SAN FRANCISCO—The COVID-19 pandemic has created new opportunities for university students to cheat, which is causing universities across the country to take action. Ever since distance-learning when into effect back in March, cheating has become both tempting and easy for students, and is on the rise. Stealthy Googling while taking tests on Zoom, texting answers to friends, screen-shotting exam questions, or having open notes on the table are just a few example of cheating tactics that can’t be easily monitored with online learning.
In the three months following March 15, online test-monitoring system ProctorU revealed that they had 57,597 confirmed cheating incidents, which was 8% of suspicious cases. There were other suspected incidents that could not be confirmed.
In response, the California State University system announced new guidance for the Fall, which will attempt to minimize cases of cheating. It is urging all of its campuses to avoid using online-monitoring systems, since it can sometimes create issues around privacy and test-taking anxiety for students. Instead, California’s state universities plan on changing the type of assessment instead, switching from timed and monitored sessions to other projects, such as papers, presentations, electronic portfolios, and open-book examinations.
The hope is that this new system will allow students to show off their knowledge in a fair and honest way, while removing the pressure and temptation to cheat.
The University of California system announced they are also working on planning new ways to address the cheating problem, and will try to seek an approach that is accommodating yet fair for students.