshot questions and their answers and distribute this.

Students often cheat when they feel they do not completely understand their course material and in order to avoid this instructors should regularly check in with their students and their progress. When students feel comfortable and confident they are more likely to excel in their course.

Creating an interesting and captivating course will encourage students to confidently learn and participate within it. This results in less instances of cheating as students are excited to participate in the course and feel confident that they know the work.

Strict policies can also help deter cheating as students are aware that if they are caught cheating they can permanently be excluded from learning institutions.

Pros and Cons of Proctor Software and Other Cheating Detection Systems?

Proctor software is an incredible tool and in many ways it has the ability to assist instructors in detecting cheating far easier than in a physical environment. It enables instructors to monitor multiple students at a time simultaneously. It can encourage students to be more productive as they are aware that they are being monitored and it further encourages integrity within their work.

Other cheating detection systems such as plagiarism detection tools automatically compare students assessments to work on the internet as well as to other students submitted work and can flag sections that are too similar to related content.

Cheating detection systems ensure that students remain on the correct path and keep an institutions integrity and reputation in tact as it is vital that students receive a good education. Proctor software is simple to integrate into Learning Management Systems and simplifies an instructors process.

However proctor software may not be as efficient as not ever student has access to devices that have the capacity to run proctor software. For example in many instances live assessments would require a student to have access to a working video conferencing camera and mic.

Other deterrents could be students concerns regarding their privacy. Students have to allow proctor software onto their devices and give the software access to track their activity during live assessments, therefore students can decline to make use of these software’s.

In addition to these concerns, it may be costly for smaller institutions to buy and install proctor software onto their students devices.

Plagiarism software may not always be accurate as it may pick up similarities between submitted students works in subjects where it may be difficult to avoid using the same formula’s or wording – for example chemistry, maths and accounting.

In Conclusion

Each Learning Management System has different capabilities to detect cheating and monitor students activities. Almost all Learning Management Systems are able to detect cheating, and with increased software development it is easier for instructors to automatically detect plagiarism.

With integrated plagiarism detection systems such as Turnitin, Learning Management Systems may even reject work that has too many similarities within it and flag it for the instructor.

Cheating detection systems enable instructors to detect more misconduct than they could monitor in physical assessment sittings as they can monitor multiple students simultaneously and proctor software flags concerns for them.

There are a large selection of proctoring software’s that institutions can choose from. Biometric confirmation software assists institutions by ensuring the correct student is completing their assessments by verifying their identity with their facial features, fingerprints or even more advanced software is able to detect a students iris’.

Browser Lockdown software monitors students activities while it is active and while they complete an assessment. It monitors if a student leaves the designated browser or tab that they were completing their assignment in, and in some instances it can block students access to unauthorized material.

Instructors can deter cheating by creating assessments that contain both subjective and objective questions and also by asking questions in different forms to ensure that a student has knowledge on the course.

If student feels confident and enjoys the course they are less likely to cheat as they understand the course and work they are completing. Along with this, if there are strict policies in place students will be deterred from cheating as they don’t want to risk being excluded from their institutions.

Ultimately Learning Management Systems have been developed to detect cheating and plagiarism to ensure the integrity of the students work and the institution are in tact. With advancing software they are becoming more accurate at detecting misconduct.

Glen Brown

I am a Technical Trainer and Manager with over 20 years experience in IT, Education and Business. I have multiple qualifications on each topic including post graduate qualifications. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and using technology to do this. If you would like to know more about me please see the about page of the website.

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