Expert TA’s New Suite of Academic Integrity Features
In Expert TA instructors have full control over grading preferences, with the ability to adjust settings such as number of submissions, deductions for hints and feedback, etc. With our new suite of Academic Integrity features, users will continue to experience this level of customization, with complete oversight and the option to turn any feature on or off.
- Customizable Syllabus Language – It is important that students understand not only the general scope and sequence for a class, course guidelines, and important due dates, but also that they are made aware early on of the expectations for academic integrity. Expert TA makes including these details in your syllabus a simple process, providing editable language related to the standards for students associated with their online homework.
- Honor Code Messages – Research suggests that when students have been exposed to clear and specific guidelines related to what constitutes cheating in a course, and they are continually reminded of these standards, there is a measurable effect on cheating. You have the ability to turn on “honor code” messages that will display for students each time they open an assignment as a reminder of the class policies related to academic integrity.
- Question Pools – When creating assignments, instructors have the option to add problems into question pools (a group of problems from which one will be randomly chosen for students to work on in a given assignment). This means that instead of all students receiving assignments with identical problem ordering, each student may get a slightly different version through the random selection of problems from one or more problem pools.
Expert TA’s independent problem library is not tied any specific textbook, and it is not published in print. This means that it cannot be catalogued in online answer-sharing websites the way that traditional textbook problems can. For example, publishers make very few changes from one edition of a book to the next, so the solution to problem 3 from chapter 7, section 2 can be stored online where students can easily locate it.
The only way Expert TA’s problems make it online is for students to post the questions by typing in the problem statements, or by taking a screen shot of the problem from our system. We protect the integrity of these solutions in the following ways:
- Proprietary Web-Crawler – For several years, we have utilized a web-crawler to track down problems online, and submit removal requests to have this copyrighted material removed.
- Problem Tracking – With our new suite of features we are taking solution security to the next level. Problems will have unique tracking ID’s, single pixel transparent images, and identifiable information appended on to problem statements related to the student working on the problem.
We are always introducing new and relevant system features, but from the beginning Expert TA has understood the importance of these key aspects that help form the foundation of our core focus on academic integrity
- Problem Masking – Students taking assignments in Expert TA never see problem name details, such as identifiable chapter, section, and ordinal information. While these details are seen by instructors, students will only see “Problem 1, Problem 2, Problem 3,” etc.
- Randomized Variables – Every number associated with a problem in Expert TA that is not a constant has the ability to be randomized. Each variable contains a maximum value, minimum value, and a step size developed to fit the unique problem situation, while still allowing for sufficient differentiation in student results
- Randomized Phrases – A portion of Expert TA’s problems contain phrase randomization. Placeholders for words and phrases within a problem statement are randomly swapped out so that each individual student taking a problem with randomized phrasing enabled reads a slightly different version of the question. The Physics concept is the same, but the situation changes slightly for each student. This makes it more difficult to simply search for the answer to a problem online.