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  3. Why does one of my student’s account show as “Locked” due to cheating?

Why does one of my student’s account show as “Locked” due to cheating?

Keyboarding Online already has a system in place to prevent most types of cheating. Students are not able to copy and paste text, drag and drop, or do anything that would allow them to cheat. In fact, students who attempt to copy and paste get an informative pop-up telling them not to use Copy and Paste and to avoid cheating. We have found this to be effective deterrent for over 99% of our users.

What we did find, however, is that there were some students that found a way to bypass these simple roadblocks by using standalone typing software, bots, or scripts. To combat this we created a few different algorithms that measure typing speed and cadence/rhythm and compare it between human typing and programs that do the typing automatically. We found that we could accurately detect this, but the only way to prevent it was to lock the student accounts and prevent further work.

At this point in time, when a student cheats by using a typing bot, we lock the student’s account and send them a message indicating that we caught them cheating. We let the students know that they can have their account unlocked only after speaking with their instructor. If a student tries to log back in, they will find it blocked and the message will continue to tell them they need to speak with their instructor.

After you notice the locked account, or when a student speaks with you, you can go into the Teacher Manager application and unlock the student by viewing their account and entering your password to unlock them. After unlocking them, they will be able to continue using the program.

Testing This Yourself

We highly encourage you to test this yourself and see what these programs are and how they work. We know that by experiencing these programs first-hand, you will be able to understand why students are locked, and exactly what the students experience when their account is locked. Because we do not create or vouch for these programs, we cannot link them here. You can Google “auto typer” or “typing bot” and download one of these programs and test it. Again, this is at your own risk, as we do not create these programs. We have tested several of them against our algorithm and found it to be 100% successful in detecting and locking student accounts.

Frequently Asked Questions

“The student’s scores looked good. There was nothing crazy like 150wpm. How do you know they cheated?”

Using a typing program does not mean they have to be achieving super high scores. These programs can be adjusted to type at normal typing speeds. What we can assure you is that the student DID type with super-human skills and precision through multiple timings. This wasn’t a single fluke chance, but a repeated instance that we tracked multiple times before we locked the student.

“When did it occur?”

We do not receive alerts when the student is locked, nor do we send alerts when a student is locked. You are, however, able to look at the last work the student did in their Daily Effort Report and see the timings and scores the student was completing when they were locked.

“What proof do you have?”

We have no proof other than what the algorithm tells us. The algorithm is incredibly accurate with extra leniency given for the small chance that some student happened to type so mechanically and precise that they looked like a typing program. We have proven this algorithm positive with several hundred students and tests, and have not seen any students flagged for cheating that were not cheating.

“My student swears they did not cheat.”

That is fine, however they were cheating and were caught, otherwise the program wouldn’t have locked them. If you believe the student, then simply unlock them and move on. We do know that students, once caught and locked out, never cheat again. So you won’t have to worry about this issue happening again. We hear the following variations as well: “My student said the program glitched“, or “My student said someone logged in and did something when they weren’t looking“, or our personal favorite “My student said that a toddler hit the keyboard randomly and it locked them out“. After questioning the students in every case, the students all finally admitted that they (or some random person) ran a program to do the typing for them.

“What program/bot/script was the student using?”

A webpage is not able to watch other programs outside of the webpage itself due to browser security. Imagine visiting a website and the website being able to view ALL of your open programs and browser tabs and the security nightmare that would be. A webpage could grab your banking information, emails, social media, work documents, personal files, etc. Because of those limitations, Keyboarding Online cannot tell you what the student was using. We can only tell you that the student was cheating by not doing the typing themselves.

“I need to report this to my institution for policy violations. Please give me more information.”

This page should be information enough to detail our methods and how we determined the student was cheating. Again, if you are looking for the EXACT program or script the student was using to cheat, we are unable to track that. There is nothing else we can provide you except letting you know that the student did cheat. Perhaps using the last scores the student achieved will be proof enough, or simply confronting the student about the incident and having them admit to it. The only thing Keyboarding Online is saying is that the student definitively did not do the typing themselves, but employed some other program or method to do the typing on their behalf.

“What do I do? What are my next steps?”

We do not dictate your school or personal teaching policies. We are only a software company informing you of what a student is doing and not doing. You can unlock a student immediately and believe it to just be a mistake or you can confront the student. If you school has reporting policies beyond you and the classroom (such as referring the matter to administration), it is up to you to report or ignore the policy. It is not our call to make. We have found that being caught once and being forced to admit to it has deterred students from continuing to try to cheat.

Updated on February 17, 2021

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