One of the “Ugly American” questions that I asked at the “Making the Move to Hybrid & Online Courses” seminar that I went to yesterday was that one I picked up from Margaret Soltan: Basically, how do you know that the person on the other end of the computer is the same person who’s registered for the course? I actually got a half-decent answer, although it raises another problem.
I’ll paraphrase: If you have a lot of money, you can buy students biometric equipment that will prove it’s them. You can also have the same kind of questions that you have to answer to get access to your online bank account pop up in the middle their exams – Stuff like “What is your mother’s maiden name?” In places where many students might be located in one place, like Afghanistan, you can set up proctored tests the old-fashioned way.
Apparently, the better way to phrase that question would be, “What is the online education industry standard for test security?” That issue hasn’t been settled yet.
During the break, our online education person told me about a service she saw at a conference in Madison (Go Badgers!) where if students pay $14.95 per exam, this company will send a 360 degree camera that they can attach to their computers that will make sure it’s them.
On the one hand, I’m glad to hear that some people in the online education industry are beginning to address this huge potential problem. On the other hand, I’m saddened that in order to address this problem, they have to look to George Orwell’s “1984” for guidance.
Funny how we don’t have this kind of problem in bricks-and-mortar education, isn’t it?