I see "screen security" - open with limited java script security
Is that what you meant, or this a switch to throw to turn the other piece on ?
With the open in secure window it did nothing to prevent me starting a new browser instance - would be interested to see if the thing you are referring to does.
Display in a "secure" window
The "secure" window tries to provide a little more security for quizzes (making copying and cheating more difficult) by restricting some of the things that students can do with their browsers.
What happens is that:
- The quiz appears in a new fullscreen window.
- Some mouse actions on the text are prevented.
- Some keyboard commands are prevented.
NOTE: This security is NOT watertight. Do NOT rely on these protections as your sole strategy. It is impossible to implement complete protection of quizzes in a web environment so please do not rely on this option if you are really worried about students cheating. Other strategies you can try are to create really large databases of questions from which you randomly choose questions, or even better, rethink your overall assessment to put more value on constructive forms of activity such as forum discussions, glossary building, wiki writing, workshops, assignments etc.
You may be interested in a blog post I wrote recently: The Open University's approach to plagiarism. Basically, your approach to plagiarism needs to include 4 things:
- Education: so that students know what behaviour is acceptable or unacceptable, and why behaving honestly is the right thing to do in the long term.
- Assessment design: make sure that what you are asking the student to do actually requires them to think and understand the material at hand, rather than just being a pointless and irritating hoop for them to jump through. Students are not stupid, and can normally tell the difference.
- Proportionate penalties for when people are caught: I first offence that is largely due to ignorance probably just needs more education. Flagrant cheating, e.g. buying an essay of the internet, particularly if a repeat offence, probably deserves expulsion.
- Detection and prevention: This is where things like turn-it-in and Moodle quiz 'secure' mode come it.
MDL-19145 description states
Extension for Moodle quiz:
* Disables navigation to other resources in the Moodle quiz
This is not necessarily a desired feature. Consider an exam with open online book (Moodle book of course). I recently gave an online exam such that students were allowed to access certain materials located in a designated book resource on the course site. I added to the quiz links for opening the book in a popup (navigation and toolbars disabled). I blocked access to other relevant resources by grouping. Disabling navigation to other resources from the quiz should be only an option.
I've just read your blog. Thanks.
Suppose something important to you is at stake and securing it depends on successfully completing a certain assignment for which you are given no clear instructions, no means for checking and improving your work, and in addition you are told that you should not expect to succeed. What would you do?
As I see it the problem of plagiarism begins with the assignments and those who give these assignments rather than with the students. While some people will always try to cheat no matter what you do (and of course cheating is not restricted to students) many if not the majority will try harder where there are genuine prospects of success and these prospects are clearly connected to one's efforts.
It's relatively cheap and quite easy to write a new policy, develop an online tutorial for this policy and buy a turnitin subscription. It is much more difficult and expensive to raise the quality of learning materials and instruction. But there is an even more fundamental problem. A colleague of mine declined a proposal to incorporate online assessment in his course. He consulted a colleague of his who told him that she tried online quizzes but that such was the level of cheating that she had to switch to scantron and impose a final exam she had hoped to omit. So you see, when instructors think that online assessment can only be multiple-choice, which "as everyone knows" is wide open for cheating (but only online; not when given in-class ), and when they are shown examples of online assessment in which the work is creative and constructive-and so cannot be simply copied-and yet marked by the computer, they protest in response that it requires too much work from them and turn to write a new plagiarism policy, there's no reason to expect any better from students who as students are under the authority of these instructors.
Just a thought.
I don't have overall statistics, but here is a bit of a summary of what the OU does regarding eAssessment:
1. eAssessment is only used summatively on a small number of courses. It is used formatively on a larger number of courses, but still a minority. It is gradually spreading.
2. For the last 4 years, we have had one course S151, maths for scientists, where the entire exam for the course is an online assessment that people do from home. There is not even a time limit. Just a deadline. Some students will spend 10 hours on a 3 hour exam, to make sure they get the right answers. (However it is only 15 credit points, where an honours degree is 360; the grade on a first level course does not affect your find degree grade; and if a student cheats on their maths for scientists course, they will be in trouble for the rest of their degree. Anyway, to the best of our knowledge, we have not had a problem with cheating.)
3. Most courses that use eAssessment summatively only use it for for a small part of the final mark.
4. We always use random variants, typically about three per question.
5. We have never used any browser security like 'secure' mode or Safe Exam Browser.
6. About 6 months ago I was given the statistic "In the last 12 months, our systems have served 250 000 quiz attempts." This is increasing.
7. We don't just use the Moodle quiz, we also have our own system OpenMark. OpenMark has been around for longer, Moodle has probably overtaken it. It is more flexible, but requires a software developer to create questions. Moodle is easier/quicker/cheaper to create questions, but you are limited to fixed question types. They complement each other nicely.
8. Over the last three or so years, the UK Higher Education world has had these things called Centres of Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The OU had 4 of these, one of which did a lot of interesting research into eAssessment. Sadly that money has run out now, and given the state of the economy, there is no prospect of more. Still the did a lot of good stuff, quite a lot of which went directly into real OU courses, and some of which we would like to incorporate into Moodle in a more mainstream way when we get the chance.
There is a summary of what they did at http://www.open.ac.uk/colmsct/activities/details/detail.php?itemId=4607dfd69ca72. The bit that I find most interesting is the work on marking sentence-length answers: http://www.open.ac.uk/colmsct/activities/details/detail.php?itemId=460d32ea7d554&themeId=46015b2f35a2f and http://www.open.ac.uk/colmsct/activities/details/detail.php?itemId=49e84c5043f52&themeId=46015b2f35a2f. Obviously great scope for making plagiarism more difficult by using this.
9. Senior people from our Exams and Assessment department seem to be well aware of issues of eAssessment. The have to balance defending the OU's reputation as a degree awarding body, while working with courses that want to try innovative types of assessment. That is, they are the people who are ultimately responsible for how we prevent cheating. It would be easy for them just to say 'No' to anything new, but they are much more supportive of that.
10. I think one of our main challenges for the next year or so is to make eAssessment more routine, and hence cheaper. We have developed a lot of cool functionality, but in a sense we need to stop being so innovative, and concentrate on making more of it easier for more people. Saving money is a high priority right now, and eAssessment has potential to help with that. We have to prove it is more than just potential. Of course, there should always be a few courses pushing the boundaries for the future, and knowing the OU, there always will be.
Err. I hope that was interesting. I may have wandered a bit off-topic.
Rely on multiple strategies, most of which have been mentioned by other responses to this post:
1. Use large question database and randomly select questions.
2. Randomize the order of answers within questions (but be careful not to use for 'all of the above'-type answers).
3. Use "secure" window setting.
4. Put time limit on quiz.
5. Show questions one at a time.
6. Disable printing of quiz.
7. Do not put too much grade weight on online tests.
8. Do not show individual question results, just overall grade.
9. If you do show results, wait until after quiz is closed to all students.
10. Require a proctored exam (or two) and weight them heavier than online exams.
That's my 10 cents worth!
5. In exams this may overload the server especially towards the end when students start reviewing their answers.
6. Some students may prefer working on the answers pen&paper and only then upload them to the quiz; disabling printing (which is already done for you in secure mode) may be a problem for them.
7. I guess the rationale here is that one should not put too much grade weight on any assessment that is open for cheating. Of course if your online assignments are not open for cheating (or at least not more than your essay assignments) you can put considerable weight on them (or at least equal to that you put on essay assignments).
8. That of course depends on the type of question you use. For multiple-choice or fill-in the blank questions this may be a good approach. But then again using multiple-choice or fill-in the blank questions is probably not a very effective approach neither for learning nor for assessment.
9. If you use constructive questions it is essential to give feedback in real-time and even indicate when a correct answer is found. You may be surprised to find that your students actually try harder to solve stubborn questions. No feedback may in effect encourage cheating.
10. If you find that you have to require heavily weighted proctored exams I wonder why wasting all this energy on the online assessment. Online assessment can transform instructors and students' learning experience. If it doesn't it is just extra work with little or no value at all and thus quite a nuisance.
I am not complaining, it was excellent initiative that contributed to the lesson. By my point (which has been made elsewhere), is that no amount of locking down the computer will help, it is not a technology problem, it is a people problem. Locking down the browser is like trying to stop people from finding out the news by shutting up newsagents, it won't work.
I have always been uncomfortable with the idea that students should be doing major sumative quizzes online, so have only ever run formative quizzes in Moodle, questions that focus attention onto the areas of the topic they need to look at in depth, questions that provide opportunities to expand their learning by having to go on the net to find answers. Sumative are more like exams, so bits of paper at desks is, for me at least, is a preferred option. But. I must admit, I like the idea of a browser that is secure. Have to try it...
I had my Master's course on E-Learning take an online exam so they could experience it first-hand.
One of the more resourceful students then detailed what he could do to overcome the secure window:
1. If he was at home, plugging in a second Monitor happily let him start an alternative browser.
2. Tools such as Texter for Windows or TextExpander for Mac can be preprogrammed with, say, the Wikipedia entry on Topic X and then pasted into any window using a deep system call.
3. Even for Multiple Choice questions, the student can use the "search" button to open up a little field and then expand the text in there. It will be difficult to read, but still.
So it looks pretty much like procotoring from the back or using a browser that is geared for exactly this topic. And open questions that require thinking ;)
Excellent discussion, even a year later(!). I teach lots of distance learners so that pretty much kills the very effective proctor-from-the-back-of-the-room option.
As mentioned by others, I've relied on multiple education/testing/assessment methods (not just e-quizes) and tighly timed quizes.
I also like clear, consistent education as to what is expected, with a written/signed "honour code" page, or even a "by clicking this box I agree to abide by the honor code as follows: etc." option.
I see what you mean about students "self-educating" by looking up material at the last minute with another device or monitor -- but the assessment is then scewed because they are "throwing off the grading curve" for students who follow the rules and do their studying BEFORE the exam (!).
No perfect answers here but I appreciate the thoughtful discussion.
I'm an undergraduate of University of Moratuwa. Actually I was really interested with your discussion. There are some ways which allow the candidates to cheat during online quizzes. To track those I have developed a plugging and added it to the Moodle Tracker. Here is the link,
Look at my work and give some feedback. There may have several weak points in my plugging but it can do a reasonable job in the context of cheat tracking in online quizzes. I'm going to do some further improvements to enhance the functionalities and the GUI.
There is nothing necessarily cheating-related in the report settings you propose. If time indicates cheating than grade too so allow the teacher to set a quiz score threshold, above or below which, the attempt will be considered cheating. This is just a reductio. The info provided by this report may be useful for various purposes, positive as well as negative, and there is no particular reason to stress the negative over the positive, unless you think that students are intrinsically cheaters, but then you are not excluded.
Thanks Itamar for your feed back.
I have seen that students are cheating during online quizzes in several ways. If the quiz is restricted to a lab and a specific period of time they can easily do the quiz for other people by keeping parallel sessions from a single machine. Also they can see others answers by logging from their accounts and refreshing the pages. This plugging is intelligent in tracking both the scenarios. This is simply a filtering mechanism.
The time based tracking included because some student may know the answers before the quiz. Then he/she will do it quickly and finish the quiz. The report just suggest it as a potential cheating according to the specified time of the teacher. It may not mean that student have neccessarily cheated. But there is a possibility. Further investigation is up to the teacher. Also if a student try to avoid parallel sessions to do quiz for his friends it will be included in the time violations.
What I want to tell is this plugging is important in the context of online quizzes. Still there is no mechanism to track online quiz cheating. I think crot plugging is there only for plagiarism tracking.
Btw I thank for your feedback. Even it is negative one. I suggest you to try this and try to understand its functionalities. Any way don't put too much confident on students since they try to use any week point in the moodle to get higher marks. I developed this plugging with my own experience.
You miss the point Sachintha. I'm not suggesting that your plugin report cannot be useful nor am I questioning your ability to develop plugins. I'm just saying that perceiving this plugin as a cheating detector may only highlight instructors incompetence in making effective online assessment. The latter is also cheating. Can you develop a plugin to detect them apples?
Thanks for the comment you given. It always helping me to develop my thinking process in further development. It is difficult to develop a plugging to track the incompetence of the instructor.
Btw I have a little question.How the instructors can avoid students from violating ip (I mean doing quiz for others and see answers of others) even that instructor is well qualified Moodler. I can't figure out it. What I think is students can cheat through small vulnerabilities in Moodle regardless of the effectiveness of the quiz. This plugging is capable of tracking those.
Instructors cannot prevent students from violating ips even with your plugin. But for what your plugin is worth, students don't need to violate ips for doing someone else's quiz or getting someone else's answers. And the quiz taken time can easily be controlled so as to fall above the threshold. So, it's not that obvious that your plugin can effectively detect the type of "cheating" you are concerned with. As such, your plugin is just like Turnitin which many intstructors use for preventing plagiarism, although Turnitin can't really prevent plagiarism.
You have mistaken Itamar. I didn't tell that my plugging can "Prevent" violating ips. It only can 'Detect' potential violations.
It is true that students can let the timer to go without submitting the quiz. But If they are not aware of the existance of a cheat tracking mechanism in the system they can be caught easily.
' But for what your plugin is worth, students don't need to violate ips for doing someone else's quiz or getting someone else's answers'
I can't understand what you mean by this above statement. Btw I have noticed how students are violating IPs during lab restricted quizzes.
Well, to put it simply, my advice to you would be to funnel your talent and enthusiasm into creating functionality that can help learners learn even in the presence of flawed instruction, rather than functionality that is meant to detect alternate modes of learning which are considered flawed only by those who can't do better.
Use a content filter. You can either use one on a firewall or a software one. Trend Anti-virus has one built in.
Then you can restrict all websites other than your moodle site. Works for us. In fact we have several policies for restricting web access, one which blocks all know social media and mail sites, for example.
You can also say to the students that their activities are monitored. During examinations we log everything.