Online education faces a series of obstacles that are the result of the weaknesses of the Internet. On the one hand, institutions face the problem of preventing their courses from being pirated and their training from easily circulating on the Internet. On the other hand, universities and business schools face another challenge technology when taking exams, verifying the identity of the student and preventing him from cheating.
«Since the arrival of Covid in 2020, the piracy of online courses and training has become more common. Of all the customers who recover their lost sales due to piracy with Red Points, 30% are virtual education companies. It is the second industry most affected by piracy, after the software sector,” he explains. Sergio Garcia, chief marketing officer at Red Points, a Revenue Recovery platform that tracks and eliminates ghost competitors. “There is a new type of infringement that is spreading very quickly, which is the resale of access credentials to content platforms. This, as content distributors opt for subscription models, will be more frequent », he warns.
From Red Points they warn that pirates must stop being thought of as solitary individuals in remote locations to understand them as authentic professionalized fraud networks. “Their technologies are diverse and increasingly sophisticated, which is why it is undoubtedly very complex for organizations that own content to face the problem on their own,” says García. If we think about how to deal with this piracy, «the best recipe is proactivity and speed. Red Points’ commitment is to constantly develop and improve technology to ensure that any company, without being a specialist in piracy or having teams dedicated to it, can deal with this problem in a time-efficient and impact-scalable way.
on a large scale
At a time when the dimension of the problem of digital piracy has reached a large scale, for content of all kinds, «the technology it is more than key: it is essential if you want to be effective”, warns the person in charge. “Dedicating teams of people to detecting and removing pirated content is not only extremely expensive, it’s just ineffective,” he points out. In the case of Red Points, Artificial Intelligence is used to automatically find and eliminate illegal copies on the Internet. “The platform covers both the deindexation of content in search engines such as Google, as well as the removal of content in social networks, link pages, video platforms, cyberlockers, and applications,” says García. In addition, the form makes it possible to combat the resale of passwords and access credentials to subscription platforms.
The artificial intelligence police
Technology paves the way for cheating, but it also offers resources to combat it. Some are gaining more prominence, such as artificial intelligence, which is present in online exam monitoring tools, helping to prevent cheating by detecting cheating attempts or identifying ongoing patterns of suspicious behavior. For example, browser lockdown ensures exam integrity by restricting web browsing, mobile device use, screen capture, printing, or sharing. Live video monitoring, meanwhile, allows instructors to monitor student activity during the course of the exam. And to fight plagiarism, online checking tools check for originality at the time you submit your assessment.
Verifying the identity of the student when taking an exam and making sure that they are not cheating is a challenge for all those universities and business schools that offer online training. OBS Business School It has a 100% digital model, so since its planning it is an issue that has been present. As explained by her vice-dean, Alba Barbarà, «At OBS, as far as the subjects are concerned, we follow a continuous evaluation system that is based on carrying out individual or group practical cases and application exercises. In the case of using test-type exams, these are used only as a mechanism to verify that the theoretical concepts have been acquired correctly, and the weighting within the student’s overall grade is low».
Taking into account its evaluation system, «the mechanisms we use to ensure that students do not cheat are plagiarism control software such as Turnitin the SafeAssign». In the particular case of the Master’s Final Projects, to ensure the authorship of the projects “Turnitin is also used”, and in the case of the defense, “it is done through videoconference, where the students must identify themselves properly”. Likewise, the activities and practical cases are updated annually, therefore, they prevent this information from being shared between students from different calls.
All this work represents an investment of time for the business school «since the configuration of the activities on the platform is different in case the plagiarism control mechanisms are applied, and the revision made by the teacher is also different since it takes into consideration other data and elements at the time of qualifying the student».
about the reaction of the students Faced with this type of control, Barbarà assures that they feel comfortable, “at the initial moment they do not show any refusal in relation to these controls and they are informed at the time of starting the master’s degree”. Each subject includes information on these plagiarism control mechanisms in its particular guide. When they are caught cheating, “most assume their malpractice and accept the grade given by the teacher, since detailed reports on the plagiarism that has been committed are obtained from these platforms.”
There are several solutions that we find on the market to help schools carry out these checks on students. Smowltech, for example, was born as a cybersecurity product focused on the world of education. Its founder, Ricardo Vea, is a university professor. “It arises with the challenge of how to make training more accessible,” he explains. Alex See, CSO of the firm. Verifying the identity of students online also means facilitating access to professional certifications, internal training, etc… for workers from different locations who may have difficulties traveling to take an exam. Although Smowltech was born from the hands of universities, “today we also work in the corporate world (40%)”. Its system allows, among other things, to measure the quality of education and the carbon footprint.
facts and decisions
As for cheating, “it is something that has been there all our lives and controls are transferred from face-to-face to online.” Your product has functionality that can be integrated into any online platform and can be activated in any process. “There is an easier model, monitoring through the webcam, and others where human supervision can be combined with AI.” Smowltech offers a test report to the client and in the case of universities, “this is about providing evidence that happens at that time so that later the professors make decisions based on the center’s policies.” In other words, teachers are provided with tools so that they can make a decision based on facts.