Academic Continuity in The Event of an Emergency Situation

Reducing Cheating when using myCourses for Exams and Other Online Assessments

myCourses has a Test feature that allows instructors to author multiple types of questions easily. The options available within tests that allow you to control when each test is available and what is released to students. 

Although it may be difficult to prevent cheating entirely, instructors can implement steps to reduce its impact in the assessment process for online courses. The following are some practical tips to reduce cheating on online tests.

  • Mix Objective and Subjective Questions - Subjective questions may demand a deeper understanding of the subject being tested, are difficult to cheat on, and can offset the impact of cheating on objective questions.
  • Use Question Pools, Question Sets and Random Blocks - Rather than using a fixed number of items that remain unchanged for each administration of the test, consider creating a question pool. Questions can be grouped by any number of criteria, including topic, subject matter, question type or difficulty of question. 
  • Randomize Questions - There is a test option that allows you to randomize the selection of test questions as well as the order in which they appear. This strategy can address the issue of students who take a test at the same time in order to share answers.
  • Set a Timer - Students who are adequately prepared for a test may be less likely to rely on open book/notes compared with students unprepared for testing. NOTE: All accommodations authorized by the Services for Students with Disabilities office must be adhered to in an online setting as well. See Testing Accommodations for more information. 
  • Display Questions One At A Time - This will limit the ease for students to take a screen capture of the displayed questions and share them with other students.
  • Remind students before each test/quiz or test that no phones or other devices should be within their reach (e.g., on the desk, in a pocket, etc.). Frequent reminders convey to students you take cheating seriously, without saying the words themselves.
  • More quizzes, fewer exams - This encourages students to keep up on their classwork, and it reduces the incentive to cheat because the value of each quiz is lower than one comprehensive test. Consider dropping a lowest quiz grade and/or allowing multiple attempts.
  • Vary your assessments - Tests are not the only option. If students are evaluated with various methods, you have the best way of ensuring that there is real learning taking place. Consider breaking up papers, lab reports, and projects into multiple parts worth fewer points.
  • You can also analyze how students perform by question and see general information about a student's performance on the assessment (time to complete, and so forth). 
  • As you are setting the Test Options, there is a feature enabling you to provide extended time on examinations as directed by the Services for Students with Disabilities office. 
  • It is also possible to use a third-party proctoring service to administer exams. These services often charge the student a fee per exam proctored. Information on off-campus testing resources can be found on the University Testing Center’s website.

If you need assistance or advice when creating tests in myCourses, contact the ITS Help Desk at or 607-777-6420