Is it possible to cheat with SMOWL? Here is the answer

It is common for both educational institutions and their students to wonder whether it is possible to cheat with SMOWL...
28 June 2022
Is it possible to cheat with SMOWL? Here is the answer

It is common for both educational institutions and their students to wonder whether it is possible to cheat with SMOWL by copying an exam, f.e. It is expected that this doubt exists since one of the challenges of online training is to avoid the temptation of cheating since there is no physical and human presence in the room as we used to be accustomed to. 

In the case of universities and training centers, they ask this question because they want to ensure two things: 

  • On the one hand, they offer total control to reinforce their quality and academic prestige. 
  • On the other hand, they comply with the regulations regarding the control of official tests and certifications to maintain equal opportunities among students. 

Likewise, for the users or examinees themselves, the question arises because they want to know the reliability of the proctoring tool during their test. It is logical to think that if there is a possibility of cheating with SMOWL in an online exam, the student who does not lend himself to a cheating activity plays at a disadvantage compared to those who are willing to do so to obtain official qualifications. 

Is it possible to cheat with SMOWL?

Also, there is a part of the student body that, with this question, has a clear intention to find the easiest way to cope with the online test and resort to external help. 

No matter who asks if it is possible to cheat with SMOWL, our answer is clear and forceful: NO. And this is because the system bases its effectiveness on artificial and human intelligence. That is, it combines technology during the test with physical supervision of the report; it is even possible to maintain a human presence throughout the process if required by the client. 

Artificial intelligence is present in the software

The discipline that emulates human thinking through computerized equipment makes it possible to offer automated and reliable monitoring on an infinite scale of the student body. This particularity allows entities to scale their business without considering the physical space; this is the most significant advantage of a tool such as proctoring immersed in the virtual campus.  

Artificial intelligence (AI) works throughout the virtual exam with two main objectives: 

1 – Confirm that the student authorized by the institution is the one in front of the computer.
2 – Recognize the behavior of this during the entire test until it is disconnected. 

Let’s look at the filters that work to ensure these two points of security during online activity. Three stages come together in the whole process:

1- The student registers

The students first identify themselves on the educational platform with a numerical code associated with their identity and accept the legal terms and conditions. 

SMOWL security

It allows facial recognition with a webcam at the very beginning. This way, the institution confirms who will perform the test the same way it would in person.  

2- SMOWL executes the monitoring

During the exam, the user’s behavior is recorded automatically and with artificial intelligence algorithms to confirm that it complies with the ethical standards established by the examiner. 

We should clarify that our company does not determine the exam grade; this is the teacher’s responsibility. What proctoring does is ensure that the conduct has been appropriate and permitted.

3- The reviewer has the report

The last step is that the user is disconnected when the monitoring finishes, and SMOWL stops capturing visual and manual evidence. In this final phase, a detailed report is completed, and the examiner consults it offline to confirm that the user has not cheated during the online exam. 

These three actions reinforce the claim that with SMOWL, there is no cheating. In this sense, it not only avoids impersonating the examinee and prevents them from simulating or transcribing, but it does so with different levels of evidence. Let’s take a closer look at this issue. 

Safety layers in our proctoring

The versatility of our software makes it possible to increase the security level according to the needs of the customer or examiner. In other words, it is possible to customize additional layers. 

The five options are explained below:

1- Webcam images and biometric data

This first layer is the one discussed above. SMOWL proctoring confirms through the detected images that: 

  • The entity authorizes the person to access the test by presenting their identification document and facial recognition. 
  • This person is the same throughout the test.
  • They have the correct behavior. 
How to cheat with SMOWL

In addition, it’s possible to add a second camera from another angle to increase the visibility of the room where the user is present.  

2- IP, operating system and browser

This information allows the entity to know the access point and if there is any computer alteration that may lead to think that there has been an external consultation with another program or on the Internet.  

3- Desktop monitoring

The possibility of adding this layer facilitates a record of the actions performed or the applications opened by the user. In this sense, if the student can use a calculator, the tool detects that it is being used and marks this action as authorized; however, if it detects an unauthorized Word or Excel, it keeps it as an infraction. 

This way, the training entity knows where the user makes queries or operations. 

4- Audio

Beyond the computer record or the screen, it can be confirmed that during the examination, the user has remained silent and, therefore, that they have not made external consultations with any company in the room. For this purpose, in addition to enabling the webcam, students must provide access to the computer’s microphone.

5- Human supervision

And finally, if you want to avoid biometrics or go further by increasing the level of security, our system can add human presence as if it were a traditional call. 

All these five layers work together to ensure that, with the help of SMOWL, no one can be copied during an online activity, wherever the user is. 

Proctoring security

Cheating in an online exam depends on the user

As in all exams, on-site or online, students always have control of the exam and the power to accept the normative points and comply with them. And they do it from the beginning. When they accept to take the exam, they give permission to access the webcam and the additional actions we have discussed in this article.  

In other words, the student activates the system with total transparency, just as they decide to attend an offline test to be supervised. 

SMOWL plays the role of a witness; this means that the application does not decide about the student’s behavior during the test but presents the evidence of how the test went and, based on this data, it is the person in charge at the institution who decides whether the student is eligible to take the test.

We conclude that if cheat with SMOWL occurs in any case, it is because the user is looking for a way to avoid complying with the rules and that this is punishable, both in an online exam and a face-to-face test.

Therefore, the control mechanisms carried out by educational institutions require the collaboration, integrity and self-control of each student.

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