Online University WGU’s Strategy For Fraud-Free Test-Taking

Online universities have become unusual as extra students are looking for handy, bendy methods to earn degrees. They are popular among nontraditional students, like new parents who want to take lessons at their tempo or full-time specialists who need to take evening publications to advance their careers.

Western Governors University (WGU), a nonprofit online college based in Salt Lake City, was founded in 1997 by 19 governors of western U.S. States to create a skilled staff. The college now serves those who want to take online lessons, grading them with a competency-based device that calls for them to illustrate that they have found the specified substances.

But how do educators ensure students are not cheating their approaches to levels if all instructions and tests are conducted remotely? Maureen O’Brien, WGU’s director of evaluation management, these days informed PYMNTS how the college verifies its college students and how it balances the need for authentication effortlessly of use.

Trust, But Verify

One of the most significant styles of training-related fraud is as easy as it is conventional: students sending a person else to take assessments for them. This sort of fraud performed an excellent-sized role in this year’s widely publicized college admission scandal. Wealthy dad and mom took advantage of lax authentication processes and paid surrogates as much as $75,000 to take university admission assessments for their kids. This trouble is exacerbated in a web environment, wherein employees cannot physically check identity techniques.

WGU utilizes several techniques to make sure check-takers are who they are saying they are.

“To get into the testing, they log in with their signal-on credentials, [including] their precise user ID and password,” O’Brien stated. “They have to show a government-issued picture ID [to a proctor on a webcam], and the call has to fit the call inside the scholar account.”

Students can, without problems, offer those facts to accomplices, which means in addition verification measures are essential. WGU used to depend upon keystroke biometrics, which affirms users through reading typing patterns and geo-referencing them with students’ gathered data. O’Brien said that this application had many flaws and did not match the university’s needs, resulting in its termination.

“We got lots of fake positives because it turned out humans typing after they’re not stressed [exhibit] one-of-a-kind behavior from after they’re harassed,” she stated.

The college started using a webcam-primarily based device in 2015. WGU students have issued an external webcam that they’re required to use rather than their laptops’ built-in cameras. The cameras meet sure dimensions and specifications, allowing proctors to screen test-takers, verify their identities and ensure they’re now not cheating.

“We accept as true with the outside webcam gives us the first-rate view of the trying out environment,” O’Brien said. “First, the proctor greets the pupil. Then, they do a 360-degree test of the environment, so the students can’t have notes published up at the wall.”

The digital camera’s audio is likewise vital in the prevention of dishonesty. Proctors can concentrate on what’s happening inside the check-takers surroundings and ensure that the pupil doesn’t have an off-display screen partner telling them the solutions.

“The proctor can listen to what’s happening inside the room,” O’Brien stated. “If there’s some disturbance or anything, the proctor can always halt the exam and inquire with the scholar or do an additional test.”