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Prove yourself: Academic integrity in MOOCs and online courses

As the methods of learning digitize, assessment must follow—but, not surprisingly, faculty using new testing methods are experiencing obstacles that don’t exist in the physical classroom
University Business, May 2014

Technology continues to change the way learning and assessment are conducted in higher education. As the methods of learning are digitized, assessment must follow—but, not surprisingly, faculty using new testing methods are experiencing obstacles that don’t exist in the physical classroom. To preview the upcoming UBTech Conference session, “Prove yourself: Academic integrity in MOOCs and online courses,” UBTech speakers Darin Kapanjie and Carly Haines of Temple University discuss the challenge of online student cheating, useful digital assessment tools and more.

Haines, Temple's senior associate director of instructional design, recognized the need for a singular assessment model when she discovered that faculty were wading into online testing on their own. “We didn't have an efficient way of online testing,” she says. “Students were recording themselves [with no consistency]; faculty had exams open for only an hour. We needed a more robust, flexible system.”

This system also needed to maintain academic integrity, as online cheating in higher education continues to be a concern. The Fox School of Business implemented Examity’s proctoring solution to keep watch over students during testing. “Examity provides us with comfort, knowing our kids are being monitored during exams,” says Kapanjie, an assistant professor at the business school. “Everything is recorded and archived; it's a very thorough backend.”

The system itself is relatively easy to use. Faculty upload their exams into Blackboard or a similar platform, and register the tests to be proctored by Examity. Students also must sign up with Examity, which requires paying a small fee and answering a series of personal security questions. Students can then take their exams in the amount of time set by faculty.

“The students log into the service, and go through checks and balances, answering the personal questions with the proctor watching,” Kapanjie explains. “Their desks are clear, anything they can have available is noted, and they are monitored the entire time. There is desktop share, web share and audio share—anything that comes up, the proctor flags and faculty can review at a later time.”

Haines cites only “small snafus” during Examity's initial implementation, and describes the rollout as deliberate, with only eight to 10 courses using the system. Kapanjie says student and faculty reaction to the online model has been nothing but positive.“It is not only a solution for our benefit, but it’s also for the students. Now, they have credibility of their exams being documented clearly. We thought students were going to complain, but they don't mind at all.”

Read more about the 2014 UBTech Conference session “Prove yourself: Academic integrity in MOOCs and online courses” here.

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