Can Blackboard Detect Cheating?

Can Blackboard Detect Cheating?

Almost everyone in schools and colleges has cheated in their examinations, while I’m not proud to say this, but I did too. For people who are way past their school/college life, this is a distant memory that has faded over time compared to the ones who face such scenarios today. Way before the pandemic hit the world, many schools and colleges had employed online learning methods, but the current story is different.

Every kid now is cooped up in their rooms taking online classes, and many institutes are using the blackboard application to get this done. The most common situation that many parents and kids worry about is getting caught while looking at another tab on an online test. So I will get right to it and answer the question, “Can Blackboard detect cheating?”. Well, the answer in simple terms is yes, it can.

While the answer is pretty straightforward, the way it detects cheating isn’t. In case you do not know what Blackboard is,  it is a Learning Management System(LMS) used by many educational institutions to provide online learning for their students. While this isn’t a new application, it is still widely used in the United States.

That is probably because of its many features and easy-to-manage user interface. In this article, I’m going to answer all the frequently asked questions regarding cheating on the blackboard, how it detects cheating, and why you shouldn’t cheat.

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Can Blackboard Detect Cheating? And if Yes, How Does It Do It?

Well, I have already answered the most troubling question. Since the answer to that question is yes, I shall also answer how it does that. The first thing you need to know is that Blackboard cannot detect cheating. I know this looks like I’m contradicting myself, or I’m just babbling, but it’s neither. 

Blackboard isn’t designed to detect malpractice, but it can do so with the help of a few tools. Many institutes integrate different kinds of software to prevent cheating, so it depends entirely on the college/school as to what tools they use to detect your malpractice. Based on the institute, they can use tools like Proctored Exams, Safeassign, Lockdown browsers, and other IP, video, and audio monitoring tools.

Some instructors can even see all your log activity on the blackboard, things like what pages you have accessed and how long you have spent on a page or LMS. Talk about stalking! So remember, your teacher can see all your activity from the Blackboard. As I said, Blackboard alone cannot detect any kind of cheating, it needs a few tools.

One thing that it can do is detect your IP address and make sure that someone else isn’t taking your exam from a different location. If you thought you are an evil genius who will let his smart friend take his test, then think twice. 

A Word of Advice

It sounds fun to cheat your teacher and score high on your test, but that’s not learning. In the real world, nobody cares about your marks. People only care what you know and how smart you are, which is deducible by the way you talk. I know that talking about morals and taking a high road is not enough to reason with a student who is scared of getting bad marks, so let me appeal to the logical side(if you have one!).

Since the Blackboard has many tools like proctoring exams which records your activity through the Zoom tool webcam, and you can not switch tabs, even if you do, it will be known by your examiner. So there is no point in even trying to cheat. While all these procedures are not flawless, you still cannot depend on the possibility of not getting caught. 

Features of Blackboard

With such a vast learning management system used for students and teachers, Blackboard comes with many interesting and useful features for learners and instructors. Though some features are only specific to students and instructors. So let us discuss few such features of this web-based system.

Student Account 

First, I’m going to list all the features that a student can access from Blackboard.

  • Most students access their Blackboard account for the first time to check their courses and check their class schedules.
  • Other than course information, students can also check any announcements made by the instructor regarding their courses, tests, assignments.
  • Any upcoming tests and assignments can be given from your student blackboard account. 
  • Personal info and academic info can be managed by students from their accounts. Also, if they want to make any changes, it can be done with the editor.
  • Every student in a class can join for discussion assigned by teachers through this system.
  • Other than joining classes with your teacher, you can also take one-on-one interactions with your instructor to clear your doubts regarding a course or assignments/tests. 
  • Using the Content editor features, video can be included in blogs and wiki. This can be done by both students and teachers.

Instructor Account

Now let us see what an instructor can do with their accounts.

  • Just like student’s accounts, an instructor can also view their courses and assignments. This is done by the system, which generates a sort of student for an instructor to view info.
  • Not only can an instructor view a student’s assignments and tests, but also grade them anonymously. To make sure there is no prejudice in the grading, the names of the students in tests are hidden.
  • Apart from participating in discussions with students, instructors can also use the Blackboard LMS to make announcements regarding tests, assignments, and anything course-related.
  • For tests and assignments, students will also receive comments and instructions. This is possible with the annotation tools that come with the inline grading feature.
  • Communication can also be done through emails by both instructor and students. Also, if the instructor sees it necessary, they can make any necessary changes to the assignments and test through the Blackboard.

Apart from the above ones, you can find a few other minor features that improve security and usability for every user.

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How Can Blackboard Detect Cheating?

You already know that Blackboard monitors your activity in many ways, and when it finds any activity violating its policies, it immediately flags the student’s account for the same. In any case, if you are curious to find out how the blackboard can tell if you cheat, then read the below info to find out what can professors see on the blackboard.

What Can Blackboard Monitor Do?

The obvious way to monitor your activity is through your screen’s webcam. If you think that’s creepy, then there’s nothing you can do about it, except get used to it. Everything you do will be monitored to check for any violations of the application. In simple terms, don’t cheat on your tests and assignments. 

Records your Keyboard activity

Other than recording video, it also records your keystrokes. So be aware of what you type.

Browser Restriction

If your school/college is also using a lockdown browser, then other websites cannot be accessed during tests. Also, neither can you take screenshots nor copy/paste stuff. Even if your system doesn’t have a lockdown browser tool, you might be asked to install one right before taking a test.

SafeAssign for Copy/Paste

Many students just plagiarize their assignments by taking notes from their friends. I would advise against it because Blackboard can also check for plagiarism by cross verifying your content with others from the same database. Remember the SafeAssign tool that I had mentioned previously, that tool comes into play here.

Beware of What You Speak

The microphone will record any audio conversations or clips it hears and processes them to check for any cheating and Blackboard terms violating content.

They Know Where You Are

Every device has its IP address, and Blackboard keeps track of a device’s IP address. If you thought a friend of yours can take a test from his device, then you, my friend, are mistaken. As that would be considered cheating, and remember that two students cannot take the same exam on a single device.

That’s because Blackboard will consider that a single person has submitted twice. Also, the application knows your location using the IP address

Now that you have read it all and got your answer to the question, “Can blackboard detect cheating”. Do not think of cheating in Blackboard ever again. 

A Little More About Blackboard

As I have mentioned earlier that this application is being used for more than 24 years now. While we have mostly concentrated on the educational features of this tool, it is also used in various corporations and government organizations. The company was formed in the year 1997 but didn’t become public until 2004, and operated that way till 2011 under its founders Michael Chasen, Stephen Gilfus, Matthew Pittinsky, and Daniel Cane. 

Before Blackboard was founded as an LMS, two of its founders were working on an application provider called CourseInfo. They were Daniel Cane and Stephen Gilfus, who were students back then at Cornell University. They were undergraduates and started it by writing a business plan and Interactive Learning product for the CourseInfo.

Together they made a business plan, developed the product, made a list of potential clients in their portfolio. Their list included schools and universities that would require a course management system. Schools bought this software as an FTE licensing model. 

It slowly grew in the K-12 market, making it the most used LMS system in the US, Canada, and a few other places. While there weren’t many such learning system applications back then, there are many others now. Like Canvas, D2L Brighthspace, and Moodle.

Out of all these, only Canvas is the LMS that gives a strong competition to Blackboard. Even though Canvas is enjoying a decent amount of users, Blackboard is still at the top of user preference. In case you are interested to find a little more tidbits about their history, do check out their Wikipedia page.

Why Is Blackboard So Popular?

With more and more institutions and students opting for online education, which isn’t due to the innovation in the education system, but rather to meet their requirements and demands. You might think that the best bet would be to go for the new software that comes in the market with the latest features, but it is not that simple. 

If you see the K-12 market, the demand for the Blackboard is still higher compared to other big systems. Many institutions still prefer the reliable old Blackboard learn, over others. This isn’t out of some loyalty to the brand or nostalgia, but rather the kind of features that the software has to offer.

Blackboard keeps upgrading with time, adding new features that meet the requirements that people want. It offers interoperability and supports other extension tools/software that provides better management, operability with an easy user interface. 

Now due to the pandemic, almost every school and college had no choice but to switch to online learning. Blackboard’s learning system not only offers online learning but also supports student-teacher interactions, assessment of tests and assignments, cloud hosting from the Blackboard Ultra, and many other things. 

The latest version of Blackboard which is the 3900.19.0 version has fixed the error of the broken image in the date picker component of the course view. For more info on this, check out Blackboard Help.

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Conclusion

If you have reached this part of the article, then you have found the answer to “Can Blackboard Detect cheating?” or “Can Blackboard tell if you cheat?”. If you didn’t, then I suggest you go through the article once again, as it answers those questions and many more. Make sure to read the sections that explain what can professors see on the blackboard? And what can a blackboard monitor do?

For those curious minds who want to know more about the Blackboard features, a separate section with an explanation on the same has been provided. 

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’s)

Can Blackboard see open windows?

No, blackboard cannot see open windows or tabs on your browser, except for its LMS tab. If you are using it with a proctoring window, then you can’t switch to any other window. Also, some tools can monitor if you are using other tabs, like if your screen is being recorded while taking a test, etc.

What can professors see on Blackboard?

While professors may not be able to see if you are using other tabs during your tests, they can access all kinds of student information. For eg, professors can check the student account information from a student window available for instructions on the blackboard. They can also see when you last accessed the blackboard’s LMS and for how long.

Can blackboard detect cheating?

Yes, it can tell that you are in malpractice during your test. Though it needs a few tools to monitor your activity, without tools it can detect cheating using video or audio. Later, they check the audio/video for any anti-cheat policy violations. When such violations are found, then it is considered cheating.

Does blackboard know if you switch tabs?

No, it does not track tab switch activity. It can prevent you from using other tabs using a proctoring monitor.

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