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Minimize Cheating With eLearning Software

Teachers and examiners today have to deal with more ingenious and more diverse cheating tactics than ever before. Some students still rely on traditional, time-proven methods like writing crib notes and concealing them on their person, sometimes even in intimate places in order to prevent the examiners from checking. Others have embraced the marvels of the Information Age and found new, wonderfully devious ways of cheating. A thread on social media Quora revealed some of the ingenious ways that students, in pursuit of the highest marks, use to cheat on exams. Invisible ink, hollowed out pens, writing answers on the inside of water bottle labels are some of the more crude ideas. Among the more sophisticated are printing the design of a water bottle label and replacing the original text with cribs, flesh colored earpieces which are practically invisible unless you’re very close and calculators with memory function. Besides all that, smart phones and watches with wireless internet access provide students with all the information they need to ace an exam.

One of the more extreme examples has been reported by The Telegraph, in May of 2016. Arthit Ourairat, rector of Rangsit university, Thailand announced that some 3000 students would have to retake the entrance exam since sophisticated cheating devices were discovered. Namely, three students had glasses with build-in wireless cameras which they used to take pictures of the test and send them to a group of coconspirators, who then sent answers to their smartwatches.

Students face serious consequences if they are caught cheating, at best they instantly fail the test; at worst they might be expelled. Yet research indicates that an astounding 60-70% of college students admit to cheating. One has to wonder why would anyone go to such great lengths and risk serious sanctions when all that time and effort could be invested in learning. The answer is simple; there’s an inherent fault in our education system which evolved to emphasize the importance of high grades instead of actual learning. Students and teachers alike feel that one’s entire future depends on one’s GPA while the learning process has taken a back seat. Students no longer study to acquire knowledge on the subject matter; they learn how to pass tests. The goal of testing is no longer to evaluate one’s progress, rather passing a test has become a goal in and of itself. When students adopt this mindset, it is easy to see why they are ready to do whatever it takes to beat the test, especially if they feel desperate or left behind.

Changing the way we see grades and testing is the only way to eliminate cheating entirely. Changing everybody’s perspective on testing is crucial, but it would be a long and arduous process, so let’s look at what can be done right now.

Cheating and student dishonesty is a problem that plagued teachers since the beginning of formal education, and it seems that it will continue to do so for ages to come. This particular problem proved to be amazingly persistent and difficult to overcome. Luckily the advent of new technologies provides us with a number of useful features and mechanisms which can help teachers and instructors combat this issue as long as they are willing to implement them.

In order to answer the question how eLearning software can help us eliminate, or at least lessen the number of occurrences of cheating in any particular exam situation, first we need to understand its causes and circumstances which facilitate it. To put it simply, we need to look at how and why it happens.