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Can ALEKS Detect Cheating, Switching Tabs & Pros And Cons

Aleks is a web-based ai-powered learning and evaluation tool for instructors and learners. The name ALEKS stands for Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces. It’s designed to measure students’ knowledge of various subject areas.

This enables instructors and parents to ensure that students have a solid foundation before moving on to more advanced concepts. Teachers and parents using ALEKS acquire a better understanding of student weaknesses and strengths.

ALEKS can also be used in various course formats including online learning, in-person learning, or even blended learning course formats. With over 25 million students using ALEKS for math, chemistry, statistics, and accounting, its benefits to students are undeniable.

However, like Quizlet, PhotoMath, Mathway, and various other online educational tools and resources, questions have been raised concerning their usage, and privacy.

This article aims to clarify questions concerning ALEKS including whether and how it can detect cheating of any sort.

Can ALEKS Detect Cheating

Leveraging various tools to enforce academic integrity has become necessary in our online learning and testing environments. Usage of proctoring tools like Proctorio, ProctorU, and Honorlock have become common in recent years as institutions continue to integrate online learning into their academic activities.

To enforce academic integrity, ALEKS integrates with LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor to deter cheating and also facilitate remote proctoring. So, to answer the questions:

Yes. ALEKS employs LockDown Browser to lock the testing environment, limiting user operations such as opening new tabs, printing, copy-pasting, and switching tabs, and leverages Respondus Monitor to record (audio and video) the student environment during test-taking.

To elaborate on this, let’s take a look at these tools and their features. You can also check out our article on LockDown Browser to learn more about this popular tool. Let’s summarize what they are.

What Is LockDown Browser

A LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks the student’s testing environment restricting certain actions on the computer including copy-pasting, minimizing windows, switching windows and tabs, printing, and various user actions.

Essentially, it stops the user from being able to do anything on their computer except finishing the ongoing test once it’s started. Students would be unable to open other browsers and as a result, reduce the chances of cheating.

While students in remote environments could still cheat on their phones, the LockDown Browser becomes a huge asset especially in environments where in-person invigilation is ongoing. As a result, it’s recommended to be used in environments with real-life invigilators.

What Is Respondus Monitor

Respondus Monitor is an automated remote proctoring application that leverages the user’s computer webcam and microphone to extend the functionalities of the LockDown Browser.

Not only does it leverage the LockDown Browser to restrict student actions on the computer, but it also uses the student’s computer microphone and webcam to record them in their testing environment to identify and flag any suspicious activities.

Respondus Monitor is recommended for remote tests where there’re no in-person proctors in the student’s environment. Students would be unable to use their phones and other third-party devices for cheating as this would be identified and flagged by Respondus Monitor.

The use of virtual machines and other attempts to cheat can also be identified and flagged by the Respondus Monitor.

Can ALEKS Detect Switching Tabs

Yes, Respondus Monitor records both the student surroundings and the computer screen during test-taking. Furthermore, the LockDown Browser restricts student computer activity such as opening and switching tabs.

With the LockDown Browser, students would be unable to switch tabs during an exam. The Respondus Monitor extends the LockDown Browser’s functionality to capture the computer’s screen as well as the candidate’s testing environment.

Does ALEKS LockDown Browser Record You

No, ALEKS LockDown Browser on its own does not record students in their test-taking environment but simply locks and restricts student computer activities including opening and switching tabs, copy-pasting, printing, and running other applications.

Respondus Monitor which is also called Respondus LockDown Browser would be required to record students during test-taking. The Respondus Monitor which is built on top of the LockDown Browser extends the functionalities of the LockDown Browser by leveraging the computer’s webcam, and microphone to record student environment during examinations.

It also records the computer’s screen during test-taking and flags any incidence for review.

Can ALEKS Record You

Yes, ALEKS can leverage the Respondus Monitor which accesses the computer’s webcam and microphones to record students and their environment during examinations. Respondus Monitor can also record the computer screen and flag any suspicious activities for review.

While some students have cited privacy concerns over the use of these proctoring tools, its efficiency is undeniable.

Does ALEKS Record Your Screen

ALEKS only records your screen during Respondus Monitor-proctored testing. The LockDown Browser does not record the student’s surroundings or the computer screen on its own, but the Respondus Monitor can record both the computer screen and the student’s environment during the exam.

Respondus Monitor is built to extend the functionalities of the LockDown Browser facilitating automated remote proctoring by accessing student webcam and microphone to record and flag any suspicious activities in the student’s exam environment while also recording the computer’s screen.

Does ALEKS Use Camera

Yes, ALEKS uses Respondus Monitor to access computer webcam and microphone to record and flag suspicious activities in the student’s examination environment during tests. This serves as an alternative to real-life invigilators in classroom examination environments.

Each incidence flagged by the Respondus Monitor is flagged for review by the instructor who would then determine which incidences constitute attempted cheating by the student or candidate.

It’s worth noting that the Respondus Monitor which is also called Respondus LockDown Browser is different from the LockDown Browser.

The LockDown Browser simply locks student activities on their computers during examination. These activities include opening and switching tabs, copy-pasting, printing, minimizing windows, screenshots, and many more. The LockDown Browser however does not record students during examinations.

The Respondus Monitor which is also referred to as Respondus LockDown Browser on the other hand is built on top of the LockDown Browser to extend its functionalities.

This means it has all the functionalities of the LockDown Browser but also includes some additional functionalities including accessing webcam and microphone to record students in their examination environment.

It’s then able to identify any abnormality or suspicious behavior on the student’s examination and flag it for review.

Does ALEKS Record You Without Permission

No, schools and instructors communicate the use of Respondus Monitor to record the student environment beforehand, granting them authorization to capture video and audio during tests. Additionally, before their camera and audio may be accessible, students must agree to Respondus Monitor’s Terms of Use.

Institutions and instructors notify students beforehand that they would be recorded during their online tests to ensure that students are aware and prepared for these tests. Students without webcams or working computer microphones can then acquire them before the start of the test.

Students would also need to go through a setup phase where they would permit their cameras and microphones to be accessed by Respondus Monitor before the test begins.

Pros Of ALEKS

Personalized Learning Path

Unlike traditional teachers who prepare lessons based on the general needs of students, lessons on ALEKS are geared towards each student and their unique academic needs and pace. Depending on the current needs of a student, ALEKS lessons are never too fast or slow as it adapts to the needs and level of each student.

Engaging Content

ALEKS leverages an initial assessment to determine a student’s knowledge state and subsequently provides detailed lessons based on their assessment of the student’s current academic or lesson needs.

The detailed explanation and graphics can make the content engaging for students who may have challenges with these topics.

Fosters Independent Learning

ALEKS lessons can encourage students to learn more as the lessons are geared specifically to keep up with their understanding of concepts and only move forward once students have shown very clear understanding.

This eliminates the fear students sometimes have about some topics as they’ll feel more confident using the various resources ALEKS provides on a topic to aid them better understand their lessons.

Gamified Learning

Gamification has been actively adopted in various online educational platforms and continues to be an essential part of these platforms. In our modern age, getting a higher score may not seem as important to children as accomplishing a task and receiving a reward on their smart devices.

Students will work on getting a tree to grow faster or completing a chart or graph to show to their friends. ALEKS provides a great gamification experience for students.

Reporting Tools

ALEKS provides a comprehensive report of student activity including progress on each respective topic, the number of topics they’ve learned or progress they’ve made in class, weaknesses, percentage of students who are yet to master any particular topics, and more.

Quiz Creation

Teachers using ALEKS can easily create tailored quizzes and assignments for their students. Within a few clicks, teachers can set up quizzes tailored to the needs of each respective student on ALEKS.

Cons Of ALEKS

Student Delay

While ALEKS provides a personalized learning experience for each student, slower students could spend far longer on a topic that would go beyond the allotted timeframe for the course.

It’s worth noting that educational institutions have specific timeframes for each course. Unfortunately, slow students might not be able to progress fast enough to complete the required syllabus.

Some students will also avoid or postpone engaging with a topic. As a result, instructors should identify and guide such students in order to help them better manage their time and learning.

Practical Understanding

While ALEKS enables students to gain a better understanding of how to solve these problems, the system still lacks the detailed practical experience provided by a teacher.

A student would simply learn and understand the content without understanding the various context in which these can be used, which provides a much deeper understanding and appreciation.

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