How teachers stop online students from cheating miles away

With more than 5,000 online courses offered in the state of Georgia, how do teachers ensure students aren't cheating miles away?

/ Colby Gallagher

What was once seen as a means of communication, shopping, or simply curing boredom has quickly grown into an alternative platform to get a degree with more than 5,000 online courses offered in the state of Georgia. Though roughly 60,000 students take advantage of taking a class in their pajamas, officials say it's not for everyone.

"You have to manage your time, you have to be structured, you have to be a focused individual because the work is not watered down because you're online, you still have the same reading assignments, you still have the papers, you still have the projects," said Albany Technical College Dean of Academic Technology Troycia Webb.

For those who think they can handle turning in assignments on time without a scheduled class, officials say there are many benefits to logging in to the classroom.

"If you work a full-time job or have a family or both, you may not fit into the traditional Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday schedules so online allows you to take classes where you simply couldn't before," said Darton State College Dean of Math and Science Frank Malinowski.

Like regular classes, officials say online course also have their fair share of problems, including the temptation to cheat. However, as the classes have evolved so has the technology to ensure grades are correct, such as a webcam proctor that requires a photo ID.

"If you use a book or anything like that, it records that so when they're looking at that test they can see if you did compromise the integrity," said Webb.

Others simply require all tests be performed in front of a proctor and at a center that's been cleared by the college.

Teachers say another less complicated way to detect cheating is to simply know your student. If a piece of work stands out, chances are it wasn't done by the same person.

Stay connected to as stories develop and the FOX 31 Newscast at 10 PM. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join in on the conversation and connect with FOX 31!