Student Authenticity with Waveforms

As a Community College and University student, the first time a class meets we usually refer to it as “Syllabus Day”. This is because instructors generally spend the first class period going over the course syllabus and expectations for the the term. Something common to every syllabus I have read is student integrity, ethics, and a strict no-cheating policy. I consider myself a generally honest student and have not found myself tempted toward academic dishonesty. However, every quarter I am reminded that this is not the case with every student. Each instructor has their own methods and dedication to preventing academic dishonesty, some more effective than others.

Sometimes students don’t know they are cheating. This picture suggests that this student probably knows they are being dishonest. Photo from here:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:School_exam_cheating_no_background.png

One way to learn how honest a class is is to be a teaching assistant and grader. You can quickly learn who is working on assignments together and who is producing original work. Now, I don’t think there is anything wrong with teamwork (unless the instructor specifically forbids it) but when working as a team it is still important that everyone understands everything as much as possible since tests and exams are generally done individually.

Group work: a great way to share ideas and ask for help
and grounds for temptation towards academic dishonesty.
Photo from here: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1363892

In Electrical Engineering, we often need to produce screen shots of oscilloscope waveforms and/or the numerical data associated with the display. Typically, benchtop oscilloscopes have a continuous time and date stamp that is present in the corner of the screen as is the case with UW Bothell’s oscilloscopes. When using Waveforms software, this time stamp has to be manually selected when exporting Oscilloscope images or data but includes date, time, device name, and device serial number. This makes it very easy to confirm original/shared/copied work within a classroom/lab. Having ample, portable hardware available like the Analog Discovery 2, per student actually encourages students to do their own work since it can be done whenever it is convenient for the student or when they are feeling inspired to get some work done rather than just relying on limited, scheduled lab time.

Waveforms Oscilloscope Data Export tool.
Notice the unique device and time data in the header.
Waveforms Oscilloscope Image Export tool.
Notice the unique device and time data in the bottom right corner of the exported image.

Thanks Waveforms!

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