Exam fraud using chegg.com

We have received information on increased attempts to commit exam fraud from several other public universities. The majority of the fraud cases come from online exams conducted either as take home exam, open book exam and other forms of high stakes examinations conducted online. 

There are several websites and services that are associated with this fraud, one notable example is chegg.com which is a study help website based in Silicon Valley. The fraud happened especially during extended online exam time frame, when students have enough time to upload their questions into the study site and receive answers prepared by expert tutors from the platform. The turnaround time between the upload and the answers given can be as quick as two minutes and the platform boasts that their tutors will normally take an average of 46 minutes to respond to questions. The figure below shows the chegg.com/study website where students upload their questions. 

UM views the use of chegg.com, and other similar websites/applications, during an assessment/ examination as being a form of fraud/cheating because students are presenting work or solutions sourced from such websites as their own during an assessment/examination. Thus, it violates the true measure of students’ achievement of the intended learning outcome(s).  More specific practices that are not acceptable are: 

  • Unauthorized use of electronic aid during an assessment/examination 
  • Using another person’s answers for an assignment/examination 
  • Collaborating with another, without prior permission from the course lecturer/instructor in preparation of an assignment or during an examination 

The subscription fee to access the expert tutors is USD 14.95 monthly. However, an investigation found that students can purchase an access code for as low as RM2.00 on shopee.  

The way the chegg.com platform works is – the paying students upload their exam question on the chegg study website either via writing in the search text box or uploading pictures of questions through the mobile app. These questions will be picked up by the expert tutors in the platform and solutions will be provided to the students. Non-paying users can also upload questions into the platform but they will not be able to see the answers until they pay a subscription. 

chegg advertisement in shoppee

Apart from this, online cheating services are openly advertised in social media by unscrupulous individuals or organisations as shown in the following: 

There are already suspicious incidents reported within UM where lecturers found their students’  submitted answers to be identical to those on this website. 

We take academic integrity and exam fraud very seriously and therefore issue this alert so that all examiners check for potential fraud. All types of questions can be uploaded to the platform but calculations based questions are especially susceptible to fraud attempts. 

The University is putting in-place a secretariat, to help examiners check whether their exam questions were compromised during the exam period. Examiners DO NOT have to pay for subscription to view the answers as this service will be provided by the secretariat when the examiners found that their questions were uploaded to the platform. 

Chegg.com 

To check whether your exam questions have been compromised, sign up to the platform by creating a user account. 

Follow the instructions for registration. They will ask you to create a password and to select options such as the level of study and university (choose My university is not listed-no Universiti Malaya not listed). The platform will not request for any payment at this point. Complete the registration until you reach the page below: 

You can watch the video guide provided by ADeC below or do the following: 

  1. Type in your questions in the Search textbox. Look if your questions have already been uploaded. Mobile phone users may upload a picture of the question. 
  2. If your question is found to be uploaded please report it to ASP, with the:- 
  • exact question text, and  
  • the url of the question search. 
  1. The secretariat will download the solution provided by the platform tutors with UM’s own paid account on chegg and return it to you for checking against student answer scripts. 
  2. Note the matric number of the students with matching answers to the response by the platform tutor and resubmit to the secretariat email above for further action. 
Click on the video link and view this in UM’s Microsoft Stream channel or click the link below.

https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/6aec2298-ad17-4571-8c5d-c0768b4dfda1

Coursehero.com 

In Course Hero platform students can use the 24/7 Homework Help to upload and ask the ‘expert tutors’ answers to your assessment questions. 

To check whether your assessment question was uploaded in the 24/7 Homework help page, input your question in the enter question box, select subject and course information. It is possible to sign up and not having to pay to upload questions for the tutors to answer.

Our latest check reveals that even to preview tutor answers are now requiring paid account in Coursehero. Therefore if you suspect that your student has compromised your exam here, please report to the secretariat at ASC and they will be able to check your suspicion with UM’s paid account for Coursehero.

There are several other homework platforms with the ability for the students to upload questions and get ‘experts’ from within the site to help the students answer, however, these 2 are the most widely used so far. Other known study help platforms include StuDocu, Studypool and several others.

Respondus eProctoring tool

Students summative assessment during the time of pandemic is challenging to both educators and students. Sit-down invigilated/proctored exam has become impossible logistically for the university with so many variables that could not be confidently managed. For some educators, shifting their assessment practices to alternative assessment is challenging due to several factors such as the context of the learning outcome, requirements of the accreditation bodies, even their lack of confidence and competency to create an authentic and alternative assessment that could replace the traditional ‘exam’.

Although critics of the exam practice will argue that exam is not a true measure of students comprehension rather than the ability to regurgitate facts presented during class, and that this pandemic is the chance to get the paradigm shift, not everybody will be ready to accept the abrupt change in assessment.

Online exam is fraught with challenges. For the educators, it is not easy to write an exam question that is suitable to be administered online where students will not be supervised against cheating and collusion. For the students, the heavy reliance to exam to assess outcome and the threat of not knowing if their peers are up to no good becomes a pressure that may compels most except those with integrity and honesty from attempting to cheat.

The university has detected several cheating attempts reported by lecturers marking online exams during the last 2 semesters during the pandemic. Two themes have emerged, the first where students collude by taking the exam together as a group, and the second by employing help from online tutoring website like chegg.com. It is therefore a necessity for the university to take action to create a level playing field in online exam practice through the instatement on an eProctoring tool.

Respondus

Enter Respondus Monitor and Lockdown Browser. The AI based online proctoring tool is designed to automatically monitor student’s behaviour when taking online exam using webcam and lock student’s computer except the browser they are using for the online exam.

The proctoring tool is installed on top of the existing SPeCTRUM LMS and is available for use with the Quiz function. The lecturer only need to enable both or only the Lockdown Browser according to the student’s circumstances and the needs of the exam. However, for best effect, it is encouraged that the combination of Respondus Monitor and Lockdown Browser is used for online exam. The short video below shows how the system works.

Lockdown Browser

LockDown Browser is a custom browser that increases the security of online exam in SPeCTRUM. When students use LockDown Browser to access a quiz, they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, access other applications, or close a quiz until it is submitted for grading.

Tests created for use with LockDown Browser cannot be accessed with standard browsers either. LockDown Browser works much like a standard browser, but some options have been removed or work differently. The list below highlights some of these differences.

  1. Modified Toolbar – the condensed toolbar includes only Forward, Back, Refresh, and Stop functions.
  2. Test Mode – tests are shown full-screen and cannot be minimised, resized, or exited until submitted for grading.
  3. Disabled Controls – all printing, keystroke combinations, screen grab, function keys, and right-click menus have been disabled.
  4. Links – links to other web servers will open in a new, secure window and prevent browsing beyond that page. 
  5. Blocked Features and Applications – the Start button (Windows), system tray, and menu bars have been removed. Hundreds of screen capture, messaging, screensharing and network monitoring applications are blocked.

Respondus Monitor

Respondus Monitor, a webcam feature for LockDown Browser that records students during online, non-proctored exams. When this feature is enabled for a test, students are required to use a webcam and microphone with LockDown Browser. After the exam is complete, an instructor can review details of the assessment, even the recorded videos.

Further information for lecturers can be referred on this link. https://web.respondus.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/RLDB-QuickStartGuide-Moodle-Instructor.pdf

The system is initiated by first installing the Lockdown Browser into the computer that will be used to take the online exam. Windows and Mac based PC can use the system as well as iPad. So far Android based system are not supported.

Setup for Educators

After thorough consultation with exam management stakeholders, it was decided that the proctored online exam shall take place in a special separated SPeCTRUM platform that hosts only the relevant assessment module to be used to ensure system stability and to enable specialised support to be given for educators and students taking the exam.

The eproctoring system can be accessed by first enabling the Respondus Lockdown Browser in the Add a block menu and then opening the Respondus Lockdown Browser dashboard.

Then, the eproctoring setup can be configured as detailed in the following video (note that although the instruction video uses Canvas LMS, the interface after the dashboard will look exactly the same):-

Be sure to have a conversation with your students and communicate the requirement with respect to the use of webcam and mic for the Respondus Monitor. Students must install the Lockdown Browser in their PC to enter the exam. It will not be accessible otherwise.

The setup for timing, submission and question behaviour will be based on the Quiz module setup. Please refer to our existing blog posts (click the titles) to review the how to’s:-

  1. Using SPeCTRUM Quiz for summative assessment
  2. Question types in SPeCTRUM Quiz Module
  3. Tips on conducting test/quiz/exam using SPeCTRUM LMS

It is highly advisable that educators conduct mock tests with the students so that they will be sufficiently prepared with the Lockdown Browser installed in their PCs and that their webcam and microphone is functional for the actual high stakes eproctored exam.

Setup for students

Students will be prompted to install the Lockdown Browser in their PCs. The prompt to install will be available the first time they attempt a quiz with Lockdown Browser requirement and the installed Lockdown Browser will be available everytime when it is needed without having to be reinstalled. The next time an eproctored quiz is initiated and the computer already has Lockdown Browser installed, simply click the “Launch Lockdown Browser” button.

A quick start guide is available from this link: https://web.respondus.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/RLDB-Quick-Start-Guide-Moodle-Student.pdf

The video instruction below shows the introduction to the Lockdown Browser for students.

The Academic Administration & Services Centre (AASC) will be responsible to provide the policy for electronically proctored exam conduct that students need to adhere to, such as toilet break period, internet connectivity issues, ID requirement, flagged incidents etc.

After the exam is completed, the students just have to submit their answers and close the Lockdown Browser. The recorded behaviour during exam will be available for the lecturer to review if needed, and will be analysed by the AI system to produce the class result priority ranking. Students with no recorded flag by the system will be flagged as low priority and normally will not need reviewing by the lecturer.

Respondus Monitor and Lockdown Browser have been used worldwide since 2012 by 2000+ institutions, and have been administered to millions of exams. It has also been used in Malaysia by USM. Students don’t have to worry about installing the Lockdown Browser or enabling the Respondus Monitor as the installation is safe and the monitoring will last only until the exam is over. The system is EU GDPR and U.S. Privacy Shield Framework compliant. It can also be safely installed and uninstalled many times in the PC and Mac systems if needed, and the Lockdown Browser is regularly updated.

Further Reference

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/05/11/online-proctoring-surging-during-covid-19

Remote learning: thinking about the learning, space & technology design

Remote learning is a new drive by the university to democratise the access to Universiti Malaya for the global audience. The learning is remotely done by ‘students’ who can’t physically register as a residential student at the university because of space constraints. Our lecture halls are not that big, there is only one that can support more than 450 students, several with 300 seating, most can hold less than 150. Generally the bulk of our classrooms can accommodate only 30 – 50 students.

So what does it take to support remote learners who will join the class, alongside the residential (face to face) students, in a way that they can feel immersed in the learning experience? We will discuss in this post, aspects that should be present to make remote learning work.

Pedagogy

Having remote students that takes part in the learning process together with face to face students in real-time requires the educators to design a hybrid solution within the learning environment. They need to make sure that the learning will be inclusive and neither of the groups will be left out especially in the learning interaction.

The best learning design facilitates all students to mix freely together although it is done in a different medium and different circumstances. Remote students should not fell left out because they are not there in the same physical space with the educator and the rest of the class. The impact of the perceived feeling of being left out will turn off remote students from participating, and the class may loose out on the added value that remote students may bring to the classroom and to the entire learning experience.

The residential students, since they are face to face with the educators are not under threat from the hybrid learning process, as the educators will likely depend on them to gauge the effectiveness of the teaching delivery more so that the remote learners.

Who are the potential remote students? They may be international students who are living abroad, and could not travel to Malaysia for any reasons. They could be disabled students that wishes to live with their carers. They could be working adults interested in getting specific skills to advance in their chosen career. They could be student who choose to get a degree from Universiti Malaya, but cannot leave their family because they are the designated carers for an ill family members.

These group of people can bring diverse perspective to the classroom, and open up possibilities that could be harnessed and maximised by creative and innovative educators to enrich the learning experience for all the students than that of a homogeneous classroom in a face to face session only.

If we take Laurillard’s Conversational Framework as a starting point, we immediately can see that interaction between learners are an essential part of learning. In this sense, diversity have the potential to multiply the learning experience when the educators is able to leverage and draw from that diversity for the benefit of the students.

Diana Laurillard, The Conversational Framework. See also http://buildingcommunityknowledge.wordpress.com/ http://t.co/xzouU73dBd. Originally tweeted by Diana Laurillard (@thinksitthrough) on 4 December, 2013.

Operating a hybrid class with real-time remote learners will be challenging, but it should not be impossible. The keyword that will make this word is interactivity and collaboration, assisted with technology.

Interactivity can be designed with participant response system that is available now such as mentimeter, slido, kahoot, and others like like it. There are too many to mention! The thing is, with an online interactivity tools, everybody will be included within the same virtual space that breaks down the barriers between the face to face students and the remote students.

Collaboration. Again technology bridges the learners geographical divide by putting everyone is the same space. The collaboration here can extend to the learning process itself in facilitating collaboration through discussion, practice, even in producing the articulation of learning by students to match the concepts that educator wants the learner to be able generate at the end of the class. Collaborating on learning activities can utilise web2.0 tools like Miro, Dropbox Paper, Padlet, Microsoft 365 Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Google family of products. Collaboration can be designed where remote and residential student should be encourage to from groups together, using collaborative app to bridge their barriers.

Assessment is an area that must be redesigned properly to celebrate both the remote learners and the residential learners. A simple and straight forward approach is to have the remote learners head to examination centres to take exams, or offer remote proctoring system for this purpose. However, we could design an authentic assessment by drawing explicitly from the perspective of the remote learner within the context of the outcome that we want to assess.

Space

The classroom for the hybrid learning must be designed specifically to enable learning to happen successfully for both the residential student as well as the remote student. The room itself should be a collaborative learning room where the furniture is set up as a learning space. This means the tables and chairs are highly mobile and can be configured and reconfigured quickly.

Mobile furniture for learning space

What this brings to the learning experience for all is that discussion and activity groups may be formed effectively, with mixed discussion can be held between the residential and remote students, in their own private sphere, in order to interact with the educators learning task and assignments. Educators will be able to reorganise the groups quickly according to circumstances and attendance especially on the remote side as attrition rate is known to be higher among remote learners.

What about lecture halls? Can group collaboration happen in a lecture hall setting? The case study of the collaborative lecture theatre (completed 2011) at Loughborough University Design School auditorium proves that collaborative learning can be designed and implemented in lecture halls as well.

Loughborough University design school auditorium (Burwell Architects)

These type of of layout is gaining popularity especially as the focus of teaching and learning at higher education level shifts from sage on the stage to guide on the side.

Technology

Technology is an important enabler for remote learning to succeed. This investment comes at a cost, but done properly will amplify the success of the remote learning approach many times over.

As remote learners, trying to engage with the educator and their classroom based colleagues, audio and visual feed from the classroom will be vital. Ideally, they must have an overall view of the class from multiple angles, and user selectable feed from the main projection screen, the whiteboard or writeable surfaces if it is used in the classroom and any other input sources. In addition, they should always be able to see the educator. For this, an investment on an automated camera that ‘always follows’ the educator when they roam within the classroom is needed.

Residential learners have an advantage as they could switch between ‘inputs’ via their field of vision but remote learners must be supported as they are viewing and listening in the session through their screen devices, that may well be just a small smartphone screen.

It will not be enough if only the voice of the educator is heard by the remote learners. They need to be able to hear and participate in the exchange between the educators and residential students in the classroom. Instead of a single microphone pinned to the educator, a microphone array system has to be part of the learning space design, where it will be able to pick up conversations from the entire learning space, respond to questions, join in the discussions and express their opinions.

A ceiling microphone system for mid-size room

The bandwith requirement to support all the learning activities stated above have to be taken into account when designing the space or upgrading an existing space to successfully serve the function of the hybrid learning classroom. Otherwise, it will impact on both the residential as well as the remote students negatively, jeopardising the learning experience for all involved.

All this technology enabler must not burden the educator, having to learn how to push buttons to make things work. The technology provided should be seamless, allowing the educator to focus on their main task, to facilitate learning.

As a summary to this post, remote learning presents a significant potential to the learning experience the university can provide to students. However, careful thought and planning, followed by wise and informed investment is the key to its success. Training and adequate support must be provided for educators who choose to go down this route to ensure success worthy of a world class university.

Turnitin Assignment in SPeCTRUM

Turnitin is part of the assessment activity within SPeCTRUM. Other assessment types are Assignment, Quiz and Workshop. What sets Turnitin apart from the other assessment activity is, Turnitin is a licensed application based on UM subscription to the service. For the use UM staff and students, 10 thousand licenses are provided.

The Turnitin that is provided within SPeCTRUM is not separated from the Turnitin web application. Once you have created a Turnitin assignment inside SPeCTRUM, the same assignment can be seen if you login to Turnitin web with your UM login. However, it is not possible to create a Turnitin assignment in the web version and have it appear in your SPeCTRUM as the Turnitin will not be be to know which course in SPeCTRUM you are associated with.

Turnitin is especially useful for essay or text based work that you assign to students. This is because once the work is submitted, the system will compare student’s submission with the whole of internet and flag similarities between the work with any articles available on the internet. It will also compare student work with previous submissions in Turnitin (this setting may be turned off). This capability is enough to deter students from copy pasting their essay from different sources.

However, educators are reminded that the system is not perfect and may sometimes flag silly similarities like lecturer names, assignment title etc. Therefore, it is advised that the similarity index to be reviewed before any decision to reject student work is taken. Please refer to our previous post, Turnitin – what it is and what it is not.

Creating a Turnitin Assignment

To create the Turnitin assignment, as usual go to the +Add an activity or resource button and choose Turnitin Assignment from the module list, then click add. You will be taken to the page below where you are going to choose the set-up for your Turnitin assignment.

New turnitin assignment in SPeCTRUM

The Start Date, Due Date, and Post Date is set here. We received quite a number of query regarding the meaning of the Post Date. The post date is the date we choose to post the marks for the students to see, even if we have marked their work before the post date.

What most educators are interested about is the Originality Report Options settings. Although the setting options are self explanatory, the settings here can greatly influence the similarity index that will appear with student submission.

What I normally set is as follows. Reports generated immediately and student papers are always stored. The small matches works best at around 8 – 12 words, although even then, the system still picks up my name, university name and essay titles for some of the submissions.

Other than this, educators are free to choose the rest of the settings, although my personal preference is to mark against rubrics. The Grademark Option is used to set rubrics for assessment. This feature is easy to use with pre-formatted rubrics that educators could choose from as well as the ability to repurpose what is available and to create a new rubrics from scratch.

Rubrics chooser in Turnitin settings. You can use your own or choose/customise the existing template.

Student submission will be collected using the submission link in SPeCTRUM and the educators will be able to see the list of student’s submission along with the submission date and the similarity index. Late submission will be shown in red. It is also possible to create a peer marking assignment from this page where educators can instruct students to review and give marks to their peers.

The page also allows the educators to go to the Turnitin’s Feedback Studio to start marking their students work. Just click on one of the submission title to open up the Feedback Studio page.

Submission inbox page in SPeCTRUM

Marking students work

What I like about Turnitin for marking is it allows for several ways of reviewing and giving feedback to students. The 3 main methods are QuickMarks, Feedback Summary, and Rubric.

Quickmarks allows for specific feedback on words, sentences and paragraph. Great for commenting on format, grammar, citation, spelling and arguments. The educator just have to highlight the problematic parts and click on the pre-prepared quickmark to apply it.

Feedback Summary enables the educator to give text feedback or to record audio feedback to the whole submission. This is the feature I like most as I could give authentic and specific comment of the student work.

Rubric marking uses a sliding scale to apply marks against a set criteria chosen by the educator during setting up of the essay work. Once the scale have been allocated, the marks can be applied and it will be reflected in the student gradebook in their SPeCTRUM page.

Feedback Studio page in Turnitin

Hopefully the educators visiting this blog will be able to capitalise and make full use of the features available through the paid Turnitin licences that the university subscribes.

Turnitin – What it is and what it is not.

Turnitin is a software that is able to detect and highlight similarities between student work to available internet resources and submission repositories. Therefore it is largely being used to detect plagiarism and to ensure originality of student essays and academic work. In the event that student work is used for assessment marks, is it simply that when the “similarity index” score is above 25%, the student have plagiarised their work?

Having been a Turnitin user for several years for assessing student writing skills and academic integrity, I can say that the answer is not as straight-forward as it may seem. In Universiti Malaya, Turnitin is integrated into our moodle based LMS and accessible to the educators for all of their courses. Having been training fellow educators nationally in the use of technology since 2014, there are some misconceptions that needed to be corrected regarding the use of Turnitin amongst educators.

Turnitin: what it is

Apart from being able to highlight the comparison between student submissions and reference materials from the internet and submission repository online, Turnitin also helps educators with grading and feedback. The feature that I value the most from Turnitin is the ability to record a personalised audio feedback to each of the students regarding their work.

Similarity Report

Care has to be taken when viewing the similarity report generated by Turnitin. What it does is simply flagging the similarity of student work to other resources for us TO REVIEW. It does not detect or check for plagiarism. That job still resides with us the educators. So it is wrong to assume that when the similarity index is high (usually >25%), there is blatant and willful plagiarism on the student side.

I have seen many instances where my name, the course title & code and the essay title being flagged as a matching or similar text. These needs to be reviewed and excluded from the similarity score. So too are the direct quotations within quotation marks (where appropriate) and sometimes small matches in typical sentences. These are all up to the educators to review and excluded from the similarity index.

The highest matching text index would normally come from student re-submission of their original work following a review and critique by the educator. Another usual suspect is the reference list at the end of the essays. Due to standard formatting for reference citation, these could cause high matching text that Turnitin flagged.

Rubric based grading

The rubric based assessment is one the more useful feature within Turnitin. This allows for marking against rubrics to be applied for student work. In the Turnitin feedback studio, the feature is applied as a slider based on the pre-determined rubric criteria and scales by the examiner. The rubrics can be imported and exported as an *.rbc format file from various internet sources, and modified to suit the context of the work.

Turnitin has a selection of basic rubric within the platform but with the create rubric /import feature, educator could use their own preferred rubrics or to develop their own set within the Turnitin application.

Feedback summary

The feedback summary module is highly useful and impactful for student learning to give personalised feedback to the students regarding their academic work. Educators could choose either the text comment or the voice comment but I personally prefer the voice comment feature as typing takes a lot of time and there is no way to prepare a standard reply (like the quickmark function) that could be selected for the students.

The voice comment saves time and allows for a more targeted and contextualised feedback to each student. The maximum recording time is 3 minutes, which is more that enough to give pertinent feedback for student work.

Turnitin: what it is not

As stated earlier, Turnitin is not a plagiarism checker application. What it does is to compare student submission with matches from the Turnitin database. If the student copies and translates from an old printed reference from a different language, turnitin will not be able to detect it. Rejection of a submission should not be based on the Similarity Report index percentage at face value as the discussions above have shown.

Those examining the student work HAVE TO REVIEW the matches and make a professional judgement as to whether plagiarism has taken place, and to exclude invalid matches if the similarity score forms an important part of the assessment. Only after a review will the Similarity Report be fair for the students.

We will be discussing the use of Turnitin via the SPeCTRUM LMS in a separate article. However it is important that the principle of use is described and understood by all so that no party will be disadvantaged and the application can be used to help educators facilitates student learning effectively.

Educators using Turnitin are advised to refer to the resources provided by Turnitin via THIS LINK to inform them on the proper use of the application.

Disclosure notice: I hereby declare no conflict of interest in this article pertaining the use of Turnitin application. I have no affiliation with this company or any of its rival companies.

Tips on conducting test/quiz/exam using SPeCTRUM LMS

We received quit a number of questions by our educators who opted to use the Quiz module to assess students outcome. We believe the answer to these questions will benefit all SPeCTRUM and Moodle users in general.

Tip No 1 – One question or many questions per page

To support students access especially if your question contains heavy elements such as image or video file and the best way to control cheating is to go for the one question per page layout.

The one question per page layout will enable the questions to load faster as the system will only load and show one question at a time to the student. Imagine a scenario where the examiner sets multiple questions heavy with image elements embedded into them. The student would have to wait for the questions to load in poor internet connectivity or they are using an old mobile device to access your assessment.

When student answer, the cycle repeats where the student device will have to upload all answer to the LMS system, at once.

To control cheating, again, if multiple questions are shown at the same time to students, the likelihood of similar question appearing for students increases because of the limited number of question available for the system to show.

In summary, we highly suggest that one question per page layout is used.

Tip No 2 – How do I make sure the assessment question will not be accidentally shown to the students before time.

There are a few settings that you could enable to avoid this. We will explore this one-by-one.

Timing

The timing settings controls the time the quiz module opens. The students will not be able to see the quiz question (although they will be able to see the quiz module on their SPeCTRUM) until the set time when the quiz is scheduled to open.

Timing settings

What the student sees when they click on the Quiz link will be the view below, mentioning that the quiz is currently unavailable.

Student Quiz view, before the scheduled time.

Hide from students

In the Common module settings, the examiner may select Hide from students in the availability option. This will make the link to the quiz dissappear altogether from their course page.

Hide from students menu

After you have saved this option in the quiz settings page, and preview the Quiz as a student, you will find that the students won’t see any trace of the Quiz on their course page.

Student view in the course page
Educator view in the course page

Restrict access

Access restriction settings may be applied on the Quiz module, for the date and time set by the examiner. We suggest that if you want to use this feature, the date function is used, although this will have a similar effect to the Quiz timing function.

Access restrictions settings

The students will see a message on the course page saying that their access is restricted and they will only the able to access the Quiz module after a set date and time.

Student view of the restriction on their course page. The quiz link is greyed out and unclickable

Tip No 3 – I have students taking my Quiz from a different country. Why do they receive a timeout error?

SPeCTRUM is set to the Kuala Lumpur timezone which is GMT +8. So any student who resides in a different timezone will need to follow the same timing when they take the Quiz to avoid this issue. As an example, the student is logging in from Dubai which is GMT +4, they will have to wake up and take the Quiz at 6.00 am their time if we set the start time to 10.00 am KL time.

These questions are the most popular queries we have so far. If you have any more questions, please comment below and we will update this page to answer those questions.

Online final assessment submissions using pdf files

When teaching and learning processes moves online as a result of covid-19, inadvertently, student assessment will also need to move online. Among the ways that assessment can be carried out, are by student submission of essays.

Now when final assessment via online submission is conducted by the educators, extra care has to be taken as it is normal that the marks for the final assessment can be significant. Therefore to both the students and the educator, it can be a high stakes endeavor.

To minimise risk to both parties, when the agreed method is for students to submit a typed answer to the examiner, or to submit a scanned hand-written answer, it is suggested that either the submission is done via a text entry box in the LMS or via pdf file upload to the examiner through the LMS.

Why *.pdf? this is because:-

1. Pdf format does not allow for easy editing by both parties. It can be termed as a flat document.

2. Most normal pdf readers work on a read only basis, with editing function only accessible with license software or special function

This way, students cannot claim that their submission has been tampered with by the examiner after submission.

Both student and examiner must also have a process of recording and confirming receivership of the assessment. The examiner must make sure the submission is received and confirmation of receivership is acknowledged back to the each student personally.

Using word processor on PC/Laptop

Student can write/create their answers in normal word processors like Microsoft Word. However, when saving the file to be submitted to the examiner, the student can save their file directly into pdf using Microsoft word “Save as Adobe PDF” function as shown below.

Save as Adobe PDF in Microsoft Word

This file can be opened using any PDF reader software such as Adobe Acrobat Reader or Foxit Reader.

Using pdf scanner on mobile phones.

PDF converter can also be installed into smartphones and used to scan answers written with pen and paper. There are some examiners who wishes to have the student to answer the take home exam as handwritten answer (probably due to the need to incorporate and draw graphs etc), and then have these answers submitted to them.

Submitting an image file for this purpose may consume large amount of memory capacity, and in places where network connectivity is challenging, trying to upload large files may fail. Therefore capturing the answer in a PDF scanner will help with keeping the file size down, and at the same time, preserve the legibility of the handwritten answers.

Among popular pdf scanners are Office Lens by Microsoft, Adobe Scan by Adobe and CamScanner. Office Lens and Adobe Scan have an added benefit of being able to be integrated with users existing Microsoft and Adobe accounts, enabling the files to be saved in the account’s cloud storage.

The links below shows how a user uses both Office Lens :

https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/274b71bd-eb95-42bd-9a41-de3c7f7542a5

and Adobe Scan :

https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/83f62c93-dbd5-423d-a6e5-708e66f54f0d

to scan a handwritten document in multiple pages and save it into the phone and even email it and share it further.

iOS devices

iOS device users may use the built-in Files app to quickly convert a document or handwritten notes into PDF format. The Files app will automatically save the scanned document as a PDF that could be shared in email or uploaded to the LMS.

Similar with the apps shown above, corners could be adjusted after scanning to focus on the exact area to be saved.

Screenshot on how to use Files on iOS. Massive thanks to Dr Abdullah Al-Hadi for his kind help in sharing this resource and guide for iOS devices.

Real world application for mobile phone based scanners

Apart from the pressing need to enable student to capture their exam answers and transmit/submit it to the examiners, you will find this application becoming handy to do other things.

Adobe Scan can actually find and copy text using optical character recognition (OCR) technology similarly with Office Lens. Office Lens went a step further by having the option to convert the scanned page directly as a word file.

Saving options in Office Lens application.

Hopefully this short guide will help some of you to plan and execute your final assessment with your students, or at least opens up possibilities in using scan to PDF application in your mobile phones.

UM FutureLearn Campus

FutureLearn is UM’s MOOC platform partner since 2016 and we have 2 popular courses currently running there which are:-

This year 2020 we plan to run several new courses such as Islam, Jihad and Extremism, Fun in Korea, Clinical Audit, and the university has also strategise using FutureLearn platform to create and offer microcredential courses.

As a response to the challenges faced throughout the world due to covid-19, our official MOOC platform is offering UM staff and students completely free access to a collection of short online courses. FutureLearn Campus courses are aimed at undergraduates and faculty staff, as well as people learning for fun.

You can do the course entirely in your own time, at a pace that suits you (and you’ll get a certificate at the end too)

Visit https://www.futurelearn.com/campus/universiti-malaya to know more and to verify your student or staff status and gain free access to FutureLearn Campus.

Microsoft 365 Student Rangers Contest

Attention all UM students.
Would you like to win 1 of 3 stereo gaming headset worth RM200++?
We would like to invite you to join the Microsoft 365 Student Adoption Program where you could win this prize by completing a Minecraft for Education mission using your UM’s Microsoft 365 account.
All you need is a Windows 10 device!

As part of the university’s drive to optimise the use of the Microsoft 365 account available free for all staff and students, Microsoft is sponsoring a student adoption contest for active UM students at all levels of studies.

undefinedStudents who joins the student adoption program event and completes the mission task in Minecraft for Education will stand to win 1 of 3 pair of Logitech G331 Stereo Gaming Headset!

There will be an online event to kickstart the program to be held on 9 June 2020. The details are as follows:-

Date : 9 June 2020
Time : 2.00pm to 5.00pm
Teams meeting link : UM Teams Meeting

During the event, you’ll explore the use of your free Microsoft 365 account, facilitated by the team from Microsoft. We will be showcasing the latest Office app, OneDrive app & Teams app. An announcement of the Student Rangers Contest will be made.

INTERESTED STUDENTS PLEASE REGISTER HERE.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU LOGIN WITH YOUR UM 365 ACCOUNT.

In preparation to join the session on Monday, 9th June please pre-download Microsoft Teams Apps in your device (click here to download) and pre-download Minecraft for Education in your device (click here to download)

  • If you encounter any issues registering, please leave a reply below.

Question types in SPeCTRUM quiz module

Assessment of, for, & as learning can be achieved using the quiz module in SPeCTRUM. This is possible with the extensive question tools available and the useful feedback input in each of the question types.

There are currently 15 question types that is available for educators to choose from when designing their assessment. Out of this 15, only the Essay type needs manual marking, the other 14 is auto-marked by the system.

Question types ranges from the ever popular MCQ (multiple choice) or True/False, right down to more complex options like Calculated and Embedded answers. Questions can be also be set visually like Drag and drop into image.

Question selection window in SPeCTRUM

Each question have to be set by according to suitability and needs of the educator. It is encouraged that questions are varied and more than 1 type to be used in a single session. Using the auto-marked questions frees the educator from having to manually go into the system to review student answers.

The quiz could be made useful to benefit student learning. Educators should by as much as possible design the feedback input so that students can gain learning even when answering quizzes and exams online. The key to good and useful feedback is not to say ‘wrong, try again’ but to give explanation why the answer might be wrong and to encourage student to rethink their answers.

Example of a useful feedback, programmed into the questions

Let’s look at all the question type one by one. The text in this section is copied straight from Moodle documentation pages. Clicking on the question type heading will take you to the relevant page in Moodle guide. Youtube guide showing step-by-step instruction to set-up the question is also included.

The videos will come from multiple different sources from different learning institutions and may not be similar to our system. Don’t worry about it as the question interface will be the same.

Multiple Choice question

Moodle provides teachers with a lot of flexibility when creating this common question type. You can create single-answer and multiple-answer questions, include pictures, sound or other media in the question and/or answer options (by inserting HTML) and weight individual answers.

True/False question

A student is given only two choices for an answer in this kind of question: True or False. The question content can include an image or html code.

When feedback is enabled, the appropriate feedback message is shown to the student after the answer. For example, if the correct answer is “False”, but they answer “True” (getting it wrong) then the “True” feedback is shown.

Matching question

Matching questions have a content area and a list of names or statements which must be correctly matched against another list of names or statements. For example “Match the Capital with the Country” with the two lists “Canada, Italy, Japan” and “Ottawa, Rome, Tokyo”. In the Quiz Module, each match is equally weighted to contribute towards the grade for the total question.

Short answer question

In a short answer question, the student types in a word or phrase in response to a question (that may include a image). Answers may or may not be case sensitive. The answer could be a word or a phrase, but it must match one of your acceptable answers exactly. It’s a good idea to keep the required answer as short as possible to avoid missing a correct answer that’s phrased differently.

Numerical question

From the student perspective, a numerical question looks just like a short-answer question. The difference is that numerical answers are allowed to have an accepted error. This allows a fixed range of answers to be evaluated as one answer.
For example, if the answer is 30 with an accepted error of 5, then any number between 25 and 35 will be accepted as correct.

Essay

The essay question type provides the option of answering by uploading one or more files and/or entering text online. (For longer essays, text or file uploads, you may wish to consider using the Assignment activity rather than this question type.)
Essay questions are created in the same way as other quiz question types. The difference is that essay questions have to be marked manually, and the student will not get a final grade until the teacher has marked their essay.

Calculated

Calculated questions offer a way to create individual numerical questions by the use of wildcards (i.e you can use common variables names as x , y enclosed in curly braces to create the wildcards {x} and {y}) that are substituted with random values when the quiz is taken.
For example, if you want to create a large number of “Calculate the area of a rectangle” problems to drill your students, you could create a question with two wildcards (i.e. {base}, {height} created from the common base, height variable names) and put in the “Correct Answer Formula=” input field {base} * {height} ( * being the multiplication sign ).

Calculated multichoice questions

Calculated multichoice questions are like multichoice questions with the additional property that the elements to select can include formula results from numeric values that are selected randomly from a set when the quiz is taken. They use the same wildcards than Calculated questions and their wildcards can be shared with other Calculated multichoice or regular Calculated questions.
The main difference is that text and the formula can be included in the answer choice as {=…}.

Simple calculated questions

Simple calculated questions offer a way to create individual numerical questions whose response is the result of a numerical formula which contain variable numerical values by the use of wildcards (i.e {x} , {y}) that are substituted with random values when the quiz is taken.
The simple calculated questions offers the most used features of the calculated question with a much simpler creation interface.

Drag and drop into text question

A drag and drop question type where missing words have to be dragged into gaps in a paragraph of text.

Drag and drop markers question

This question type allows students to drop markers onto an area on a background image. Drag and drop markers questions differ from Drag and drop onto image question type in that there are no predefined areas on the underlying image that are visible to the student.

Drag and drop onto image question

This question type allows students to drag words, images or both from a list and drop them into pre-defined gaps on a base image.

Embedded Answers (Cloze) question

Embedded answers (Cloze) questions consist of a passage of text (in Moodle format) that has various answers embedded within it, including multiple choice, short answers and numerical answers.
Until mid2013, there was no graphical interface to create these questions within your Moodle site – you needed to specify the question format using the text box or by importing them from external files.
However, the flexibility of the Cloze question type is hard to equal and despite the minor coding that you need to create the questions, it has great worth in the Moodle Quiz.

Random Short-Answer Matching question

From the student perspective, the Random Short-Answer Matching question looks just like a Matching question. The difference is that the sub-questions are drawn randomly from the Short Answer questions in the current category (including or not subcategories from the current category).
After an optional introduction, the respondent is presented with two or more sub-questions, each with a drop-down menu box opposite listing the same number (or fewer if several sub-questions have the same answer) of available answer options.
The respondent must select an answer option to match each sub-question.

Select missing words question

This is very similar to the Drag and drop into text question type, but uses drop-down menus in the text instead of drag-boxes. This works well where the question text is very long and you would have to scroll a lot to do drag and drop.

There might be better instructional videos available so just search in Youtube by typing Moodle + the question type you want, you should find plenty of other instructional videos than the ones listed here. Additionally the University of Massachsets Amhurst has also published a quite an extensive moodle quiz guide available HERE.

Hopefully this slightly longer post will help you to choose the right question types to be used for online assessment. Happy quizzing!