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Penn State Summons Big Brother to Stop Cheating

Penn State Summons Big Brother to Stop Cheating

In George Orwell's '1984,' the people were kept in check by the fear that Big Brother might be watching. At a new testing center at Pennsylvania State University, students won't have to wonder if they're being watched; they'll know.

The new test hall, which opens next spring, is basically a big, high-security room full of cubicles and cameras. Professors schedule exams and when students show up to take them there, they must swipe their ID cards for access, walk through a turnstile and, of course, be photographed by a series of cameras as they make their way to an assigned cube. Each cubicle is fitted with a computer that contains the test but has been cut off from the Internet to prevent unauthorized mid-exam research. Roaming proctors will be told by professors whether or not a given test allows students to take in textbooks or notes, or whether even a #2 pencil should be considered contraband. Additionally, video cameras pipe a live feed of the room to a bank of security monitors, also watched over by proctors.

Penn State's new testing farm is perhaps the most hardcore one out there at the moment, but it won't be the last. Secure test centers are a growing trend among universities in an effort to kill cheating dead. It's hard to imagine any typical cheating method passing muster here. So, if you go to PSU or any other school where a center like this is planned, it's time to develop some study skills other than writing crib sheets or hiding text into your programmable calculator.

From USA Today

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Tags: Cheating, PSU, security

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