How to stop cheating in MOOCs

  • Service Levels: Network up-time is absolutely critical for business continuity. Interruption of tests and loss of data owing to electricity outages, software crash, server trouble etc. are absolutely off-limits. It always does well to look into the assessment partner’s system-reliability and backup plans for these tight spots.
  • Skill Simulators: Some learners have to be assessed on specialized skills such as Coding, Managerial acumen, Spoken language skills, Data/Spreadsheet/Accounting knowledge etc. A good assessment platform should be able to seal the gap between theory and practice. EdX recently introduced an artificial intelligence software to grade essays and short answers, made available free on the web. The same software will also give instant feedback and allow them to re-write the essay. “Students are telling us they learn much better with instant feedback” says says Anant Agarwal, president of edX.
  • Learner Engagement: Since MOOCs are entirely online, a great end-user experience is one that involves no downloads, no installations and smooth access to learning via any internet-enabled device (laptops, phones, tablets, etc.). Assessments should also integrate seamlessly into the online course rather than being conducted offline in separate exam centers.
  • Test Score and Analysis: Last but not the least a good online assessment partner should be able to provide a comprehensive assessment with proper analysis and insight of the score reports. The insights should be clear actionable results showing micro analysis like average time spent on a question to macro analysis like comparison of pass/fail rate among different batches.

The biggest pitfall of disorganized assessment is, of course, its impact on the brand of the MOOC as well as the university. A certificate from an institute is more a testimony to the institute, not the candidate.

There exists a parallel line of reasoning that advises bypassing of grades, and let the course’s objectives be achieved through peer assessment and the student’s laurels.

Assessment is becoming an all-important aspect of the Best Practices of Online Learning. It most certainly pays to map all of these factors, weigh their pros and cons against the MOOCs vision and take an informed decision about an online assessment partner.

This article originally appeared on Mettl’s blog.

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