asking the wrong question

A recent question (“Is it possible to trace someone using Google during an online exam?“) on superuser had me thinking about asking the right question again.

I want to design an online exam for over 1000 students via around 50 computers right after the vacation ends. Now the problem is that I have heard that many students use Google on a different tab to find answers when no invigilator is around.

I want to know if there is a way to backtrace it after the exams via some kind of history or any other possible way.

Here, already, the premise is WRONG!!

The asker is a professor. Sadly, that means he’s likely even more skewed in his bias than most people (after all, he is an expert at his subject). He should have asked a more fundamental question, since he is asking for support, but he didn’t.

Instead of trying to catch a cheater, which is what his question is going for, he should have asked how to structure an exam for open-book responses – many/most of my instructors and professors at college had open-book, open-note tests: and those of us who either knew the material, or knew where to find it, did great. Everyone else? Not so much – they viewed “open-book” as “don’t study”. Personally, I loved open-book tests, because it meant the questions were going to be hard-but-answerable … if you knew where to find the answer.

Mr Professor: please just learn how to structure a good test, and not how to slap your students for doing what they’re going to do when they get to the “real world“.