Heard of Course Hero?

Have you heard of “Course Hero?” Course Hero is a website that advertises itself as a way for students to “master” their classes. It’s one of a handful of websites that allow students to upload notes from classes they have taken, and access notes other students have uploaded. Similar sites include Study Soup and One Class, and a number of others that come into and out of use.

The material students upload to these sites can include not just their personal notes, but also course content instructors have created. In some cases, this might be material you, as the instructor, would not want freely shared.

Examples include screenshots of quiz questions in Sakai, or a study document with test answers.

What can you do?

  1. See if your content is online. If you would like to check if any of your own course content is out there, you can visit any of the sites yourself: Course Hero: https://www.coursehero.com/ ; Study Soup: https://studysoup.com/ ; One Class: https://oneclass.com/. You can generally browse the sites by institution, school, or class subject and preview some material, without having to create an account. We have discovered content from Gillings’ courses on some of these sites.
  2. Consult with Aiya Williams, Instructional Technology Manager (aiya@unc.edu) or Andrew Ochs, Instructional Web Developer (Andrew_ochs@unc.edu) to learn techniques for making it more difficult for students to cheat. While you cannot absolutely secure all material provided to students, in Sakai or elsewhere, there are measures you can take to help to prevent unwanted sharing.
  3. Take some basic steps.
    1. Regularly update your material. The most important thing you can do is regularly update your material. If you use the same content, activities and assignments in the same order each semester, you are making it easier for students to capture and share content. Consider whether they are elements in your course that you can update, alternate in use, or re-order each semester. This can have benefits to your course beyond just preventing sharing.
    2. Use Sakai tools. For graded assessments, there are also techniques in the Tests & Quizzes tool in Sakai to make it harder to share quiz questions and answers. These include question and/or answer randomization, time limits, one question per page presentation, and more.

Get in touch with us at sph-edtech@unc.edu if you would like to learn more.