Approximately 80 per cent of students are enrolled in online classes at Red Deer College. (Photo contributed)

Red Deer College keeps an eye out for online cheating

Video taping students an option during testing

Smaller class sizes, and multiple ways of assessing students, may be helping to deter online cheating at Red Deer College.

A University of Calgary researcher recently said some Alberta post-secondary institutions have reported large increases in academic misconduct during the pandemic.

While no single factor contributes to, or prevents cheating, research shows that when students have a connection with their teacher, there is less misconduct.

“When teachers show they care about students, then students show they care about learning. When you have smaller classes, there’s often less incentive, because students feel like human beings,” said Sarah Eaton, an associate professor at the U of C’s Werklund School of Education.

At Red Deer College, about 80 per cent of students are enrolled in online classes.

Despite the switch to online learning, Maureen Toews, associate vice-president of teaching, learning and research at RDC, said concern about cheating has not grown among instructors.

“Most of our class sizes are in the 40- to 60-student range, so instructors really know their students,” Toews said.

“We try to use many different methods of assessment, depending on the course, so that we get a flavour of the student’s progression. Usually, instructors are pretty good at being able to flag when they see something that is problematic.”

She said to help prevent cheating, instructors can lock down students’ browsers and computer monitors during online testing. Student activity during tests can also be tracked via web cam.

“(The web cam) is available and used, but instructors do let students know that they can opt out from a privacy perspective. In cases where students aren’t comfortable using that tool, they can access an alternative assessment.”

Exams can also be arranged to give students just enough time to finish if they have properly prepared, she said.


Red Deer College enhances online class experience

Red Deer Public Schools balancing in-class and in-home learning

Brittany Lausen, president of the Students’ Association of Red Deer College, agreed that cheating isn’t a big problem.

The students’ association provides support to students accused of cheating, or those going through the appeal process.

“It’s still early in the semester, but we have not had any cases, or anything reported to us, as far as academic dishonesty,” Lausen said.

However, she does have some concerns about the lock-downed browser. Students may be flagged for cheating for looking down at a piece of scrap paper, or if they leave to use the washroom and forget to send a message, she said.

The association is in the process of researching different online testing options.

“But any instances that have happened, Red Deer College faculty have been so accommodating. To my knowledge, there haven’t been any instances that weren’t cleared up with a simple follow-up conversation.”

Lausen said failing technology can also cause problems during exams, and insufficient bandwidth can force rural students to find somewhere to do tests in Red Deer, such as booking a space at the RDC library.

Eaton said misconduct data at the U of C was not yet available, but a variety of issues can play a role in cheating, such as students feeling stressed, parental pressure, the maturity level of students, and more.

“Many students have no experience taking online classes. There is lots of research to show that young people can have more ability with technology, but they have ability for things like gaming and entertainment and socializing.

“Those skills don’t automatically translate into learning, or learning in a school-like environment,” Eaton said.

There is also the misconception that all academic misconduct is deliberate, she said.

“Sometimes, they are student mistakes. They might make mistakes with citing or referencing. They might not know what they can share or what they can’t share, what’s OK to do.”

Eaton said cheating is a global problem that Canada has been slow to address, but last year, the Alberta Council on Academic Integrity was set up, and similar councils operate in Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba.

“We’re starting to build this momentum across Canada that will allow us to take these systematic and unified approaches.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusRed Deer CollegeSchools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cilantro and Chive was voted in the top three in no less than 13 different categories in the 2020 Best of Lacombe Readers Choice Awards. Photo by Megan Roth/Lacombe Express
Cilantro and Chive opening in Red Deer

There will now be two Cilantro and Chive locations. The restaurant announced… Continue reading

People wear face masks as they wait to enter a store in Montreal on October 24, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canadian provinces hardest hit by COVID-19 reach sobering milestones

MONTREAL — The Canadian provinces hardest hit by the global COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal study details workers hit hardest by tax, benefit system for extra earnings

OTTAWA — Newly released documents show Finance Department officials calculated that workers… Continue reading

Cenovus. (The Canadian Press)
Cenovus to buy Husky Energy in deal valued at $23.6B, company will remain in Alberta

CALGARY — Cenovus Energy Inc. is buying Husky Energy Inc. in an… Continue reading

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 10:49… Continue reading

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
John Horgan says he will work across party lines to find ideas that work for B.C.

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s election results show a divided province with Liberal… Continue reading

President Donald Trump gestures from the top of the steps of Air Force 1 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. When people in the United States talk about moving to Canada to escape four more years of Donald Trump, it’s usually either a punchline or a pipe dream. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Susan Walsh
Move to Canada? A pipe dream for some Americans is a parachute for Canadian expats

WASHINGTON, Wash. — When people in the United States talk about moving… Continue reading

The Cogeco logo is seen in Montreal on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially facing higher taxes as the possibility of a contested U.S. presidential election appears to be fading, say investment experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Patrick Semansky
Markets concerns about contested U.S. election fading with Biden lead in polls

TORONTO — Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially… Continue reading

(File photo)
Ontario records more than 1,000 new daily COVID-19 cases for first time

Ontario is reporting more than 1,000 mew daily cases of COVID-19 for… Continue reading

Pope Francis delivers his message during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope names 13 new cardinals, includes US Archbishop Gregory

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Sunday named 13 new cardinals, including… Continue reading

Dave Mercer, President of Unifor Local 2121, overlooks Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Terra Nova floating production vessel that is anchored there on Friday, October 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
As N.L.’s oil industry sputters, the emotional toll of the cod moratorium looms large

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Dave Mercer spent the early 1990s roaming around… Continue reading

Most Read