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Taking tests

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
As I'm monitoring a mid-term yesterday I was thinking about a post in another forum I belong to. Since I'm teaching a computer class, I have access to ses all of the students desktops, so I would log on occassionally to view their screens to make sure no one was using the internet.
The post I was thinking of was about the new cheat method in schools where students use their cell phones to text someone out in the hall or somewhere else for the answer.

Really if we combined the software I used last night with video technology whos to say that a teacher can't view a student's desk during an exam. Just purchase tiny cameras, like the ones used in the new iMacs install them onto monitors for computer classrooms or into desks for non-computer classrooms and click a button on your desktop to view your students up close taking their test.

Do you think this would thwart cheaters? Do you think this is fair to the students or an invasion of privacy during a test? Or anything else you can think of?
post #2 of 17
I don't think this is an invasion of privacy as long as they know the camera is there. And even if they don't know it's there, I'm still not sure it's an invasion of privacy. I mean, it's not a camera in their bathroom. It's a classroom and therefore basically a public place where there is no reasonable expectation of complete privacy. Some standardized testing locations already use video technology to monitor test takers--I took the GRE last year, and they put me in a room with a computer and a camera to make sure I didn't cheat. I had no problem with that.
post #3 of 17
I can definitely see a use for it during very important exams, like SATs and ACTs and GREs and MCATs or something. Other than that, it's just going to tell students that we think they're all cheaters. And there will be ways around that too. My teachers always collected cell phones before tests, we weren't allowed to wear baseball hats, etc. Also if you give essay questions they can't cheat without you knowing it. I've made it through 18 years of formal education without cheating once, but it's not because I couldn't have, it's because I think it is wrong.

Although maybe they could set up a system like if you have been caught cheating they give you a camera or something. Have a special desk. That would be the best detterent of all.
post #4 of 17
I think if the students know they are there then it would be ok.... but that would seem kind of creepy to me. I can imagine sitting there wondering if, at that exact moment, my teacher was staring at the freckle on my cheek.
post #5 of 17
People who cheat in my exams do so much worse than people who don't cheat.

If they spend the time to figure out how to cheat, they might as well find ways to study.
post #6 of 17
I am a full time student and I would never cheat... yet I don't like the idea of such close surveillance during exams. Exams can be stressful enough without having to be self-conscious about whether or not someone is looking over my shoulder.

At our university, the rule for final exams is that we are not allowed to have any electronic devices (cell phones, pagers, etc.) with us at our desk. Anyone who is caught with their cell phone (not necessarily using it) is considered to be cheating. I think that works fine.

Plus I think we shouldn't be too paranoid about catching cheaters. Sure, people will cheat and sometimes find very elaborate ways of cheating... and that IS frustrating for people who really work hard. But I think there's only so far someone can go through cheating. Theoretically someone could cheat on all exams, buy essays online and maybe get a degree... then what? Do they expect that employers, grad school profs, etc. wont notice that they really don't know anything?
(and what's the point of paying thousands of dollars for an education if you don't want to bother to learn anything?)
post #7 of 17
And if the cameras are above our desks... um... I've had some creepy teachers who would have used the cameras to stare down girls' shirts all day.

I know that thought would never have crossed your mind lunasmom but it would be something to consider. It seems like anywhere there's a camera someone finds a way to misuse it.
post #8 of 17
Originally Posted by shengmei
People who cheat in my exams do so much worse than people who don't cheat.

If they spend the time to figure out how to cheat, they might as well find ways to study.
That exactly
post #9 of 17
I have just awarded 3 zeros (out of 120 students) for term papers which were plagiarised. And we have one case of cheating in an exam which will go to tribunal next week. We take mobile phones off students in exams and have at least two monitors per room, but they still do it. They have told me that there are so many ways, including finger or foot tapping, hand signals, or other 'invisible' ways. We also have different versions of exams (question order, that kind of thing) to prevent copying. But it happens. One guy just got mad at me when I told him his paper was downloaded - he said he forgot that I had software that could detect cheating! I told him I had not even needed to run it through the software - I knew immediately. Sometimes they just don't care. As for us not worrying about it and leaving it to employers, I don't think that is an option - the reputation of an academic institution is at stake, if we are seen to be awarding degrees and diplomas to people who don't deserve them. Here in Bosnia it is particularly difficult - we are the first private university and rumours abound that because you pay, you are automatically ensured success. Students have to be disabused of that idea pretty quickly until they understand they are paying for the education, not the diploma.
post #10 of 17
I think the cameras on each desk would be a waste of money. You still have to have someone watching the cameras to catch them cheating, and if they can watch the camera why not just watch the student?

Even when I was in highschool... some 10 years ago, we were not allowed to have cell phones out in class. No matter what. You could have them in the halls, but they had to be off and in your bag when you walked into the classroom. Period. In college it was just routine. I don't think anyone had their phones on during class. We all knew better... by then it was just a habit to put them away.
post #11 of 17
I don't agree with the cameras as I do think thats a huge expense of time and effort for people who won't get far anyway..

But I was wondering about what someone above had mentioned about downloading papers off the net. I was thinking that today it must be so easy to plagiarise or just buy or copy a paper word for word online...
Now, if there is a program that can detect cheating, that's impressive!
I wonder if this is something thats utililized just in Uni or in lower levels too?
post #12 of 17
You can use that software at any level, but you can also just google the first few words of the paper and see if it comes up. Sometimes it will.

My profs don't even need to check though, because once you know a student you know how they write and how much effort they put in, and plagiarism sticks out like a sore thumb.
post #13 of 17
I think the cameras are a bad idea. They are expensive and could be missused. People are going to cheat. If the have to resort back to the sticking a note on the bottom of their shoe thing they will cheat. I knew people who would get their friends to get a paper and write answers on it and stick it on the person in front of them's back and cheat that way.
post #14 of 17
I agree about knowing your students - I usually only have to look at a paper and I know! But you have to prove it before you confront them because I have had them deny until faced with the original.

The software is great because it saves you having to google every sentence. Sometimes they are very clever and take stuff from a lot of different sources and it takes forever if you have to search every sentence or even phrase. But depending on the type of software it doesn't always pick up on say pdf files, or online encyclopaedias, so I still have to do that if I am suspicious. But mostly now the students know, and are even keen to run their papers through in draft form, in case they have paraphrased something inadvertently. There are always the bad apples though.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
OK, so I'll play devils advocate here....

How different would this be from casinos? the cameras that are visible are not the only cameras in the casino. If you play say black jack they may have installed a camera inside the table to detect any extra cards.

Or how about even going into your bank? The cameras are not only their to detect theft from outsiders, but also from inside as well.

Even though you would HOPE that you could trust your teller at the bank or that you play poker or black jack honestly, there are those out there that do cheat the system or at least try too.

The argument could be put that on this that I'm talking of $$s lost v. an degree or diploma, but even if you cheat during school, wouldn't that be dollars lost too?
post #16 of 17
Cheating in school has a huge impact on everyone in the school, no doubt about that. But cameras are not the way to solve it.

When you walk into a bank or a casino or even a fitting room, you are in a limited situation where you can reasonably expect to be taped. If you decide to be a teller or a dealer you understand that that comes with the job. However, everyone goes to school, and you can't decide to not go for privacy reasons the way you can decide not to go to a casino and expect to be a part of society.

Also, these are children we are talking about. And the cameras would probably be on all the time. It's just a little "Big Brother" to me. Especially if the cameras are recording, which once a school managed to put them in for so many millions of dollars they would undoubtedly be doing. One of my teachers threatened to report me to Homeland Security for my ideas about american government (they were neither treasonous nor threatening) and I know one of my art projects would have been in the art show except that it was politically disagreeable. So would I have wanted those filmed? Heck no!
post #17 of 17
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom
One of my teachers threatened to report me to Homeland Security for my ideas about american government (they were neither treasonous nor threatening) and I know one of my art projects would have been in the art show except that it was politically disagreeable. So would I have wanted those filmed? Heck no!

I wonder if that happens at Universities too... well, that could make grad school in the US pretty.... huh... interesting!

About the teaching thing... I think there should be severe consequences for those who are caught cheating but I don't agree with the use of any means necessary to catch them.
I think if you have classes small enough that the profs know the students, it's easy to spot the ones who might have cheated (and further investigate)
It's also easier then to have essay exams (it would be pretty hard to cheat on one of those!) or original assignments.
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