- As the American Council on Education (ACE) considers accrediting Coursera and EdX, MOOCs are questioning the foundations on which they were built — will accreditation cause more students to cheat and will the policing of MOOCs betray their ideals?
- Charles Severance, professor at the University of Michigan and teacher of Coursera's Internet History, Technology and Security course, conducted an experiment where he tracked 6,000 students who took a test for his Coursera class.
- Severance inferred it was very likely that 20 of his students cheated using online chat programs and e-mail to share answers — Severance noted the course was not for credit and pondering whether accreditation would cause cheating to increase and become harder to track.
From the article:
"This winter, when Mary Liu sits down to take the final exam in an online course on epidemiology and biostatistics, she’ll do so from the comfort of her own home. She’ll have 24 hours to complete the test, which accounts for 60% of the final grade in the online course, but no one will be peering over her shoulder to make sure she completes the exam on her own without the aid of any of her 50,000 classmates or Wikipedia. There will also be nothing to verify that it is indeed Liu who is taking the test and not, say, a friend or relative. “It’s just sort of on the honor system,” says Liu, a high school teacher in Cambridge, Mass. She is likely very worthy of the trust an honor system grants, but then again—in the same year that Harvard is grappling with a massive cheating scandal and anyone with a modem can log onto websites like wetakeyourcourse.com—can you ever really be sure? ..."