University focuses on biometrics to deal with online cheating

With the rapid growth of internet-based courses offered by colleges and universities worldwide, there has also been a spike in online cheating. Previously, there has been no way to tell who was writing an exam or paper, as there was no way to see who was sitting at the keyboard when they were being typed. A new line of research at Pace University, however, has focused on biometrics as a way to catch perpetrators of online cheating in the act.

Attracting interest from not only schools but also governmental entities such as the Department of Defense, Pace’s research into biometrics and online cheating is coming from the school’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. The research uses volunteers, collecting information on variables when they are sitting at keyboards. These variables – length of time between keystrokes, word choices used, and so on – are then compiled and processed, and the analytic patterns are examined for similarities.

The research can also be used outside of the classroom. While online cheating is the first focus of the project, researchers have also noted potential points for non-academic use – especially in areas such as finances and government, where security and confidentiality are paramount.

While the research into the biometric factors of online cheating is still new, the implications and potential uses are expansive. The U.S. Department of Defense has even provided resources for the project, helping to expand the research. In time, researchers hope factors that as of now are still unaccounted for will also be aggregated into the data, providing a better chance for universities, corporations and government departments to catch trouble before it can start.

How do you feel about online integrity? Have you ever been passed over for a promotion or advancement by someone that didn’t follow the same standards as you? Leave a comment and share your story.