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Old 03-27-2015, 12:11 PM
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Location: Chicagoland(West Burbs)
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How does an online exam detect if I am using copy/paste/printscreen?

I'm taking some mostly online classes at a community college. Before taking one of the tests the teacher said that if you tried to print or use copy/paste, the test would auto shut down and you would get a zero.

Is this possible? How would the website know if I am highlighting the text and clicking copy? What about the printscreen key? Is that any different.

Another teacher said the test could tell if you were trying to access other online resources?

I'm curious how an online test could know what is happening on my computer?
Old 03-27-2015, 12:21 PM
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Location: Southeast Florida USA
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I suspect what she really meant was "paste". The webpage can run script which can tell the difference between you keystroking an answer versus pasting one in (presumably one plagiarized from Google or Wikipedia). And that script could send a "He's cheating!!!" signal back to the website.

If the test is run inside an activeX, Flash, etc. environment inside your browser, there may be more intrusive features that could be built into the app.
Old 03-27-2015, 12:41 PM
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Know_Nothing View Post
I'm taking some mostly online classes at a community college. Before taking one of the tests the teacher said that if you tried to print or use copy/paste, the test would auto shut down and you would get a zero.

Is this possible? How would the website know if I am highlighting the text and clicking copy? What about the printscreen key? Is that any different.

Another teacher said the test could tell if you were trying to access other online resources?
The web page can definitely detect if you highlight text on the page. Websites can be responsive to mouse up/down/drag events, and to keypresses, so they can figure out what you're selecting, and if you use Ctrl-C to copy, they could notice that, too.

I'm pretty sure that it can notice using the browser menu to copy as well, or trying to print.

I'm not 100% sure how the printscreen key is handled, but if the browser window does not have focus (like if you bring up another window), then I'd say it is unlikely that it could notice that event. Similarly for whether you are accessing other websites.

However, if the test website requires you to install some software, then it could know anything you're doing with your computer. But only what you're doing with that computer. You could still easily get around that by using a different computer to access other sources or running the browser running the test in a virtual machine. If they install software, it may be able to determine that it's running in a virtual machine.
Old 03-27-2015, 12:43 PM
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Location: A German in Cork, Ireland
Posts: 1,131
Well, you could have a second PC/Laptop running next to the one you do the test on, the software interface can not detect that.
If you need screenshots, you can use an external camera to take screenshots.
Old 03-27-2015, 01:02 PM
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I doubt the system is more complex than running scripts "on right click" or "on highlight", or more likely disables te right click menu so you cannot paste. I wonder if they included the cursor highlighting, CTL-C and CTL-V? Only one way to find out, it's not my marks on the line.
Old 03-27-2015, 01:17 PM
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Location: A German in Cork, Ireland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
I doubt the system is more complex than running scripts "on right click" or "on highlight", or more likely disables te right click menu so you cannot paste. I wonder if they included the cursor highlighting, CTL-C and CTL-V? Only one way to find out, it's not my marks on the line.
Sometimes, they have to (or must) run in full screen mode, and providing their own GUI kinda like a PC game.
The software detects if its not run in front of anything else and reports an error. It also limits the input methods, not exactly but like a game where the "W" means forward, "A" means left, "D" right, "S" back.

Most are Java, Flash or ActiveX based or a combination of some or all.
Old 03-27-2015, 03:11 PM
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Location: Tacoma, WA; USA
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I've seen sites that block selecting (and thus copying) any text.

They do this by simply defining an action (that does nothing and returns nothing) for javascripts "onselectstart" event. There are also oncopy, oncut, and onpaste events a webpage could listen for and react to. These events are triggered automatically whenever you perform the relevant action. It's basically your browser saying "hey, I'm trying to copy (or cut, paste, or whatever) something here".
Old 03-27-2015, 03:39 PM
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Join Date: May 1999
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I had such a test, it had its own window, highlighting text would not work and a note would pop up saying it was not allowed. <Ctrl - P> did pop up the note that it was not allowed but it did allow me to print it, even parts that were off the screen.

I could switch to another window and use the internet to help, however I had to type the question in, as I could not copy from the test. I do not know about pasting as this test was multiple choice. I do know know it any report of me trying was sent back to them.
Old 03-27-2015, 03:45 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: North Idaho mostly
Posts: 1,254
Some schools also use a webcam showing you, the screen, and the keyboard. They use a dedicated proctoring site such as ProctorU.
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