Cheating101: “clicking in” for friends

The issue of students cheating their way into earning participation and attendance grades has been a long-standing problem for educators.

Sure, educators could try the old fashion way and call out names, but this wastes far too much valuable class time. If they pass around an ‘attendance sheet’ students can just write down their friends names and inevitably, professors are just creating more work for themselves and their TA’s that manually input the data.

Then came the clicker system…


Students ‘click in’ for friends and will even create schedules and take turns skipping class. To combat this, many professors suggest a 5% rule which implies that participation should not be worth more than 5% of the students’ grades. This minimizes the impact, but cheating is still cheating.

Although Coursemodo does not claim to have a 100.00% ‘cheat-proof’ system (and have yet to see one) we have many mechanisms in place that make it extremely difficult for students to cheat with our “bring your own device” platform.

1. Given their addiction to devices, students are extremely unlikely to part with their cell phones or lap tops for hours at a time. (38% even check it every 10 minutes!)

2. Students may forget clickers at home, but over 99% are already bringing mobile devices to class anyways.

3. Students do not want to give away their passwords which would allow friends to access pictures and messages on their device.

Coursemodo’s unique attendance app also makes sure students at home can’t check-in for attendance if they aren’t physically in class.

Dec 6

Do you share similar habits with the most successful teachers using technology?

Today we came across an article in edtechmagazine. It mentions how the early adopters of teaching technologies have shown similar habits as they begin integrating modern technologies into their classroom. 

Although this article seems to focus a little bit more on K-12, it is very applicable to Higher-Ed as well! If this list does not define your habits, then maybe you can use it as a way to help prepare yourself to ‘take the plunge’ and try integrating more technology into your lectures and assignments!


Interesting New Edtech Infographic

We come across at least 1-2 interesting info-graphics that relate to education technology each week but this one was definitely worth sharing on our blog.

The key stats that stood out to us: 

71% of higher-ed students take notes on digital devices.
25% of time is spent doing stuff unrelated to class.
58% of students say lectures are becoming increasingly less engaging.
2.4 outgoing text messages per student per class.

Courtesy of Edtechtimes

Sep 2

The future of education

An interesting TED-Talk by Courseera’s Daphne Koller was shared last month where she offers her opinions on the future of education. She makes the argument that the traditional classroom lecture based format is inefficient at teaching the students of today’s generation.  Her challenge of the lecture-based  format stems from the fact that it does little to ignite student’s creative spark, imagination, or problem solving skills.

She says that, “Personalization is perhaps one of the biggest opportunities as well.” She then goes on to mention  a study which notes that students with individual tutoring perform, on average, 2-sigma (standard deviations) above students learning exclusively through the  lecture-based method.  

Although we at Coursemodo builds apps for both students and educators, our primary goal is to “Empower Educators with Technology”.   Imagine if professors can become 2-sigma better at conveying knowledge based on the detailed analytics and student feedback we provide. In that scenario, 98% of students could perform at levels that are above what is now the average.  

The pressure on educators to experiment with the ‘flipped classroom’ model is not going away anytime soon and educators that are embracing it are seeing excellent quantifiable results. Daphne cites a study where active learning was compared to lecture based learning. In this study; attendance, engagement, and learning almost doubled when professors interacted with their students rather than merely “lecturing at them”. 

This study relates to a physics class, however, the data remains consistent across various other subjects too.

This study relates to a physics class, however, the data remains consistent across various other subjects too. 

You can see Daphne’s entire TED talk here:

Sep 2

Technology in the classroom

There are very few people challenging the power of technology in the classroom. The real problem is creating something simple enough that any educator can begin using it right away. Once they do get started however, we have seen over 95% retention rates across the “real-time response industry”.

Professors are very busy and do not usually have the time to research various technologies and get trained on them, so it is vital to develop tools that: (i) are simple enough to entice professors to try, (ii) work flawlessly and (iii) don’t require training. User experience is key.


Once technology does get adopted in the classroom, here are some of the key benefits that we are seeing in the industry:

Increased engagement:  Today’s student has every excuse to not go to class.  Sites such as Khan Academy and YouTube serve as a popular alternative to in-class learning.  Through real-time quizzes and polling, question submission, and confusion meters, technology in the classroom is becoming an ideal solution for professors to keep students engaged.

Leverages devices students already own: With over 99% of students bringing their own technology to the class, it has come time to start using these devices as learning tools. Technology’s impact on the world is only increasing. Giving cell phones, tablets and notebooks the boot from the classroom is only taking a step backwards. Think about it, students have textbooks on their ipads and calculators on their phones. Is it counter-productive for students to bring their textbook to the class too?

Analytics: Professors and educators can collect real time meaningful engagement metrics through the use of in-class technology. They can learn where students are struggling and what concepts are being mastered on a class-wide scale, but more importantly, on an individual basis too.