No teacher wants to collect a test only to discover that one or more students have cheated! This is one of the worst feelings that a teacher can experience.
For most of educational history, our only choice to prevent cheating has been to watch our students like a hawk during every test to make sure that there’s no funny business. Unfortunately, new technology has made it even easier for students to cheat with smart phones and other devices.
On the bright side, technology can also make it easier for teachers to detect cheating! There are a lot of great tools out there to help curb cheating without needing to rule your classroom with an iron fist.
I’ve looked at a lot of technology that promises to help detect and prevent cheating. In this article, I’ll tell you all about the best option in my opinion. You may be familiar with this technology; it’s called Moodle. To date, there have been around 36 million courses created in Moodle by teachers n 247 different countries!
Read on to learn all about how Moodle can help you prevent cheating in your classroom.
What is Moodle?
Moodle is a great online tool that has been helping people in a variety of fields teach content to others. Using this program, you can structure your lessons easily into different modules for your students to work through at their own pace. There are some great reviews of Moodle that say it’s a site that can’t be beaten!
It is simple and easy to use, so it’s a great option for online learning. I was able to get my first Moodle classroom set up in no time at all!
If you’re just starting out with Moodle, check out this great YouTube video! This tutorial will guide you through the process of using the Moodle program to set up and run your class effectively and easily.
For an even more in-depth look at the Moodle program, check out this tutorial. In this demonstration, you’ll learn everything you could possibly want to know (and more) about running an online class through Moodle.
Students also take their tests and quizzes through Moodle, which can save valuable class time by having students take tests on their own time. However, this feature also has many teachers worried about students cheating while they’re working online.
Cheating is a big problem
When using Moodle, some teachers are concerned that the format makes it easier for students to cheat. Because students use the program to do assessments on their own time, the teacher can’t observe them to ensure that they aren’t using outside resources during the test or quiz like we can during in-person classes.
According to this survey around 33% of students have admitted to cheating during an online class. However, only about 2% have actually gotten caught while cheating. That means that a lot of students are getting away with cheating during online courses.
Can Moodle Detect Cheating?
Luckily, Moodle is ahead of the curve when it comes to detecting and preventing cheating.
One way that Moodle can help a teacher prevent cheating is by providing additional statistics about each student’s performance, such as how long they spent on each question. If a student takes a particularly long time on the questions, that could be a red flag that they are cheating. In my experience with using Moodle, this information can be a great resource for keeping cheating to a minimum.
Moodle’s statistics can help you run your online classroom in a bunch of ways!
Are you looking for even more control over what happens during your exams? If so, Moodlewatcher may be a great option for you! In Moodlewatcher, you can make sure that you’re aware any time that certain events take place during an exam, such as:
- when a student submits an assessment
- when a student accesses resources
- how often a student accesses forums
You need to create a rule in Moodlewatcher so that you receive notification about these different events. Learn how to set up rules on Moodle’s website.
These rules can provide vital information that can help detect cheating. For example, you will be able to tell immediately if a student accesses course materials that could be used to cheat in the middle of taking an exam.
9 Tips for Preventing Cheating
In addition to using Moodle’s tools, there are other ways to set up your classes to prevent cheating.
1. Set Timers
If you place time limits on each question, students won’t have time to consult other resources while taking the test before the time runs out.
2. Format Questions Differently
Some students will screenshot test questions so they can ask others for help or easily look up answers. Only putting one question on each page makes this way harder to do because they can’t capture a bunch of questions at one time.
3. Make Questions Harder
If more of your test questions focus on application instead of basic recall, cheating using other resources won’t help students much. Even if the book is right in front of them, they’ll still have to understand the concept to get the correct answer.
As you can see, designing your curriculum well is the best defense against cheating. If you’re interested in learning about instructional design, check out this article for information on great instructional design courses. You can also see examples of high-quality instructional design portfolios here.
4. Make a Question Bank
If you make bank of questions, students will get random questions from the bank in a random order. This makes it harder for them to work together to cheat on answers because their tests will all be different.
5. Use Plagiarism Detection Software
For essay questions, you can use plagiarism checkers such as
- Quetext, and
These resources check student answers against web pages and articles so you can tell if they’ve copied material from another source.
6. Embed Items
If you embed texts or videos in an iframe, you can set it to disallow copying and pasting to make searching for answers in another browser harder.
7. Disallow Changing IP Addresses During Tests
Forbidding a change in IP address will prevent students from opening other web pages during the exam to search for answers on the web.
8. Use Safe Exam Browser
Using the Safe Exam Browser feature during tests turns any computer into a secure workstation, preventing students from accessing outside resources while they’re taking the test.
9. Check Cheater’s Forums
If you have a student who is a habitual cheater, they may go online to look for and share tips for cheating during exams. You can check these forums yourself to learn new ways that students may attempt to cheat and figure out ways to combat them before your next exam.
Are you still concerned that your students will cheat during your online exam? Check out the YouTube video below for even more great advice on preventing cheating during online tests.
- Can professors see what you access on Moodle?
- How to create users in Moodle?
- The 15-minute guide for teachers on getting started with Moodle
- A guide to building a new course in Moodle
Cheating during online classes can be a big problem. However, that doesn’t mean that you should give up on the online platform entirely. Technology can make classes fun and engaging. For example, check out this article to learn about great animation software that can make your online presentations even more exciting!
If you’re excited about using online tools to teach but worried about cheating, never fear! Just follow the advice in this article to keep your students honest even when they’re far away from your all-seeing eye!