Education Technology Services

Ensuring the authenticity of student submissions in the age of edutech

Cheating in examinations is as old as the institution of examinations. However, it has come a long way in less than two decades, from ‘a little help from friends’ to outsourcing entire academic projects to Alexa, essay mills, and ChatGPT.

Digital technology has been an ally to education through all modern crises. It was a game-changer during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, academic misconduct has become one of the most popular use cases of the same technology.

How do you ensure authenticity in education and student submissions when homework help apps, search engines, and AI chatbots are readily available, and the learners are tech-savvy digital natives? Although it is impossible to eliminate instances of academic cheating, it is necessary to minimise them through a combination approach involving –

  • Student sensitisation
  • Trainer intervention
  • Strict academic policies
  • Physical boundaries and virtual firewalls
  • Use of content similarity detection software
  • Online proctoring technology

Here are some effective ways to ensure authenticity in education:

Sensitise students

Interestingly, many K12-level students are unaware that copy-pasting from physical or virtual resources constitutes academic misconduct. For those aware, having technology at their fingertips poses too great a temptation for young minds to resist. The problem increases manifold in virtual classrooms or online student submissions.

Educators can sensitise students by building learning communities, inviting participation, connecting through blogs and discussions, and educating them about academic integrity, learning objectives, and acknowledgement methods.
While it is easy to build physical communities, educational LMSs enable virtual community building through a plethora of collaboration features. A sense of community is important because students who feel connected to their peers and instructors and find purpose in learning are less likely to cheat.

Leverage the limitations of technology

AI has its limitations. Engines like ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Microsoft Bing are mostly trained on open-access content and cannot produce optimal responses from paywalled materials.

> Also, currently, AI applications have difficulty writing on very recent events and local issues, since their output depends on their ability to tap into multiple resources on the same topic.

Educators can use these limitations to their advantage by creating assessments around recent events and paywalled content available in university libraries. They can further authenticate student submissions by having the students produce their own perspectives on these topics as part of the assessment.

Use content similarity detection software

Content similarity detection tools can identify plagiarism or copyright infringement instances across a wide range of resources. Trainers can utilize them effectively to pin cases of academic cheating and ensure authenticity in student submissions.

Authorise limited use of technology

Since it is now impossible to exclude technology from education, trainers can partially use instructional technology and AI applications after establishing strict usage limits.

Higher institutions can conduct on-premise assessments by erecting relevant firewalls on the organisation’s systems and setting time limits on student submissions.

Enlist assessment platform services

Assessment platform services can help schools and higher learning institutions devise innovative assignments that evaluate students on parameters such as creativity, analytical thinking, and design thinking. It is near-impossible to cheat in assessments designed around higher-order thinking skills.

Many assessment platforms have integrated proctoring tools such as custom timers, plagiarism checkers, browser lockdown, and automatic impersonation detection to minimise malpractices.

Invest in remote proctoring technology

With online and blended learning becoming a norm, remote proctoring is set to play a vital role in ensuring authenticity in education. The online proctoring market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.4%, reaching USD 1187.57 million by 2027.
Remote proctoring technology acts as a virtual invigilator during online assessments. Remote proctors use audio and video surveillance devices and cutting-edge cheat-detection software to monitor online examination candidates.

Online proctoring can be live, recorded, or automated, depending on the institution’s needs and the assessment type. AI proctors are enabled with the following capabilities:

    • Facial recognition technology to verify the student’s identity and to rule out the possibility of candidate switching during the exam
    • Audio surveillance feature to record the candidate’s voice and all ambient sound
    • Eye movement and facial movement detection to check for any suspicious behaviour or red flags
    • Live environment scanning features
    • Automated data analysis

Remote proctoring allows online learners more flexibility during virtual assessments while assuring educators of the authenticity of student submissions.

How can Infosys BPM help?

While the primary stakeholders in the education system are educators, organisations providing the edutech platform solutions are equally responsible for ensuring the integrity of the education system. The services offered by Infosys BPM could become the USPs of edutech platforms.

Explore all the assessment platforms for teachers from Infosys BPM here.

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