Is Your Moodle “Cheatable”?

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Here’s a cool resource I picked up around the twittersphere last week which helps to “score” your Moodle classroom based on how easily it is to cheat or game the system as a student.  It asks simple questions like how much of your course is assessment based, how the assessments are setup, if you use the same test pools every year, if students can take exams more than once, how long they’re open, if they are proctored, etc.

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The Rubric is available at http://jaredstein.org/cheat/ and you can check out Jared Stein’s Cheatability Factor Presentation at http://jaredstein.org/pres/cheatability/. Mr Stein works for UVU as Director of Instructional Design Services.

What the tool is getting at is the randomness of questions posed to students and what type of opportunities, if any, students have to cheat or collaborate on independent work. While most questions are straightforward there was the occasional curveball like this, “Could students find a paper on the topic just through Google? Or does the paper require individualized selection of topic, interpretation, analysis, and reflection?”  Not quite a yes/no question (but those are exactly the answer choices you have).

I checked out an English Composition course I’ve just finished developing and scored a 64% of 100 (I think higher means less cheatable).  The feedback provided suggested that I focus on the following:

  • Don’t keep your gradebook online only; keep a separate copy of student scores is on paper or on your local computer.
  • Maintain a high level of instructor presence. Don’t appear to be absent from the course or uninvolved in activities.
  • Discourage cheating through your attitude. Carry through with ethical scholarship.
  • Use open-ended or “essay” questions in quizzes and exams.
  • Always ensure instructor generated load is appropriate for efficient learning at the course level and credit hours.
  • Analyze student log and performance stats to look for curiosities and irregularities which may point to cheating or course design flaws.

Which are some solid considerations for an online course.  Is your course cheatable?