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Five Tools to Prevent Online Class Cheating

Academic dishonesty has been a hot discussion topic as more learning is taking place online. As stated in this article, online classes may be more conducive to cheating than live, in-person classes. So, what are some tools to prevent online class cheating? And what kind of technology is best able to help prevent and catch those who plagiarize or even hire out their work?

How do students cheat online?

Unfortunately there are many ways this can happen that teachers must be aware of. Students can use handheld devices during online exams to look up answers or share them with peers. There are also services that write term papers for students or even take entire online classes for students. This is incredibly unfair to the students that put the work in fairly and deserve their grades and credentials.

What can we do to prevent this?

Luckily there are many tools online that can help prevent cheating in online classes. There are also other methods that can help, such as switching up your assessments each term. Another way to do this is focus more on written, conceptual problems and projects. This makes it harder for students to cheat than if there is the same multiple choice exam each year. Staying current with e-learning trends will also help stay ahead of the new ways in which students try cheating.

Best tools to prevent online class cheating

1. Google Assignments

This product from Google combines various features to help with feedback and assessments for students and teachers. One helpful feature includes a tool that checks assignments for originality. It makes students aware of how original their work is and gives a few attempts for them to correct mistakes before turning in their assessments. This can help save teachers time and help give students the chance to make sure they are submitting original work.

2. Respondus Lockdown Browser

Lockdown browsers are helpful because they ensure that students are not clicking on new tabs and trying to get information from the web while taking online exams. The Respondus lockdown browser is free to use for students and integrates with Learning Management Systems such as Canvas. It can be used in conjunction with the Respondus Lockdown Monitor to enable proctoring of the exam.

3. Dupli Checker

While there are many free plagiarism checkers on the internet, Dupli Checker is a popular free tool with an easy user-interface that students and teachers can use to check work. There are three ways to upload work: either copy and paste, uploading a file, or comparing to a website url. This makes it easy to double check any specific students work.

4. ProctorU

What stands out about ProctorU is that it uses a multistep identification verification method to ensure that no imposters are taking an exam for a student. This product uses a three step method to not only catch students who cheat, but also try to deter them and prevent cheating in the first place. With less cheating, that is much less headaches for teachers.

5. Mendeley

There are some cases when students cheat, not out of malice, but because they do not understand how to cite their sources correctly. Mendeley is a reference management tool to make it easy to add references and cite work correctly. This tool can help prevent cheating and also help students learn how to correctly give credit where it is due.


While some say that cheating is easier for students in an online class, this does not have to be the case. For those of us who are new to distance learning and teaching online classes, there are many tools available to prevent online class cheating. My favorite tools are the ones that not only catch students who are trying to be academically dishonest, but also try to educate students and help prevent this from happening in the first place.

What do you think?

Have you tried any of these tools? What do you do to prevent academic dishonesty at your school? Leave a comment below! Join our community to meet more educators and continue the discussions.

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