Professorial Spy Games Take the Fun Out of CheatingS

In the eternal arms race that is teachers versus cheaters, the administration of the University of Central Florida has hit DEFCON-1. And they're doing it with technology.

The NY Times report that cheating is rampant in college classrooms doesn't come as a surprise nearly so much as the degree to which both parties are going high-tech. During UCF exams, for instance:

The 228 computers that students use are recessed into desk tops so that anyone trying to photograph the screen - using, say, a pen with a hidden camera, in order to help a friend who will take the test later - is easy to spot.

Scratch paper is allowed - but it is stamped with the date and must be turned in later.

When a proctor sees something suspicious, he records the student's real-time work at the computer and directs an overhead camera to zoom in, and both sets of images are burned onto a CD for evidence.

Goodness. And that's not even to mention the extent to which students go to mask plagiarized papers from cheater-sniffing services like Turnitin. Cyrillic letters! Macros! And other schemes that are time-consuming enough to hardly seem worth it.

So what's next? Hopefully a return to simpler times, when you either glanced at your neighbor's paper or took your C- like a man. [NY Times via The Awl]