Alternatives to proctoring
communication and students' assessment skills
Many people – in fact both teachers and students – are worried about cheating and plagiarism in connection with online examinations. Often, this anxiety, distrust and sense of lack of confidence probably leads to negative consequences just as much as isolated cases of deliberate cheating. The insecurity felt in a partly new and unfamiliar digital environment highlights something that has always existed, for both teachers and students. It is easy to get caught up in thoughts about monitoring, but since this is a legally complicated approach, there is reason to try to tackle the problem in other ways.
Clear information to your students
It has been shown that problems with cheating brought to the Disciplinary Board at Lund University are very often about misunderstandings and can be attributed to a lack of information and unclear communication with the students. This applies both to the rules that apply to a particular examination assignment and whether or not aids (and which aids) are allowed, and to what actually counts as cheating and plagiarism. Therefore, there is every reason to review the instructions you give your students and to be clear (perhaps overly clear) and transparent in this communication.
Help your students to take responsibility for their own learning
However, this is also about getting students to understand the value of taking responsibility for their own learning and performance. Strengthening students' assessment skills or literacy in relation to examination and assessment is crucial for all higher education and therefore something that we need to talk to them about explicitly. When we need to rely on online exams, it becomes even more important.
For example, this includes talking to the students early on in the course or education about what it means to take responsibility for one’s own learning, what they gain by not cheating, the importance of practising one’s own ability to assess and evaluate one’s own (and others') knowledge and to identify one’s own knowledge gaps and development needs.
In a good, learning-oriented examination approach, where students are given the opportunity to practice and get feedback on their performance before the graded examinations take place and where there are both several graded examination elements and in a more varied form than with a single summative examination, the students often feel more confident in their learning process. Both they and you as a teacher have a better idea of how the individual student is doing. And then it becomes both more difficult, less attractive and less profitable to cheat.
Assessment skills, of course, take time to develop, but if you haven't talked to your students about it yet, maybe it's a good time to start now?
Pedagogical advice theme
You and your teacher team are welcome to contact your unit for higher education development:
AHU - Division for Higher Education Development
CEE - Centre for Engineering Education
MedCul- Centre for Teaching and Learning at the Faculty of Medicine