17 Students of Dartmouth Medical School Accused of Cheating in Online Tests

remote exams

Dartmouth Medical School has recently accused 17 students of cheating on remote exams, following the pause on in-person exams after education switched to fully online due to COVID-19 developments.

According to Erudera.com, this has caused over two dozen faculty members and individuals complaining of unfair treatment from the student government to organize a protest on campus and deliver letters of concern to school administrations.

Dartmouth has used the Canvas system to retroactively track student activity during online exams without their knowledge.

Several universities have asked their students to download software that can monitor their computers when in online exams or to use webcams in order to track any suspicious movement. Despite this, experts have noted that such tools might be invasive, insecure, unfair, and not accurate at all, the New York Times reported.

Most recently, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said they would stop using tools that serve to monitor exams. A cybersecurity lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Shaanan Cohney, described these kinds of technical solutions to academic misconduct as a “magic bullet.”

“Universities which lack some of the structure or the expertise to understand these issues on a deeper level end up running into really significant trouble,” Cohney said.

In March, while on a spring break, the first-year student at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine received an email through which the school was accusing him of cheating.

The email pointed out that Dartmouth reviewed the online activity of Zhang on Canvas and its learning management system, during the online exams. However, Zhang denied all the accusations.

“What has happened to me in the last month, despite not cheating, has resulted in one of the most terrifying, isolating experiences of my life,” Zhang, who has filed an appeal, said.

Reports further said that cheating through Canvas is not a usual thing at Dartmouth as the tool was not created as a forensic tool, but for professors to publish the assignment, and students deliver their work there.

According to some technology experts, even if there are students who might have cheated, the committee will find it difficult to determine which students have cheated and which have not.

Cases of seven of the students facing charges of cheating have already been dismissed. Out of ten who have been expelled, suspended, or have failed the courses, nine pleaded guilty.

Although the universities have been using anti-plagiarism and anti-cheating tools, the pandemic has made hundreds of educational institutions which have moved to remote learning to incorporate more invasive tools.

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