How to Prevent Online Learners from Cheating?

Bao-xun HE


Cheating is prevalent in online learning. Copying answers of objective questions and subjective questions, and browsing (not carefully watching) videos are the main forms of cheating in online learning. These cheating will bring poor learning results, the decline of online teaching quality, and the unfair online learning. Non-technical and technical preventive ways, to a certain extent, can play a role in preventing cheating. Facing the browsing videos cheating, a new technical strategy, Embedding Questions in Videos (EQV), was used. This strategy involves it automatically pause playing video, pop up questions embedded, and wait for the students submit correct answer to continue learning. We use a small-scale experiment to verify EQV and estimate its effect on our online course, named Educational Technology, for 154 participants of sophomore pre-service teachers. We identify EQV that can lead to two-up and one-drop: increase the total page traffic (132% of average) and the ruminant ratio (jumped from 106% to 130%), and decrease task completion rate (dropped from 100% to 78%). However, this strategy does not significantly improve the performance of the learners. Although EQV has shown value for preventing learners from cheating, it also has certain business risks and is not necessarily widely adopted by online course platforms. Stakeholders need to find some delicate balance between difficulty of learning and learner loyalty, between difficulty of curriculum and teaching quality.


MOOC, Online learning, Cheating, Embedding questions in videos


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