Sharjah: A 12-year-old Indian student in Sharjah has created an anti-cheating guard for online exams that alerts the school if a student is straying away from the exam site to access other websites or documents.
Many students in the UAE and globally are engaged in full distance learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and so taking their exams online this term, which concludes at the end the month. Without proctors walking down aisles in exam halls, keeping an eye on any attempt by students to cheat, educators are taking steps to mitigate cheating during online exams from home.
Aarush, who is the head boy of middle school at DPS Sharjah, and known for his computer skills, was recently approached by his middle school science head of department for an opportunity “to enhance the reliability of the online examination process by creating an anti-cheating mechanism to help the invigilators”.
Aarush, who is from India’s business capital Mumbai, soon delivered the anti-cheating system — which his school’s IT team has not been able to hack despite several attempts during testing. All such attempts failed, including shifting windows, opening new tabs, using shortcuts such as ALT+Tab or CTRL+Tab. “They were trying their best to find a loophole in my code, but the web code worked in all scenarios” and blocked cheating attempts, Aarush said.
“With this capability, invigilators can now assess larger patterns that can help identify, warn repeat offenders and, in the long-run, reduce the incidence of such events,” he added.
Aarush said he has been “attracted like a magnet” to technology since the early days of his childhood. When his parents had gifted him his first battery-operated car, his “first reaction was not to run it around, but turn it upside-down to open it and check what’s inside”. Aarush has been experimenting and learning new tech skills since then, including coding in several computer languages, including Python for artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as the Linux terminal for ethical hacking.
Earlier this month, Aarush led his school team towards winning the ‘Champions Award’ in First Lego League (FLL) Nationals 2021 contest in the UAE. Next stop is Greece, where Aarush, along with his team, will be representing the UAE in the international round of the contest later this month. FLL presents teams with real-world scientific challenges and judges their innovative concepts based on the research and potential impact.
‘Infinity and Beyond’
Aarush and the team is currently working on enhancing their project, called ‘Infinity and Beyond’, for the international round. He did not divulge details about the project but said it was essentially “a futuristic fitness system which will help a lot in these conditions” of the pandemic. He said it was “a unique combination of VR [Virtual Reality] technology with an omnidirectional treadmill that unlocks infinite possibilities for health, tourism and leisure, amid today’s COVID challenges”.
Apart from the FLL project, Aarush has also developed ‘Foresight’ to help people of determination “commute safely”, using a mobile app and wearable technology, including hardware modules at bus stops to assist the visually impaired.
He plans to study computer science in college. His aim is to pursue a master’s degree in science from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the US, specialising in artificial intelligence. “I wish to build a career in Deep Learning and Machine Learning. It’s not just a dream for myself, but also for improving the lives of countless people around me,” he said.
Word of thanks
Aarush thanked his entire school community and his parents for their support. “My parents have been an absolute rock of inspiration, support, motivation, and facilitation. They have always been there to support me and motivate me, regardless of my success or failures.”
Besides his love for technology, Aarush is an avid amateur filmmaker.