Online Exam Taking – When sharing becomes cheating, thank you Google

In today’s digital age, when files are sent at the click of a button, pictures of tests are texted around the room in seconds and screen shots of text books are readily available. Where is the line between sharing information and flat-out cheating? Years ago, it was easy to tell if a student did the leg work and studied for an exam vs. just cheated and got the answers. Today, with online education taking over, how can teachers tell if students are learning or just regurgitating what they find online.

Every student has cheated in some form or fashion, but is googling the questions for an online test cheating? When googling a question on an online exam, are we cheating or just using our resources to solve a problem? If all of our brain’s neuron maps begin to lead problem solving to the answer of google, are we really learning? For that matter, do students really learn from online classes in the first place?

Unless online course tools begin to take over the IP address of the student’s computer, and block out everything except for the online exam, we will never be 100% sure if the student is answering the questions from memory or from searching the internet. Google is a very useful tool, and the only downside I see from using it as often as we use it, is that there will come a time where it won’t be available, or even worse, won’t be free. When that day comes, who will remember how to solve problems the old fashioned way and who will be lost… Which will you be?


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