5 tips to avoid academic misconduct in online assessments

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5 tips to avoid academic misconduct in online assessments

Given the paradigm shift in education caused by the pandemic, it is important to set the rules for assessments and convey the meaning of original thinking.

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May 3, 2021 6 min read

This article was translated using AI technologies from our Spanish edition. Errors can occur as a result of this process.

The virtual environment can be confusing for students. Lack of personal supervision can give them a misleading signal that they are safe to cheat. Hence, the primary challenge of the evaluation process for teachers in an online context is to create a culture of integrity that extends beyond the classroom.

“In any setting, especially online learning, academic integrity is key to an accurate assessment of student knowledge. Given the paradigm shift in education caused by the pandemic, it is important to set the rules for assessments and convey the meaning of original thinking. Currently, students can access too much information with a single click. It is therefore important to teach them how to use it properly, ”says Catalina Londoño, Manager of Professional and Educational Services at Turnitin.

What five tips can educators use to conduct distance assessments with integrity?

  1. Feedback: Feedback is more important than ever. Personal scenarios allow teachers to observe student confusion or understanding. Online learning environments reduce this, so technological tools with AI can be a great ally in generating observations. In addition, it is necessary to reinforce the feedback through various communication channels.

  2. Academic Integrity Design Assessments: Provide multiple versions of the same test and set time limits to reduce the possibility of student collusion and other forms of misconduct that can occur out of the field of view of the camera and screen.

  3. Uses comprehensive and diverse assessment types: Using different assessment formats, educators can gain insight into higher-order thinking and incorporate different learning styles. On the other hand, different evaluation formats can evaluate both the breadth (multiple choice) and the depth (long answer) of the knowledge.

  4. Use tools that ensure academic integrity. Tools such as browser similarity checking, monitoring, and blocking tools can aid academic integrity. In addition, technology platforms can reduce evaluation time for the educator and encourage constructive feedback for the student.

  5. Find out about new trends in misconduct: watch out for emerging forms of misconduct in distance learning. The nature of online learning environments makes certain forms of wrongdoing easily accessible. Coupled with copying and pasting plagiarism, AI text generators, smart devices, and essay factories are just a click away when learning online.

“While the internet has undeniable educational uses, there is also an abuse of this tool. Therefore, in order to maintain academic integrity in online assessments, it is important that teachers are aware of new trends emerging in order to prevent the spread of academic misconduct, “added the Turnitin executive director.

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What should you watch out for?

  • Contract trap: hiring a third party (free, paid) to complete an essay and present this work as your own. The number of sample factories has increased and is often targeted at vulnerable students through social media.

  • AI-based writing: Use an artificial intelligence-based tool to complete the writing of an essay.

  • Twisting or editing text: Take content written by another author and run it through a software tool or manipulate it with the intention of deceiving plagiarism detection software.

  • Source code plagiarism: Copying or adapting a source code without the assignment corresponding to the original creator.

  • Spyware: Use technology like hidden hearing aids, smartphones, screen capture software for tests, and online test benches to get answers to exams.

  • Using Third Party Providers to Get Answers: Use outside tutors to get answers or bluetooth devices to communicate solutions in the exams.

  • Impersonation: Instead of the student, hire someone to take a test or attend the entire course

  • And although it’s not new, agreement: when students work in groups, work that is intended for a single class. This type of misbehavior can increase in unattended virtual environments.

“To avoid these types of actions and to foster a culture of academic integrity that avoids bad behavior, it is important to maintain good communication with students. Constant dialogue and a trusting relationship can be the best prevention tool in the event of misconduct. In remote settings, the teacher must activate a direct communication channel to determine if the students are learning or if they are having problems with the content. This simple measure can prevent future disasters, ”concludes Catalina Londoño.