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Comments The growth of the online education market appears to have spun off another, more surreptitious market — one that goes beyond the paper-writing services long available to less than honest students — and online educators are taking note.
The description of one site, wetakeyourclass. We know some people have trouble with numbers. We are here to help. Most sites promise at least a B in the course. Much about these sites is unclear. E-mails and phone calls from Inside Higher Ed went unanswered — and some of the sites have received negative customer reviews.
Some seem to be run by the same person or group of people, and two of the sites, wetakeyourclasses. Some do get good reviews, however, and at least one online forum includes comments from students who say they have successfully used an online class-taking service.
Either way, administrators are concerned, seeing the emergence of these sites, scams or not, as a harbinger of an online education black market.
Charter Oak is a fully online institution, and relies on a three-step process to try to ensure that the person who registers for a class is, in fact, the person who completes that class, according to Zematis.
First, there is an initial identity check. If a prospective Charter Oak student cannot answer the questions generated by Acxiom, the student can call the registrar, who will look at the information in Acxiom and ask different questions.
If the student still cannot pass, Charter Oak will accept a notarized copy of a passport or other government-issued ID. Zematis admits this system is not foolproof, but says it helps spot potential cheating. If there were enough assignments, tests, or required discussions, then, using an online class-taking service could become prohibitively expensive.
Designing a course that precludes cheating might require thinking creatively and breaking away from simply uploading lecture videos and administering quizzes, said Kyle Johnson, an independent higher ed consultant. Some institutions do require students to video conference in to a class, which presumably would make hiring a surrogate to take the class more difficult.
Others use two-factor authentication systems, which might require a student to know something and to have something in order to log on.
For example, some online courses send students devices that generate a random string of characters, and to log on the student must enter their password and the characters. This method can be expensive, though Zematis suggested it might become more common as the same technology becomes available as a smart phone application.
Though preventing cheating and fraud has been an ongoing conversation in online higher ed, Kelton said sites like We Take Your Class change the game slightly.
With the sheer number of students taking online classes, too, Johnson notes that if even one percent of students cheat, it is a significant number.
Zematis notes, however, that cheating can happen in face-to-face classes, too. Though he believes online classes need to be held to the same standard as in-person classes, he hopes the threat of sites like We Take Your Class will lead to innovation within online higher ed, not to over-regulation.Desert Typing Racer.
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Welcome to my online math tutorials and notes. The intent of this site is to provide a complete set of free online (and downloadable) notes and/or tutorials for classes that I teach at Lamar University.I've tried to write the notes/tutorials in such a way that they should be accessible to anyone wanting to learn the subject regardless of whether you are in my classes or not.
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