Chegg and services like it continue to cause concern for higher education instructors. While these sites and other tools to help students cheat probably aren’t ever going away, there are several tools and strategies that faculty can use to protect the integrity of their courses.
Obviously you can’t use all of these all the time. Luckily we’ve got two amazing Instructional Designers here on campus that can help you out! They put together this list of strategies and can work with you to decide which might be best for your course and objectives.
Click any of the quicklinks below to jump to that section of the post.
- Use more low stakes, formative assessments
- Weight tests less than projects
- Use alternate assessments instead of tests
- Strategies for test questions
- Using a tighter test window
- Use Brightspace Quiz features
- Randomize answer choices
- Shuffle all questions
- Shuffle questions in a section
- Question pools
- Prevent moving back in quiz
- Disable right clicks, email, instant messages, & alerts
- LockDown Browser for proctoring
- Turnitin plagiarism check
Use more low stakes, formative assessments
Formative assessments are typically low or no stakes, are often impromptu in delivery (often within class, and unannounced), and are intended to be more diagnostic than evaluative, meaning they can provide valuable feedback on where students are succeeding and struggling in your course. You can then tweak your course accordingly.
Some examples include:
- In class polls – anonymous or not
- Short knowledge quizzes, in class or within videos and presentations using Techsmith Knowmia
- Short reflection assignments such a One Minute Papers or 3 Takeaways
Weight test less than projects
Having tests weighted less than projects such as short quizzes or self-check activities worth no more than a few points each, help make cheating more trouble than it’s worth.
When providing these low stake quizzes, make sure to give students rich, detailed feedback. The most practical methods to accomplish this include building detailed feedback into selected response quizzes to identify the concept(s) they’re struggling with and then addressing the most-identified concept(s) by using the Insert Stuff icon within Brightspace to provide recorded audio or video feedback to the students. (facultyfocus.com)
Use alternate assessments instead of tests
A way to get rid of test cheating all together is to throw out your tests! Now is a perfect time to try out some alternate assessment methods.
- and more!
Alternate assessments can also do double duty in bringing more engagement to your course.
Check out all our blog posts about alternative assessments or contact the IDAT team if you need help developing some for your course.
Strategies for test questions
If formative assessments aren’t an option, then take a look at your question strategy. A couple of suggestions from the website www.facultyfocus.com:
- Create questions that require higher order thinking. Instead of having students respond to questions that can be answered by a simple web search or even by finding the answers in their textbooks, create questions that are on the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation levels (Bloom, 1956). It will be more challenging to ask a friend or “Google” the answer when the questions require students to explain, analyze, infer, create, compose, evaluate, and authentically demonstrate their mastery of course content.
Use varied question types. Refrain from having an exam with all multiple choice or true and false questions and include open-ended questions. It is more difficult for students to give the same response as their friends verbatim for open-ended questions, and students would be forced to explain their responses using specific details and supporting narratives that are unique to their own understanding of the course materials.
Using a tighter test window
There are many ways that instructors can leverage the inherent features within Brightspace to decrease cheating during online examinations. Here is a popular recommendation utilized at various institutes provided by facultyfocus.com:
Similar to how on-campus final exams have a designated testing slot for each course, create the same online. Have every student start the exam around the same time and limit how long each student will have to take the exam. If you have students in different time zones, consider offering three sets of tests, at three different start times.
Even though the online exam will be “open book” by default—since there is no one watching the students take the exam—it is important to provide just enough time that a student who knows the information would have the appropriate amount of time to be successful on the exam, and not too much time for students who have not prepared for the exam to search for the answers. Be sure to create individual, extended timing settings for students who are approved for testing accommodations (you can do this though the Special Access option in Brightspace Quizzes).
Brightspace Quiz features
Brightspace Quizzes have many features to make cheating harder through shuffling questions and answers and pulling from a question pool so students don’t all receive the same questions. We’ll outline these features below.
We suggest to add/edit quiz questions and sections from the Quiz Question Library instead of directly from the Quiz. This allows you to easily use them in other quizzes. Learn more about the Question Library here.
Randomize answer choices
This shuffles the answer order for your multiple choice questions. If the students have made a cheat sheet that says #7 is B, that just won’t work with randomized answer choices.
- Go to Activities ->Quizzes -> Question Library
- Click on the question you want to randomize answers
- Scroll down and check the box next to Randomize answer order
Shuffle all questions in a Quiz
This shuffles the order of all your Quiz questions not contained in a section. This works for all question types.
It also shuffles your sections if you have them but NOT the questions WITHIN each section. So for example, if you have a Cat Quiz with sections on Breed, Temperament, and History, these 3 sections will added to the quiz in a random order for each student. But the order of the questions in Breed will remain the same for each student. We’ll talk about shuffling questions within a section later in this post.
- Go to Activities ->Quizzes
- Choose the quiz you want to shuffle questions. Click on the divet next to the quiz name and then choose Edit from the context menu to open your quiz for editing.
- Scroll down and click the box next to Shuffle questions at the quiz level
When questions are set to shuffle in a Quiz or section, this shuffle icon will appear next to the questions that will be shuffled.
Here’s a short training video from D2L Brightspace that shows this process.
Shuffle questions within a section
This option will only shuffle the question order for the selected section. The option is available for sections you create when building a new quiz OR sections you have create in the Question Library.
When creating a quiz
When adding a section to a quiz, check the box next to Shuffle questions in this section. Then Save.
From the Question Library
From the question library, click the divet next to the section name and choose Edit from the context menu to edit that section.
Check the box next to Shuffle questions in this section. Then Save.
You can tell the questions in your section will be shuffled because a notice has turned on that Shuffling is on.
Create question pools
Question pools give students a random set of questions drawn from a larger group of questions. For example, in a quiz of 30 questions pulled from a pool of 50 total questions students will get a unique set of questions in a unique order. You can even use multiple question pools for a single quiz, such as each section having its own question pool.
This Brightspace video details how to add questions pools to your quiz.
Prevent moving back to previous questions
Another option is to prevent students from going back to change or refer to other questions. When you edit a quiz, in the Quiz Questions section, you can specify the number of questions per page. Then check the box next to Paging. This does as described: “prevent moving backwards through pages”.
Disable right clicks, email, instant messages, & alerts
In the main properties tab when you edit a quiz, click to expand the Optional Advanced Properties. Here you’ll find checkboxes to limit student options during a quiz.
Allow hints – Checking this option with will allow students to view any hints you have added to questions as you created them
Disable right clicks – “Disable right click (or control-click on a Mac) prohibits users from printing quiz questions by right-clicking on a question when taking a quiz. Note: This option is not compatible with Macs when using Internet Explorer or Safari.
Disable email, instant messages and alerts – “If you turn on this option, users cannot access the Email or Instant Messages tools or their alerts if they have a quiz attempt in progress.
LockDown Browser for proctoring
This program directly integrates with Brightspace for test proctoring. LockDown Browser prevents navigating to other webpages or applications during a quiz.
Turnitin plagiarism check
To pair with essays and longer format alternate assessments, you can use Turnitin plagiarism checker. This tool is integrated right in Brightspace and will give a compare student submissions with thousands of other sources to give them a score of how “original” the content is.
The IDAT team at Meredith is happy to work with you to implement any of these strategies in your courses!