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Late Night Learning with John Krutsch - How to Cheat Online

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Hi, name is John Krutsch. And I would like to welcome you to my presentation. But before we get started, I wanted to tell you a little bit about myself. Currently I am the director of Distance Education at Utah Valley State, where I oversee the operations and development of the many varied programs that we offer. I am professional educator with a love for teaching, and a client-server applications programmer with a passion for development… [oof] [birds chirping] [music, clapping] It’s Late Night Learning with John Krutsch! Tonight John’s special guests include Jared Stein, and live from Paris, Professor Krutsch. And let’s not forget Adam’s Band. [music, clapping continue] And now, ladies and gentlemen…John Krutsch! [cheering, clapping] All right. Thanks. Thanks Ok, let’s get down to business tonight. On tonight’s show we are going to be talking all about cheating and other issues in academic honesty. So Adam, have you ever cheated? No Way. Are you sure you have never cheated? Have you ever looked on someone’s test, or copied someone else’s homework, or tried to float an excuse to a professor to try to buy an extension on an assignment? Well, I guess if you put it that way, maybe, once or twice. Yeah yeah, pretty much every...I think everybody has cheated, everybody would have to say that they have. In fact, depending on which surveys you look at, forty to seventy-five percent of students surveyed admitted that they cheated in one form or another So why do students cheat? Well, to answer that question, we asked some students why they did it. Let’s take a look. I cheat because of the grade curve. If I didn’t cheat, there would be no way my scores could compete with everybody else cheating. I am all about getting from point A to point B. I consider it being more creative Now, other people might think that I am cheating. In my opinion, I am just being a little bit more efficient. I cheat because my grades determine whether or not my dad will pay for my rent and my car. My grade point has to be a 3.0. Otherwise, my dad won’t help me. And that would mean I have to pay for everything myself. I think cheating is all about saving face. We all do it. I have to have my financial aid. If I don’t have my financial aid, how am I going to have the rest of the fun in my life? Well, there you have it folks. Whether we agree with it or not, students feel they have valid reasons to cheat. Tonight our guests will try to help us understand what role an instructor plays in the cheating process, how students are cheating, and ways in which we might attempt to prevent it. Our first guest, Jared Stein, will share with us the theory that suggests instructors may inadvertently be giving students more reasons to cheat. [clapping] Also on tonight’s show we have Professor John Krutsch. He is going to share with us his continuum for online cheating, as well as tips and tricks on how to cheat on an online course. That’s right. He will actually show us how it is done, how we can identify it, and most importantly, how we can safeguard against it. [music] Folks, every once in a while we find interesting articles that we like to share with you in a bit we call “Things that Make You Go…Huh?” All right. From we have “High Tech Products Used for Cheating in Examinations.” Well, maybe they should have spent their time studying. Huh? But perhaps the strangest one of all has to be this. Eewww… This, ladies and gentlemen, is an interphone. I can’t imagine sticking this anywhere, let alone in my abdomen. [laughter] Students want to cheat so bad that they are performing minor surgery on themselves to do it. Now that is high stakes testing. [laughter] Ok. Let’s see what else we have got here. Ok, from the Wall Street Journal online. Huh? Huh? All right, moving right along here, from, from the Rethinking the Problem Department. Huh. Well, that is a novel concept. Aawww... Huh? [laughter] Hum. [laughter] Well, that last statement there brings to mind a quote that I once heard from Dr. David Wiley of Utah State University which says, Let’s see what our first guest has to say about that and more. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Jared Stein. [clapping, cheering] How are you Jared? Good, John. Great crowd you have got tonight. Yea, it’s a nice group. We enjoy having them here. What do you think about of what Wiley says here that if your students can cheat on you, then you deserve it? John, this is the sort of dangerously provocative statement that, frankly, I love to hear. I mean, at first blush a lot of people may think that Wiley is saying, “If you have ever had a student cheat in your class, you are a fool.” Now here is how I see it. At the end of the day, a student who cheats is ultimately responsible for that choice. But we as teachers must always be asking ourselves if we are doing a good job. That is our responsibility. And a part of that question, I think, is “Does my teaching facilitate or encourage cheating?” You know, I was in a conference last November where Dave Wiley was the closing keynote speaker, and someone cornered him on that, and said, “Hey, you were quoted as saying if your students can cheat on you, you deserve it.” And so they made him explain what he meant by that, and you know what? He said pretty much said exactly what you just said. So you were right on track with that. So I understand that you are going to share with us tonight an interesting theory that might help explain why some students cheat. That’s right, John. Let me tell you a little bit about McClusky’s Theory of Margin. Margin? What do you mean by margin? Well, McClusky saw that every person has some margin in their day to day life. And that margin is determined by the load one has to manage, relative to the power one has to deal with life’s load. When problems arise, though, when one has more load than power, that is when your margin begins to disappear, and you lose the ability to take on new tasks. In fact, once your load outweighs your power, you probably won’t be able to even take on the tasks that you have already got on your plate. So what factors contribute to a person’s load? Well, load is affected by both external and internal factors. The external factors could include family obligations, career responsibilities, and even your socio-economic status. Internal factors, on the other hand might be your self-concept, some goals that you have for yourself, and even your personal expectations. Ok. So what about power? Power is great. Power is what allows you to carry your load. If you have more power than load, then, fabulous. You now have enough margin to engage in extra activities. And just like load, your level of power is affected by both external and internal factors. Family support, as well as social and economic abilities, are good examples of external factors. These help determine one’s power. Internal resources may be represented by experiences and skills that you have that can help you perform, such as resiliency or coping skills, and even your personality. So what does all this have to do with cheating? Well, think about it for a minute. When students have more load than power, they don’t have enough margin to deal with their day to day life, let alone school. Being in a situation where you have too much load and not enough power can make cheating a very attractive solution. Now some students who cheat do so just out of laziness. But I think we must consider that others choose do so as a way to deal with a deficit of power. Ok, that makes sense; I can see that point of view. So what implications does this have for us as instructors? Hey, we are teachers. We give our students load every day. It is our job. We call this instructor-generated load. And while it is clear that instructor-generated load cannot, and really should not, be avoided, it is also clear that some instructor load are undesirable. They are unnecessary, and really, they can be avoided. Well, there are a couple of researchers, Day and James, who have identified four categories of instructor-generated load. They say that it is attitude, behavior, task, and environment. Now attitude speaks to instructors that treat learners as inferior, or perhaps they simply ignore the learners’ opinions. Instructors who are too impatient or too rigid also add unnecessary load. Ok. Now behavior speaks to instructors who may have distracting mannerisms, or who are extremely disorganized. I wonder if you have even had an instructor who is extremely disorganized? Yea, I have had that instructor a few times. [laughter] Yes, I bet. I think we all have. Ok, so what about task and environment? How do they come into play? Sure. Well, task refers to instructors who give inappropriate assignments. For example, assignments that don’t relate to the course objectives, or are just busy work. And if it is unclear how an assignment will be evaluated, that adds to student load, as will giving too little time to do the assigned work. Now it is important to note that environment is rarely under the control of the instructor. But it, too, can contribute to load, especially in distance education settings. Things like slow or unreliable servers, broken links to web pages, missing media components, and a lack or a stable infrastructure all can add to load. Ok. Ok, I think I get it. So as an instructor, I should be mindful of load and make sure that I am aligning my objectives with the assignments that I am giving my students so I can avoid busy work. And above all, I should just really be respecting my students. Yes, that is absolutely right. I mean, start by just being mindful of the load you are adding to your students. When students perceive that you have unnecessarily added to their load, they may well find more reasons to cheat. McClusky’s Theory of Margin doesn’t exempt students from their responsibility for cheating, but I think understanding it can empower us as teachers to prevent cheating by carefully administering instructor load. Right Jared. I would like to thank you for coming out and sharing McClusky’s Theory of Margin with us. It was my pleasure. [clapping] All right. Ok. When we come back, we will do campus queries, and we will visit with Professor John Krutsch, who will share his continuum for on-line learning. [clapping] [music] Do you have problems with your students cheating? Well, I did. I am Sid Sperling. And that is why I developed the Slacker Tracker. [music] The Slacker Tracker works as a behavior modification device using positive reinforcement delivered via a mild shock for minor offences, which occur more frequently, like excuses, and increases in voltage as the level of offence and difficulty moves up the continuum. If your students are constantly giving you excuses… Somebody stole my backpack. [buzzing sound] Blaming the technology… And my hard drive died. [buzzing sound] Or if they are engaging in dishonest collaboration… Hey, what did you get on number seven? Here, just take this. [buzzing sound] Or exploiting the technology… Change this file extension… [buzzing sound] Or hacking. Just log in here into the main frame… [buzzing sound] Then you need the Slacked Tracker. Don’t wait another minute. Go to the website, or call our special 1-800 number. Order yours now. The Slacker Tracker! Warning. Common side effects include nausea, bleeding gums, decreased libido, mouth discoloration, constipation, burns, decreased or blurred vision, frequent urination, and increased thirst. [music, clapping] All right. Well, coming up next, we will join Professor Krutsch live via satellite so he can take us through his continuum for on-line cheating. We understand that the first stage in this continuum is excuses, so we went out and talked to college students in a segment we like to call “Campus Queries.” [music] In the cheating that I am thinking about, it is not necessarily the excuse given to the professor. It is maybe some slippery slope that they justify in their mind. Probably just being late for class is my best. You know, I just like the “I am sick” one. I think girls use a lot of lame excuses. Girls use a lot of lame excuses. Yea. Yea, girls do. Well, I just say that I have had lots to do, and I have been really busy, so you are going to have to give me a couple of extra days to finish my stuff. So you basically tell the professor... Sometimes he'll let me. ...that his class is a low priority for you. Not really. Because I am getting married. I am pregnant. My grandmother died. Death in the family, something like that. Death in the family. Usually just out of town, or sick, or someone died, or whatever. Someone died. A death in the family. So how many times has your grandmother died by now? Oh, probably two or three times. OK. I never received the homework. You never received the homework. He wasn’t aware that the assignment was given. I told him that my dad was in the hospital. And was he in the hospital? No. He doesn’t even live here. My little brother is getting married. And my little brother is, like, sixteen, so it not possible. I say like my friend was in a car accident, or something. Was it true? No. It wasn’t true? That is horrible. I am being deported. I am being deported. That’s a good one. That’s a new one. I am being deported. I like it. A lot of blaming technology. I am a computer science major, and so there always seems to be… Let’s say that one again. Blaming the technology. Yes. Blaming the technology. There are always a lot of opportunities to blame technology. Problems with printing things and the computer. Your printer doesn’t work. Oh, that‘s good. Your printer doesn’t work. You procrastinated until the last time, the last day. You know that procrastination. The printer is the favorite scapegoat of the procrastinator. My computer broke. Your computer broke. What do you have, a Mac? I used one this morning that my parents who lived in Germany called right before I was supposed to get on the bus to get here. But that was true. And then I missed the bus. Yeah. So that was a true excuse. Yeah. OK. Um...yes. A long time ago. No. Well. Yeah, I have. Not while I have been a BYU student. Not while I have been a college student. I didn’t consider cheating, but I was just like, you know, I didn’t agree with this question, and so I am going to debate it with you. I…not in college. Not in college. That’s right. I would not risk that. A…yes. Yes. So I would say that most people know that when they are cheating. I don’t think so. No. Not that I can remember. Probably. Ignorance isn’t an excuse. [music] Usually when I cheat, though, it is not to help me. It is to help someone else. To help someone else? You are just like Robin Hood, huh. Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, like a pen, and they have a little clip part, and you have a little like piece of paper. And you put A, B, C, or D, right in the little paper clip, and slide it down. Text messages during exams and things like that. I do dance. I can’t cheat in dance. It was really easy to just copy people’s homework assignments. If he is wrong, you might get a point back. But, I don't know, some people might consider that cheating. Just write it here. I had a friend who I played baseball in high school. He was sitting next to me, so I copied his entire test. Look on your neighbor. Ahh...Buy papers. Umm...You kind of have to give the “skunk eye” look. You peek around the corner. The skunk eye, I like that. That's right. Just lean over and read people’s answers, or something. Steal someone else’s homework. Usually I wouldn’t say that most students talk about cheating to their professors. Well, if a teacher goes out of the room during the test, it is not just me. The whole, like, “You do the last half, I’ll do the first half, and then we will swap.” [music] [clapping] Ladies and gentlemen, as an experienced educator, my next guest has taught thousands of students on line, and has witnessed, discovered, and conceived of the many ways to cheat on-line. Because of his background in web programming, he is familiar with common methods for compromising the integrity of web sites, as well as exploiting the behavior of web pages and web browsers. Let’s hear it for Professor John Krutsch. [Clapping, cheering] Professor Krutsch, we have been talking about your continuum for on-line cheating, and how excuses are the first stage. How is it that students are getting away with this? Well, John, primarily students get away with excuses by taking advantage of unclear expectations and disorganization. So how can instructors help avoid this? Perhaps the most effective way to avoid unclear expectations and disorganization is to provide clear statements on you syllabus. Your syllabus should include your course procedures and school policies as far as cheating is concerned. Research also shows that you should show your students that you value honesty by establishing an honor code for your course. If you show students that you care about honest course participation, they are more likely to participate honestly. If there is an honor code, they will be more likely to stick to it. It that so? How would you go about establishing an honor code it one doesn’t exist? It is so. According to the Center for Academic Integrity at Duke University, honor codes effectively reduces cheating by thirty-three to fifty percent on serious test cheating. If your campus does not have an honor code, one thing that you might want to try is to set up an icebreaker activity in your course, using your discussion board. That we you can give your students a chance to establish their own honor code collaboratively. Well, that is a great idea. So how important is it that we curb the acceptance of excuses? It is very important. If you let students get away with things at this level, they are more likely to escalate through the continuum. Well, that is a great idea. I see that the next step in the continuum is blaming the technology. What is that all about? Well this stage is really a special form of excuses that uses technology as a scapegoat. Students often say things like, “I got a virus,” or “My computer crashed,” or my personal favorite, “The course manager system changed my answers, unbeknownst to me.” But the most ingenious students won’t even bother trying to blame the technology. They will create a situation where the technology itself appears to fail. Well, how might somebody do that? Well, John, have you ever heard of a slug? You mean like a snail without a shell? [laughter] No. No, I mean like a fake coin. When I was a kid, we would go down to the local hardware store and buy a washer that was about the same size and weight as a quarter, and we would get that for just a few cents. We would then tie a piece of fishing line around the washer so that we would insert it into video games or vending machines, and pull it back out so that we could use it again. Students can create modern day slugs that represent assignments that are submitted into course management systems by simple changing the extension of the file names. Let’s look at that now. So here we have an image. This is an image of me standing on my soapbox. I like to use these avatars in my courses to convey emotions, but here I am going to use it as a slug. And how I change it to a slug is I simply change the file name extension. So I choose rename, and this is my first paper, so maybe I will call it “Krutsch Paper One.” And this is the important part, even though this image is a gif image, I am going to change it to .doc. .doc Ok. Now this alert comes up. [graphic] If you change a file name extension, the file may become unusable. Are you sure you want to change it? Well, good. That is exactly what I wanted to have happen. So I press yes, and my image is automatically changed to, it has a little word.doc here. You see the little avatar or the icon for a Word document? The computer now effectively thinks that it is a Word document. Now when the teacher gets this, they will see it, and it looks like a Word document. So they double click it, and since it is not a word document, Word won’t know what to do. It will chug along for a little bit and I am just waiting for this to come up here Word is chugging, wondering what to do with this thing that it thinks is a Word document. And all it gets gobbledy-goop. So in a real world situation, when a student has uploaded this file, they have effectively bought themselves two days. And here is why. The teacher will, even if it is the same day it is due, even if the teacher is extremely on the ball and they get into the course management system the minute the assignments are due, and they download all the assignments, they will look at this file, and it will open up in this fashion, and they will just say, “The file got corrupted.” And they are going to ask for a resubmission. By the time that the student gets the message, they would have already completed the paper, and then they would just send it back. So the instructor gets the file, they download the file. Day one. They write the student back. So day two, theoretically, the student gets the message saying, “Your file was corrupted and I need you to resubmit it.” And any student can reasonably say, “Well, I didn’t read that until the next day.” So on day two, the student reads the message. By now they have the real assignment, and they go ahead and submit it. Wow, that is pretty ingenuous. How are we supposed to safeguard against things like this? Again, clear statements on your syllabus would be your first line of defense. Place the responsibility on students. In my syllabus, I have a statement that says: [graphic] I also like to use first part of the first week of the course to go over expectations, and then give a little test on it. And in fact, students in my courses can not access course content beyond the syllabus until they pass a quiz covering course expectations with one hundred percent. I know many professors who teach on line that have a first assignment which requires students to list two or three alternative locations where they will do work in their internet courses in the event that their dogs eat their internet connection. Hey, those are great suggestions. I’ll tell you what. We need to take a quick break, so hang tight, and we will be right back. [clapping, music] What? You are still doing homework? There are better things you can do than go blind reading textbooks on line. That’s why you should call me on the cheat line. [phone ringing] Hello? All of us girls have all kinds of resources to help out a struggling student. We can read the textbook for you and give you all our notes. Right. That will be on the test so you need to know it. We even have copies of tests from previous years, so you know exactly what is on the test. Don’t have time to call? Text us during your test, and we will look up the answer for you. Do you have a paper due? We have thousands of papers on hundreds of subjects. Just choose your topic. Then choose your paper. It’s that easy. Start making your life more stress free. Call us right now, and you could hear... So I hope you have all the answers for your tests. I know you will do great. Tired of dirty little kids messing up your grade book by constant cheating? Not any more, you are not. Now you can do something about it with Cheat Away. All of your integrity woes cleaned up in a jiff. Students printing off tests? Set up question pool for each test. Or you can randomize tests. Oh-oh. Students are recycling papers? Monitoring the load you place on your students will reduce that. Students are looking up answers? Use the timer on your quiz. If you can’t keep an eye on them, a proctor can. Cheating is now less of an issue, thanks to Cheat Away, your special secret weapon. [music, clapping] We are talking with Professor Krutsch about his continuum for online cheating. We have already discussed excuses, blaming the technology, and dishonest collaboration. So let’s look at exploiting the technology. Professor Krutsch, how are students getting away with this? This really depends on which course management system you are using. But most of them are vulnerable to one exploit or another. When course management systems first came out, they were very insecure. Students could insert java script codes, or iframes into quizzes to act as answer placeholders. Since then, most CMSs have improved testing security. But there are still things students can do to exploit the technology. Well, can you give us an example? Sure. Let me show you an example. For this one, we are going to use Web CT Campus Edition, Version 4. OK. So let me pull up this quiz here. Let’s say I am taking this quiz, and I come to this question. In an ideal situation, this quiz would be timed, so I wouldn’t have time to look up the answer. Maybe I even have a proctor in the room watching me. So all I can really do is type in an answer, which is problematic, since I don’t know the answer. Instead, I enter the html code required to display an image. Then I finish up the quiz. It is important to note that in the image code, I point to a web server that I control. Really? Why is that? Because after the quiz is over, I am going to look up that answer, and I am going to type it out in an image. I am going to type it with the same text that is in the courses manual system. Here is an image just like that. In fact, this is the image that I will upload. By the time the teacher goes in to grade the quiz, they will be looking at the image, rather than the blank screen that would have been there. So how are we supposed to safeguard against that? I think with every stage in the continuum, it is important to realize that cheating can and will happen. For this specific example, you can quickly change the text size by control scrolling in the window. You will then notice that the text in the answer does not change size, but the rest of the text does. You should also lobby the software manufacturers. They do listen, and as you find security holes and report them, they typically take care of them in subsequent versions. Ok. So the next state in the continuum is the most interesting to me. When you say hacking, are you actually suggesting that students can compromise the course manual system? Yes I am. Some less honest students have been known to use basic investigate techniques in conjunction with the exploitation of business rules, in order to compromise systems. Most instructors will only change their initial password if they are forced to do so. Even then, many instructors use what is known as password stemming. This is where they use the same password and increment a number after it each time they are required to change their password. Since most systems are based on known business rules, getting the required information is more time-consuming than it is difficult. What do you mean by business rules? Well, at my institution, everyone on campus has an e-mail address that is their unique ID at And your initial password is your birthday in the format of month month/day day/year year. Getting anyone’s ID is easy, since it is their e-mail address. And finding out a birthday is not that difficult. There are even websites that help you with this. At, fourteen of the fifty states have indexes available where you can get anyone’s birthday. Also, because of the popularity of genealogy as a hobby, you can typically Google someone to find their birthday. Let’s go the computer and I will show you. I am in Google now, and in the search box I am going to type my name, and then word birth. So John Krutsch birth. Hit enter. And look at that. The first entry is my birthday, right there. August 28, 1970. [clapping] Gosh, that’s scary. What can we do? Well, you should lockdown your personal information. Use strong passwords, and change them often. Avoid insecure networks, and most importantly, don’t rely on your on-line grade book. Oh really? Why is that? Because if someone compromises your course, if they log in as you and change the scores, you would have no way of knowing that it was done. You should set up a good schedule for yourself to download your grade book often, and use the offsite version as the authority. Online grades are great, and they are very convenient for students so they can see how they are doing in the course, but for teachers, we need to be aware that this can happen, and take steps to prevent it. So if you could say one thing to instructors who are concerned with academic honesty, what would it be? Well, testing should never be the only means by which you assess the students’ abilities. If you evaluate them with various different methods, you have the best way of assuring that there is really learning taking place. The bottom line is, some students will cheat, and some students won’t. As instructors, we need to be aware of things that we are doing to encourage cheating, as well as how the actual cheating is done. If we are aware of these factors, we can take steps to remedy the situation through these alternative forms of assessment and by reducing the unnecessary load that we place on our students. Ok. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us. I am sure that we all learned something today. And I think that everybody can come away with something that they could use in their own lives. Thanks for having me. All right. [clapping] Well, Professor Krutsch motioned that students should be evaluated through various methods. So before we sign off, let’s look at the top ten alternative forms of assessment. [music, clapping] All right. The Top Ten Forms of Alternatives for Assessment are… [graphic] [laughter, clapping] Well, that’s all we have for you tonight, folks. We hope you learned something, and we hope you enjoyed the show. [clapping, music] I have got to get paid more than this. What is the square root of one? [burp]

Video Details

Duration: 35 minutes and 48 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: John Krutsch
Director: Adam Sanders
Views: 4,921
Posted by: johnkrutsch on Sep 25, 2008

A high quality studio production of Krutsch's presentation presented in an engaging and memorable format.

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