Test-taking cameras will ensure integrity

It’s not that students can’t be trusted, but they all need to be held to the same standards.

Online classes offer a unique experience and can be beneficial for someone who has difficulty getting to campus, or just doesn’t perform well in a classroom setting. They are one of many wonderful things to evolve from the Internet.

But anyone who has ever taken an online class can’t say they haven’t bent the rules, or at least thought about it. The amount of accountability for someone sitting at home in front of his or her computer is astronomically lower than for someone sitting in front of a professor in a classroom.

If left unsupervised, the possibilities for cheating are rampant for someone taking an online class. Sure, most exams are timed. But there is nothing stopping a student from using his or her book or notes while taking the exam. This gives students taking online classes unfair advantages, and it hurts those who must do their own work under the watchful eye of a professor.

The Kernel reported last week that Penn State has taken the steps to make sure that students taking online classes don’t abuse the system. By using Web cameras and a keyboard biometric reader, students will surely be less inclined to cheat on exams, quizzes and homework.

Again, this is not a knock on the ethics of students taking online classes. It’s just a way to make sure the playing field is even for everybody. And fairness is all anyone can ask for in this situation.

The Kernel commends Penn State, and we believe UK should begin doing some of these things as well. It’s a needed step to ensure academic integrity at this university, and nothing is more important than integrity.