Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Addressing student cheating in Google Apps

Modern technology provides schools with amazing options for the "4 C's" - Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Critical thinking.

Unfortunately it also provides new opportunities for a fifth "C" - Cheating.

21st century technology gives students new ways to plagiarize or share work. As more and more schools embrace technology, Google Apps, Chromebooks, and more, what are we to do to address the issues of academic integrity?

I recently recorded a one-hour webinar on this topic. In the video training we take a look at cheating as well as possible options to help address the issue. These include non-technology options, as well as technology tools and resources that can help prevent or investigate cheating.

You can watch the video below, access the linked resources for the session, and read an abbreviated overview of the webinar content in the rest of the blog post:

Session Resources

Watch the Video

Non-technology options
  • Change the assessments we give
    • We need to move toward assessments that do not lend themselves to cheating.
    • We can either reduce the motivation to cheat, or reduce the ease of cheating.
    • For formative assessments we can: Reduce the points it is worth or not count the grade at all. This can reduce the incentive to cheat for a better grade.
    • For summative assessments we should ask higher level, open ended, divergent thinking questions, with wider range of ways to show understanding (writing, video, presentation, etc.) This can reduce ease of cheating.
  • Provide multiple checkpoints during the course of a project.
  • Teach students about ethical usage of technology.

Technology options - Preventing Cheating
  • Use a tool such as Google Classroom or Doctopus to manage assignments.
  • If giving an assessment with Forms
    • Collect usernames
    • Use bright theme (to see if students leave quiz)
    • Shuffle questions
    • Shuffle answers
    • Turn quiz on and off
    • Learn more about Forms here
  • If using Chromebooks you can use the SecureQuiz kiosk app to lock down the browser so students can not leave the quiz they are taking. Details at: http://securequiz.com/
  • Teach students to cite their sources with tools:
  • Use tools that include the student personally:

Technology options - Investigating Cheating
  • Version History - Use version history to:
  • Also use Draftback extension to play back changes - Chrome Web Store link
  • Searching for Source - Run a Google search on suspicious text:
    • Choose a sentence or more. Put quotes around the text to look for an exact match.
  • Check Sharing - See who the file has been shared with using Drive tools:
    • Share” button - who currently shared with
    • View Details” button - all past sharing changes
    • Google Admins can check sharing - From the Admin Console, choose Reports, then Audit, then Drive, then search an owner or title.
  • Undelete Files - Google Admins can restore deleted files
    • From the Admin Console, find a User, choose Restore Data, then Drive and date range
  • Search terms in files - Google Admins can search for words or phrases in all files
    • Go to Google Vault, run a search on Drive, in an Organization, with the Terms you want to find

Do you have suggestions for addressing cheating with students using Google Apps? Please add your ideas and resources in the comments below.

Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at twitter.com/ericcurts and on Google+ at plus.google.com/+EricCurts1


  1. Thank you for all of your hard work. Will be sharing with my staff!

  2. The Draftback addon really takes advantage of Revision History - you can see the writing process and view charts of time taken to create a document. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/draftback/nnajoiemfpldioamchanognpjmocgkbg

  3. This presentation will be great to share with teachers and students. Thank you for sharing the information.

  4. This was very beneficial, Eric. Thanks! Have you had any experience integrating Classroom with Canvas? I would like to share documents with students through Classroom, so that I have all this access to view/edit/comment, but I would like for them to turn work in on Canvas. That way I have all the commenting/highlighting tools etc. in Speedgrader as I am grading work. Any thoughts or ideas are appreciated!

  5. Student cheating is a very serious issue. Here you can read how to catch a cheater with mobile spy apps

  6. This is so good. I'm glad you posted this. It is easier for me to send this information to individuals than to explain that the quiz that a teacher has been using for the last 10 years isn't going to cut it. :)

  7. I hope that they can be able to determine students who committed this kind of act, especially that it's totally a bad thing that they should be continuing to do just to pass their examinations.

  8. Thank you for posting this, I have struggled with this a bit in a 21st century tech pilot classroom. Cheating has certainly become more sophisticated. GoGuardian is helpful but we have not yet signed up for the service, and who knows if we can even budget that. This was helpful, thank you!

  9. Thank you for this, always good to know ways to stay on top of this