The shift to online learning as a result of the pandemic has resulted in increased opportunities for surveillance of student activities, including test taking. A recent incident involving accusations of cheating on online examinations by students at Dartmouth medical school illustrates just how easy it is for analytics and analysts to become involved. According to a report in the New York Times 17 medical school students were accused of cheating based on data drawn from the Canvas LMS. The report goes on to detail the way in which the analysis was conducted and includes critiques of the methods used by outside experts.
An article in the Daily Mail provides a bit more detail on how the data were used to identify pages that appeared to be accessed by the students during the course of an examination. A piece posted to Slashdot added some more details and generated a lengthy set of comments visible if you scroll down the page.
Although some of the more questionable elements of Dartmouth’s handling of the incident took place separate from and after the examination of the data, the incident shows how analytics derived from heightened surveillance activities can have a major impact on the lives of students.