The world is now moving towards the digitalization of exams due to several reasons, pandemic is one of them. Developing technology proved its another importance to the world when there was no choice but to conduct online exams. All educational institutions shifted their education to online platforms.
When it comes to conducting online examinations, certain educational institutions are faced with the issue of cheating by students. The transfer of physical education to online and distanced education created the need for an appropriate system to conduct the exams of the students who are studying online. This has become a resourcing problem particularly with the use of software or apps like Zoom or Google Meet to tackle online exams. This exigency alerted the online marketing companies to develop software that could be helpful for the institutions in conducting the online exams. Then the different companies developed software for online proctoring service called online proctoring system.
An online proctoring system is an online service that is used to conduct the exams online in the presence of a real person who will supervise the exam conduction via your webcams. Several companies are offering online proctoring systems today with lots of benefits and great assistance to the teachers and students. But when we come to this that why this system needed to be developed? The main reason was to make online scrutiny possible among students. But still, we can see the cheatings made by the students to crack their exams in the online proctoring system. What are the means and techniques that the students use to cheat during the online proctored exam; we can get a better idea from this article.
Before we go forward to the techniques or methods used by the people to cheat in an online proctored exam, one thing should be clear that there is no intention to provide you the material to the other students or candidates and provoke them for cheating. We do also condemn cheating in the exams and prefer that there should be measures to make scrutiny of these activities.
Intercepting the Video Feeds:
While in an online proctored test, this can be counted in a prominent and sophisticated way of cheating. It entails holding software between the proctoring software and the computer’s webcam. The proctoring program uses the camera to track the candidate’s behavior and actions that could indicate misconduct during an online test during proctored exams.
When the proctoring program tries to get a camera stream from the webcam placed on the candidate’s laptop, it is intercepted and replaced with a prerecorded stream from a “virtual” webcam. ManyCam or Videos Converter Ultimate is a good example of software that is in use by the students to falsely crack their exams.
Since candidates will prerecord their streams taking the actual test and use apps like Videos Converter Ultimate and ManyCam to deceive the proctoring software, this is an effective technical tool. When taking an online test, students should report themselves surfing the internet and what is doing deemed appropriate. They submit the already streamed video as their automatic video stream after filming it. After that, they are free to cheat however they want when taking an online test.
Use of external projector:
Enabling the external projector is a method of mirroring the primary display with various displays. The candidate would make sure that the simulated pictures are facing away from the webcam in this situation. Just you and your intelligent mates on the other side of the room should be able to see those videos. Your friends should be prompted to discuss or study the images that are projected, and the images should concurrently signal you a response.
During the online exam, candidates should stop making any unwanted motions that might raise doubt. If more than one candidate is taking their online test on the same screen, make sure there are no digital traces left behind, such as browser cookies or the use of the same IP addresses.
Dual operating system:
This is a highly specialized technique in which a candidate will simultaneously execute two operating systems on the same machine. This technique is used to deceive the online proctoring system by noticing your screen activity. One OS powers the CPU in this case, while the other OS can be minimized like a computer application. Your machine can function like two computers in this situation, and a wise buddy will sit on the other side and take the exam for you. The key operating system will handle the webcam by which the proctor is monitoring your exam, while the rest will be handled by the other operating system working in the background. If you’ve never aware of virtual computers before, don’t be concerned. It’s a technological item that would enable you to read how it functions and what uses it has. These kinds of software and systems are used by the students to bluff the online proctor exam. The examples of taking advantage of this technology by students are given below:
Creation of Whatsapp group:
First of all, a special WhatsApp group is created by the students supporting the question paper pattern when a group of students plans to crack the exam by cheating. The group setting is changed as only the admin can send the message in the first half of the paper. In the first half, solutions are provided by the admins of the group and other students get benefitted from these solutions. The second half allows the other students to send messages in the groups about their queries and doubts they are facing in attempting the exam.
Cheat sheets for quick search:
This type of cheating can only be done in the dual-operating system. When you are giving an exam then you don’t have much time to find a single topic by reading the complete notes one by one. Then students make a complete PDF file by merging the all files. When they get any question they search it in the background operating system just by putting the keywords in the search box. They find this method very helpful to save their time.
Using Google assistant:
While during the exam, candidates don’t have enough time to type the question stated or spoke by the proctor. Then the candidates use Google assistant by just repeating the question of the proctor and they get the search results on their screen. Mostly the excuses made by them for repeating the question or speaking it loudly is Sir! ‘’there is distortion in your voice.’’
Changing the Camera Angle:
Students find this as the most basic step to crack the exam by cheatings. The online proctoring system tries to find the surroundings of students clear and should not be assistive for their exam. That’s why students change the camera angle in a position in which they can hide those parts of their surroundings which they are using for their cheats. These parts of their surroundings could be anything like their co-workers, texted documents, or labeled material.
Blurring the webcam using transparent tape:
As many students are aware of strategies used by the online proctoring system they try to get escape from these regulations. Online proctoring systems notice the eye movement of the candidates during the exams. To get rid of this, candidates put transparent tape on the webcam to make their picture blur and make their eye movement unnoticed. With the help of this technique, they could be able to get help from other people or any other external resource present in their surroundings.
Non-technical approach to cheat:
Using an actual notebook or a portable laptop is one of these methods. Since the proctoring app uses the camera to track the eye and head motions, you can use a notebook or a tiny laptop to look for answers on the main laptop. That’s because, from the webcam’s viewpoint, the tiny laptop or notebook would be below the plane of vision. Candidates can also conceal their expressions by wearing sunglasses. Even though we’ve addressed different methods of cheating during an online proctored test, you can continue to maintain intellectual integrity. That is not an appropriate way to appear in the exam.
There are still those who don’t understand how technology works, even among the technology-savvy students who use slashing technologies to crack the regulations. Some students took photos of the test by holding their phones up to their computer screens. They had overlooked that webcams can be used in both directions.
There are other methods and options in the latest technological devices but unluckily they are not aware of these. Proctors may use keystroke assessment to find anomalies as student’s type. Live proctors will normally say the difference between a student typing a response and a student attempting to take a screenshot.
Old school tricks:
Despite advancements in online learning, some cheaters still would-be tend to avoid detection by following a more conventional route. We’ve witnessed students scribble notes on their palms or tape notes to screen monitors, much as they would in a college classroom, and then return to them during the test. They are also unaware that online proctors pay careful attention to the surroundings of students. Also, digital systems provide face recognition and tracking technologies that can identify when examiners leave the field or turn their heads for a specified amount of time, alerting staff to possible problems.
We cannot find any law that says you can’t keep hydrated the candidate when taking an exam, but we have witnessed students use liquids for more than just hydration. That’s the case with one of the test takers who scribbled notes on the inside label of a two-liter bottle and cup he was “drinking from.” It might be a tried-and-true approach from in-person testing, but it won’t get past a vigilant camera equipped with biometric imagery, which posed concerns about why a test taker kept staring at a container.
Covering the co-worker:
Some students use different objects like the furniture to hide from the system; closets, chairs, and beds can all be used as hiding places for exploiters. Blinds, on the other hand, may be the most adaptable piece of furniture.
One student sought the help of a classmate, who answered questions in hushed tones from behind the blinds. However, just because you can’t be seen there is no conformity that you are safe. Proctors may be alerted to unusual sounds using high-quality audio detection in both live and automatic proctoring.
Others work alone: one student taped the responses to the room’s translucent vinyl blinds. Sadly for him, students must show online invigilators around their test-taking area before each exam to ensure that nothing is missed. One has to ask how well the student would have done on the exam if he had spent his time learning instead of devising such a complex scheme.
Students also aim to remain ahead of the game by using technologies. One person used a Bluetooth headset to communicate with a friend present in an adjacent room. Unluckily, webcam-developed technology has progressed though too, and the proctor was quick to notice it. When asking if he had something in his ear, the student dropped the headset on the ground, not so subtly (like it was never there).
Multiple logins by the candidates:
Candidates often log in with the right candidate identification to get started on the exam, and then drag it to a buddy to take the test on their behalf. Candidates tend to log in with the connection they were given and pass it over to someone else who would take their exam after the preliminary screening, and sometimes use proxy for the exams.
These candidates don’t know that a reputable online proctoring service reports any irregularities also during the test if they found any change in the IP address or specific location of the candidate.
The certain newer online proctoring systems will go a step further by introducing software that will restrict test access to a single link. This ensures each candidate’s specialties and codes will only be used once, after which they will expire. The examiner must create a new relation and code to log in again. This prevents impersonators or more than one user from taking the online test.
Exams are designed to fairly assess a student’s ability. The test results would be misleading in representing their skill if the exam’s fairness was undermined. Apart from the incorrect assessment of students’ academic success, deception raises other issues that you should be mindful of as an educational institution.
This is the need of the hour or likes no-choice for us during the pandemic that our education system is shifting to e-learning. Educational institutions trying hard from their side to make this system better with the involvement of technology and on the other side candidates or the students are putting their all efforts to find the easy and short way to crack the exam by cheating.
People will try hard to discover innovative ways to get escape from the rules for each new online test proctoring technology. Still, with all of their creativity, the cases above shared have one thing in common: the cheater was found guilty in any situation. We can never get rid of stories to share about the ingenuity of online test cheaters. However, we must not allow these infractions to deter online learning from achieving its full potential as a scalable and sustainable gateway to higher education for those who need it most.
In the end, it should be noted that is any type of exam is a punishable offense. These kinds of misconduct should never be tolerated which spoils the fairness between the students and damage the infrastructure of the education system.