Bots in Online Classes
Pasadena City College
- Student Fraud Review Process Overview
California Community Colleges continue to see fraudulent activities in from the application through registration of students. The Chancellor’s Office Technology Center continues to monitor and take steps towards reducing information and cybersecurity threats through CCCApply. It is still the case that we continue to see fraudulent activity at PCC despite the safeguards at the application level. We have locally taken steps to reduce the incidents of fraudulent activity and try to reduce the number of students who are able to register for classes and receive financial aid.
This document outlines the processes and procedures for identifying and addressing issues of student fraud.
- Admissions Application
- Applicant load into Banner
- Financial Aid Application
- Course Registration
The Chancellor’s Office Tech center is regularly placing safeguards into the application to help identify potential fraudulent applications.
PCC Applications Received
Once a CCCApply application is received, PCC runs a process using identified patterns and places a hold on the applications of anyone suspected of application fraud.
Similarly, Financial aid is running analyses on students who apply for Financial Aid looking for factors that suspects application fraud.
Once holds are placed, applicants cannot register for classes until they provide supporting evidence to verify their identity. Admissions and Records staff review the documentation and determine whether to lift the hold or not.
Registration Open through First Day of Classes
Once registration opens, we will be monitoring registration patterns that raise any alerts to possible fraudulent activity. Identified applicants will be investigated by the Fraud Workgroup and a determination will be made on:
- Placement of Holds
- Dropping from classes immediately upon identification
First Day of Class Onward
Once the class begins, faculty can help identify possible fraudulent students. If any students are suspected, faculty can complete the Fraudulent Student Reporting Form.
Faculty will drop students for nonparticipation at the beginning of class following PCC procedure AP 5057 Course Attendance, Adds, Drops, and Withdrawals.
Requests will be investigated and a determination made to place holds.
- The form will be automatically routed to Dean of Enrollment Services (Myriam Altounji) for review
- Myriam Altounji will review, investigate and collaborate with A&R, FinAid, ITS, Fiscal, etc.
- Based on investigation, the recommended approach I.e. Hold placed to prevent registration, student is notified and provided steps of how to remove the hold.
- Ticket is closed and a notification will be sent on the resolution to the initiator.
Instructor Strategies for Bots (Check-ins)
- Create several required check-in assignments.
- Instead of one check-in discussion, create a few other (varied) assignments that are required. You can include a syllabus or orientation quiz, and have a minimum score to pass it. You can also include assignments such as updating the student profile picture in Canvas, or recording their name using NameCoach.
- Another idea is to use a video check-in assignment, such as using Flipgrid.
- For example, BIT courses have 5-6 check-in assignments, which help to eliminate bots in the first week.
- Vary what you ask them to do in check-in discussions. Instead of just text responses, ask students to share a photo of something related to the class or something that represents them, and ask them to explain why they chose that picture.
- The more you vary the types of check-in assignments and increase the number of required check-in assignments, the less likely it will be that the bot will complete the required check-in.
- Best practice: Have 3-5 required check-in assignments using a variety of assignments.
Instructor Strategies for Bots (Regular Contact & Attendance)
- Be sure to closely monitor student activity and submissions each week.
- If a student has not submitted an assignment, check to see when they last logged in.
- Send students a message if they are a day past due on an assignment. Give them 12-24 hours to submit or to contact you. You can easily message a student who has not submitted an assignment directly from the Gradebook.
- Be clear in your syllabus and in your course orientation module that students may be dropped if they do not submit assignments or participate in the class for a week or more (this can vary depending on how long the course is – if it’s 6 weeks it should be a shorter window). The Schedule of Classes lists the due date for an introductory assignment for each online class section.
- If you message a student and they do not submit or respond, drop them from the course. Do not let them remain in the course if they are not active and submitting assignments.