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actually, when I took the first "not-quite-coursera" classes (ML and DB) they did quizzes in a smarter way[0], using a larger set of questions per quiz than the stuff you'd get in a single attempt.

So each attempt, even from the same student, would get a slightly different set of questions, and the dumbest attempts at cheating were discouraged[1].

I don't see why this couldn't be done for the programming assingments.

For example, the first assignment in this functional programming was "functional sets": empty set, singleton, contains, union, intersect, filter. It would have been trivial to add a few more (unionAll, containsAll, difference etc) and select a subset for each student, or something like that.

[0] alas, they don't seem to do this anymore.

[1] also, a "random answer + replay with proper solution" approach wouldn't work.




Another solution would be to employ an alogrithm that checks your solution against past solutions. It would work much like what professors employ when they submit Reports to an online repository.

If someone it stupid enough not to even change variable names then they'd be caught easily. While with Millions of solutions it would be easy to get some replication, most of the time there wouldn't be any and this is when manual intervention by a person could be triggered.

This in conjuntion with your solution would work pretty well especially if someone submitted a wrong answer for another question that they haven't seen.


Here's another possible solution.

Use an algorithm to cross-check homework submissions, checking for structural copying. If a high correlation is found, as with human intervention, you suspect cheating but cannot prove it.

So, only for the potential cheating students, issue an extra quiz at some scheduled time, and discard the homework score. These quizzes should be all issued in parallel batches and last an hour or so, so solutions can't possibly be copied among cheaters. Make sure the quiz is actually harder than the homework, conceptually.

In other words, rather than trying to punish potential cheaters, just keep testing them until you're sure they're not cheating. This is better IMO than producing a 10x size problem set and selecting random subsets, because the number of suspected cheaters will probably be a small-ish percentage. Therefore, rather than having to write a ton of etra test material for everyone, you only have to write a few extra quizzes for a subset of the class.


So far, majority of the functions in the Scala course homework have been one-liners. Mostly without any new variables that one could name. This kind of problems, a lot of people write the exactly same answer, down to every single character.


I know there is one class on Coursera doing exactly that. The reason was to allow students multiple attempts at quizzes - have a bank for 20 questions where only 10 get asked.




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