Educators are in an arms race these days against an industry that seeks to profit by helping students cheat. Some websites offer to write papers for students, others sell access to past tests by individual professors, and others will even take entire online courses for students, as a kind of study double.
Ed-tech historian and critic Audrey Watters, for example, said plagiarism-detection software in general frames all writers as potential cheaters, undermining the trust that is essential to strong student-teacher relationships. She said the companies making the software tend to accept as given that most writing assignments are so cookie-cutter that students can reasonably consider copying someone else’s work a viable strategy.
My note: the paragraph above reflects my deep personal belief and most of the information and notes in this blog regarding the “automation” of plagiarism detection
Children who use smartphones, tablets, and video games for more than seven hours a day are more likely to experience premature thinning of the cortex, the outermost layer of the brain that processes thought and action, a 2018 study found. https://t.co/OJe6ZTBVkx
But others say banning laptops can be counterproductive, arguing these devices can create opportunity for students to discover more information during class or collaborate. And that certain tools and technologies are necessary for learners who struggle in a traditional lecture format.
Flanigan, who studies self-regulation, or the processes students use to achieve their learning goals, began researching digital distraction after confronting it in the classroom as a graduate instructor.
Digital distraction tempts all of us, almost everywhere. That’s the premise of Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University.
The professor is upset. The professor has taken action, by banning laptops.
Bruff, whose next book, Intentional Tech: Principles to Guide the Use of Educational Technology in College Teaching, is set to be published this fall, is among the experts who think that’s a mistake. Why? Well, for one thing, he said, students are “going to have to graduate and get jobs and use laptops without being on Facebook all day.” The classroom should help prepare them for that.
When Volk teaches a course with 50 or 60 students, he said, “the idea is to keep them moving.”Shifting the focal point away from the professor can help, too. “If they are in a small group with their colleagues,” Volk said, “very rarely will I see them on their laptops doing things they shouldn’t be.”
Professors may not see themselves as performers, but if they can’t get students’ attention, nothing else they do matters. “Learning doesn’t happen without attention,” said Lang, who is writing a book about digital distraction, Teaching Distracted Minds.
One aspect of distraction Lang plans to cover in his book is its history. It’s possible, he said, to regard our smartphones as either too similar or dissimilar from the distractions of the past. And it’s important, he said, to remember how new this technology really is, and how much we still don’t know about it.
Study: Use of digital devices in class affects students’ long-term retention of information
A new study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University reveals that students who are distracted by texts, games, or videos while taking lecture notes on digital devices are far more likely to have their long-term memory affected and to perform more poorly on exams, even if short-term memory is not impacted, EdSurge reports.
Exam performance was not only poorer for students using the devices, but also for other students in classes that permitted the devices because of the distraction factor, the study found.
After conducting the study, Arnold Glass, the lead researcher, changed his own policy and no longer allows his students to take notes on digital devices.
A nationally representative Gallup poll conducted in March showed that 42% of K-12 teachers feel that the use of digital devices in the classroom are “mostly helpful” for students, while only 28% feel they are “mostly harmful.” Yet 69% of those same teachers feel the devices have a harmful impact on student mental health and 55% feel they negatively affect student physical health.
findings, published in the journal Economics of Education Review in a paper, based on an analysis of the grades of about 5,600 students at a private US liberal arts college, found that using a laptop appeared to harm the grades of male and low-performing students most significantly.
While the authors were unable to definitively say why laptop use caused a “significant negative effect in grades”, the authors believe that classroom “cyber-slacking” plays a major role in lower achievement, with wi-fi-enabled computers providing numerous distractions for students.
High schoolers assigned a laptop or a Chromebook were more likely to take notes in class, do internet research, create documents to share, collaborate with their peers on projects, check their grades and get reminders about tests or homework due dates.
a need for new techniques to handle the problem in online environments. To achieve zero cheating is hard (or impossible) without repelling not only cheaters but also those students who do not cheat, where a zero ‐ tolerance emphasis also would risk inhibiting students’ intrinsic motivation. Several studies indicate that existing virtual learning environments do not provide the features needed to control that the intended student is the one taking the online exam. Biometric Belt and Braces for Authentication in Distance Education.
One approach to prevent student’s dishonesty is the university code of honour. This is a set of rules describing what actions are not permitted and the consequences for students taking such actions. Another way of preventing cheating is the use of proctors during written exams. Even while using such codes of honour and proctors, universities still have found many students to cheat. Biometric Belt and Braces for Authentication in Distance Education.
Neutralisation is the phenomenon when a person rationalises his or her dishonest behaviour with arguments like “I can do this because the work load within this course is just too overwhelming” or “I can do this because I have a half ‐ time job on the side which gives me less study time than the other students have”. By doing so the student puts the blame for cheating on external factors rather than on himself, and also protects himself from the blame of others (Haines et al. 1986). This neutralises the behavior in the sense that the person’s feelings of shame are reduced or even eliminated. Haines et al. (1986 Biometric Belt and Braces for Authentication in Distance Education.
Simply asking participants to read a code of honour when they had the opportunity to cheat reduced dishonesty. Also whether one signed the code of honour or just read it influenced cheating. The Shu et al. (2011) study suggests that opportunity and knowledge of ethical standards are two factors that impact students’ ethical decision about cheating. This is in line with the results in (McCabe, Trevino and Butterfield 2001), showing that if students regularly are reminded of the university’s code of honour, they are less likely to cheat Biometric Belt and Braces for Authentication in Distance Education.
For an online course setting, Gearhart (2001) suggest that teachers should develop a guideline for “good practices”.
In online examination there are reports of students hiring other persons to increase their scores (Flior & Kowalski, 2010) and there is a need for new enhanced authentication tools (Ullah, Xiao & Lilley, 2012). For companies and Internet environments the process of authentication is often completed through the use of logon identification with passwords and the assumption of the password to guarantee that the user is authentic (Ramzan, 2007), but logins and passwords can be borrowed (Bailie & Jortberg, 2009). The discussion on how to provide enhanced authentication in online examination has led to many suggested solutions; four of them are: Biometric Belt and Braces for Authentication in Distance Education.
Challenge Questions: with questions based on third ‐ party data
Face ‐ to ‐ Face Proctored Exam: with government or institution issued identification
Web Video Conference Proctor: audio and video conference proctoring via webcam and screen monitoring service with live, certified proctors
Biometrics and Web Video Recording: with unique biometrics combined with the recording of student in exam via webcam
An idea for online courses is that assessment should not only be a one way process where the students get grades and feedback. The examination process should also be a channel for students’ feedback to teachers and course instructors (Mardanian & Mozelius, 2011). New online methods could be combined with traditional assessment in an array of techniques aligned to the learning outcomes (Runyon and Von Holzen, 2005). Examples of summative and formative assessment in an online course could be a mix of: Biometric Belt and Braces for Authentication in Distance Education.
Multiple choice questions (MCQ) tests, automatically corrected in a virtual learning environment
Term papers or essays analysed by the course instructors
Individual or group assignments posted in digital drop ‐ boxes
Oral or written tests conducted in the presence of the instructor or through videoconferences (Dikli, 2003)
Authors’ suggestion is a biometric belt and braces model with a combination of scanned facial coordinates and voice recognition, where only a minimum of biometric data has to be stored. Even if the model is based on biometrics with a medium to low grade of uniqueness and permanence, it would be reliable enough for authentication in online courses if two (or more) types of biometrics are combined with the presented dialogue based examination using an interaction/obser ‐ vation process via web cameras. Biometric Belt and Braces for Authentication in Distance Education.
Cheating remains a stubborn problem at many schools. According to the Educational Testing Service and the Ad Council, who define cheating as “representing someone else’s work as your own,” cheating tends to start in junior high, peak in high school, and occur most often in math and science classes. Men and women cheat in equal measure, both sexes aided by the ubiquity of computers and the internet, and most cheaters aren’t caught. Both high- and low-achieving students find ways to misrepresent their work, explaining away their misconduct with familiar rationalizations: everybody does it, it’s a victimless crime, and getting the grade matters more.
while few cheat a lot—20 of the 40,000 involved in the experiments—many more—about 28,000—cheated a little bit. Most everyone has what he calls a “personal fudge factor” that allows for just a little dishonesty, provided that the conditions are right. For example, if people see others cheating without consequence, they’re more apt to do the same; social norms permit it. If cheating seems to benefit a “good cause,” even more feel comfortable deceiving.
more on cheating and academic dishonesty in this IMS blog
namely, that plagiarism is in a much smaller degree intentional and to its largest percentage lack of systematic approach and clear directions by faculty toward students.
Rebecca Moore Howard, a professor of writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University, has called “patchwriting,” or borrowing large sentence structures and vocabularies from a source and only swapping out the occasional word or phrase with language of their own.
academic integrity represents an incredibly complex subject to master: It encompasses knowledge (What are the rules of academic integrity? How do they apply in this context?), skills (How do I summarize or paraphrase this passage without plagiarizing? How do I credit the work of others when I am collaborating with peers or using sources?), and values (Why does academic integrity matter? Why should I care about it?).
“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” ― Salvador Dalí