Can Professors Or Teachers See If You Cheat On Canvas?

Are you using Canvas LMS and want to know what teachers can see? This article will show you just what they can see from some years of experience in online learning.

Professors and teachers can see specific ways you could cheat on Canvas. The platform will note if its tab is switched out or if you are inactive on it for too long. Canvas is also used alongside proctoring, plagiarism detection, or browser lockdown software to prevent cheating.

Although this might seem intimidating to a student, you can still cheat on Canvas without being seen by the professor or teacher. Not only will this article explain how Canvas’ anti-cheating features and associated software works, but we’ll also examine the ways students still get around these restrictions. Read on to find how you can cheat on Canvas and how you can’t.

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The Canvas Quiz Log

The Canvas quiz log is a function of the platform that lets teachers check a student’s progress on the test. It is the primary way that Canvas detects cheating without any external software installed. The quiz log shows a student’s answers for a quiz and the time at which they were answered.

The quiz log alerts the teacher if the Canvas tab is switched out, minimized, or if something on a split-screen is interacted with. As students often cheat by looking up answers on their computers, the quiz log prevents this. It does not, however, stop you from using a split-screen to display answers.

Furthermore, the quiz log will also alert the teacher if the student is inactive on the Canvas tab for too long. Again, this can catch cheating if a student goes inactive on Canvas to search for answers and then rapidly fills them in.

The quiz log also records similarities between tests. As such, if you write your test alongside other students and you all get the same answers correct or incorrect, Canvas will flag this. A teacher who sees this can quickly put two and two together.

Lastly, auditing is also a feature of the Canvas quiz log. However, it is an additional opt-in choice for your teacher. A Canvas employee reviews all the quiz logs for a specific test and can catch suspicious behaviors or patterns that might otherwise go unnoticed.

LINK: Click here to learn more about the Canvas quiz log and its features.

Turnitin Plagiarism Detection

Turnitin is plagiarism detection software that reviews documents submitted to Canvas. It does not review online test answers, though, which can still be plagiarized. The software checks plagiarism by comparing the document’s content to the content of its database.

The Turnitin database is all previously submitted documents, plus all academic books and journals legally available online. Furthermore, Turnitin provides a plagiarism report that is available to see by both the teacher and student.

Otherwise, Turnitin detects if the text has been run through a synonym replacement program or otherwise dishonestly paraphrased. It also alerts the teacher if work has been copy-pasted and shared between multiple students’ assignments.

LINK: Click here to learn more about Turnitin.

Proctoring Software

Proctoring software allows an external person to observe how the student is working on a test. Proctoring software allows Canvas to access a student’s webcam and microphone to check for any suspicious behaviour. It also records the screen of the computer itself.

The data recorded by the software is then sent to a proctoring service for further review. Any evidence of cheating is sent to the teacher. AI is used to detect any discrepancies while they are occurring while human employees examine the footage once the test is completed.

Proctoring records the student, which prevents you from browsing documents on another device or in hardcopy, as well as having anyone else write the test or offer advice. Its effectively as if you were sitting in the classroom taking the test normally.

Because it records the computer screen, proctoring provides another layer of protection against split-screen usage. Even if you have a split-screen enabled and don’t interact with it, proctoring will flag that.

Proctoring software also searches online for leaked test questions and answer banks and issues takedowns and copyright notices. As such, if you know your institution uses proctoring, it is not worth it to search leaked tests online whatsoever.

Examples of commonly used proctoring software include Honorlock, Talview, and Examus.

Browser Lockdown Software

This software installed on the student’s computer prevents you from closing the Canvas page, switching to another tab, copy-pasting, or using any other applications, including screenshotting while taking a test. It can also monitor students via webcam, similar to proctoring.

Browser lockdown software does this by forcing you to use it as your browser while taking a test on Canvas. You can check if browser lockdown software, if enabled as the test page itself, will force you to activate it before taking the test.

The most common browser lockdown software is Respondus LockDown

Ways to Cheat on Canvas

With no software is downloaded and installed, Canvas can only see what happens in its browser tab. If this is the case, you can do anything you want. Remember the quiz log, though, so don’t spend too long inactive. Switching tabs might be allowed by your institution, so check that.

If proctoring software is installed, cheating becomes much more challenging. With your webcam and microphone on and your screen being recorded, you can only really cheat the same ways you would in a physical classroom, such as hidden notes or a phone under your desk where the webcam can’t see it.

Some institutions will also enable biometric software too, which verifies your identity. If this is the case, don’t try getting somebody else to write the test for you either. However, this can work otherwise as Canvas does not track IP addresses and proctoring doesn’t remember your physical appearance.

If you are ever worried about your IP address being tracked you can use Virtual Private Networking Software. This allows you to be anonymous online and allows you to pin yourself in different countries to use their region specific website and tools. An example of this is the TV shows and Movies on Netflix that change depending on the country you are in. The VPN software I specifically trust is IP Vanish.

Academic Integrity

Obviously, we do not condone cheating. This post is for information purposes only. Not only is cheating morally wrong, but you can also face serious consequences. You can face disciplinary action up to and including expulsion and academic exclusion for cheating. Colleges can legally prosecute you for it in certain circumstances as well.

All institutions, both K-12 and Higher Education, have policies about student conduct. Here this would be an Academic Integrity Statement, which sets the standards for your academic behavior when doing assignments, tests, projects, and other work. Of course, this does apply to using Canvas.

Your institution expects to work honestly and responsibly, to do your work in the prescribed manner, and to acknowledge the contributions of others where relevant. Failure to do so will not only result in failure, but likely further punishment as well. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.


Although Canvas itself only has the Quiz Log system to prevent cheating, this is often used alongside software that makes attempts at cheating extremely difficult. A combination of proctoring and browser lockdown software make physically looking away from the Canvas tab almost impossible. At the same time, Turnitin prevents plagiarism on assignments, essays, and other submitted documents. You can still cheat easily if the webcam is disabled, however, or if you have somebody else write the entire test for you.

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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