New Moodle Plug-in Helps Prevent Online Cheating
One of the benefits of online learning with Learning Management Systems is that it provides students the flexibility to learn online and take quizzes from home — but it also makes cheating much easier. Educational institutions and industry certification authorities continue to face the problem of cheating on tests. Common solutions can be proctored exams, authentication, identity verification by proxy, and code of conduct warnings. Despite these preventative measures, whether you administer learning in a traditional classroom or through online education, there will still be a few learners who will attempt to manipulate the rules.
How Big is the Problem of Cheating in Online Learning?
A survey in the US found that 73 percent of students admit to cheating in eLearning classes. With blended learning, the number decreased a small amount, it’s still not reassuring at 53 percent.
In Canada, the University of British Columbia proved that smartphones are enabling rampant cheating. “Higher education soon will absorb a generation of high school students who frequently use smart phones to store cheat sheets, share test answers with classmates, and scroll through Google search results during exams . . .”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, 72 percent of Chinese students in one study admitted to cheating — one percent less than the students surveyed in the USA.
But Cheating has always been a problem. Are online students not just doing what students have always done?
Maybe not. It’s reasonable to expect that taking courses away from the watchful eye of an administrator will incentivize dishonesty in some who would otherwise be afraid to cheat. Dishonesty can have a real impact on organizational outcomes and safety. When nurses share identities in compulsory compliance training or motorists take driving competency courses for each other, we have a real problem. This is why Lambda Solutions developed the Two-Factor SMS Verification Plugin for the Moodle LMS–part of our Moodle Identity Verification API and Plugin suite .
Our client, The Alberta Motor Association, is all too familiar with plagiarism. The AMA needed a better way to verify that the person taking the exam was also the same person using their new skills on the road. The AMA could require students to travel to regional testing centers for their exams, but reaching such centers is next to impossible for some remote students, whether they are working adults who can’t take time off to travel, or others in far-flung places who can’t afford the trip.
How does the Two-Factor SMS Verification Plugin actually prevent cheating? The solution ensures people are who they say they are through SMS authentication–a process used by major online services such as Gmail. It includes the following steps:
- The Moodle core provides self registration with a confirmation email.
- A modification to the self registration process of the test will confirm that the user has added a phone number.
- Authentication code is sent via SMS or voice phone call to designated phone number associated with the user at the time of enrollment.
- A form will ask the user to enter the SMS code they received.
- Upon submission, Moodle will confirm the account and the user can begin to use the system.
Lambda Solutions also offers multi-factor authentication for Face match and ID Scanner via a browser or mobile camera.