With thousands of miles and computer screens separating some massive open online course (MOOC) students from their instructors, it’s not always easy to tell if students are who they say they are.


edX will experiment with webcam monitoring.

When the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and edX roll out new MOOC completion certificates to accompany more involved and time consuming courses next fall, they want to make sure students who are receiving certificates are the ones who did all the work – and they’re looking toward webcams to make this happen.

“This is all an experiment,” said Steve Carson, external relations director at MIT OpenCourseWare. “We’re trying different things and looking at what learners are interested in– what kinds of certificates do they want, what kinds of programs are they pursuing.”

Read more about online test and course monitoring…
Top 3 solutions to online cheating

Online education has for years faced questions of legitimacy as colleges and universities search for ways to ensure the validity of students’ work. From keystroke software to programs that shut down students’ web browsers during exams, online educators have fought cheating in myriad ways.

Webcams are becoming an increasingly popular solution.

The certificates will be available for completing MITx’s “XSeries” sequences. Every sequence will contain content from two to four traditional courses and take between six months and two years to complete.

The sequences will comprise of short modules that may pull from a existing courses, but have no face-to-face equivalent on campus, Carson said.

See Page 2 for details on the new verification process.

About the Author:

Jake New

Jake New studied journalism at Indiana University, where he was editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student. At the IDS, Jake covered the IU administration, minority student issues, and state education policy. After a brief stint at the Bloomington Herald-Times covering IU, crime, and local politics, Jake interned at the Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington D.C, writing about online learning, open-access policies, academic publishing, and ed-tech startups. Jake joined eCampus News as an assistant editor in May 2013, where he continues to cover technology and higher education. His days often begin with a cup of coffee and the sinking feeling that another MOOC story is just around the corner. Follow Jake via Twitter: @eSN_Jake

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