Inspiration

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most schools are planning to move to remote learning for the foreseeable future, which brings its own set of challenges. A very prominent challenge is the increased incidences of plagiarism and other university/school honor code violations. Specifically, posting the questions in a test or problem set online to get answers when this is not allowed. To battle this, we have developed an application that allows the teaching staff to monitor commonly known websites that host homework/test solutions such as Chegg & Coursehero real-time for posts asking for solutions to their unique questions. This will relieve the staff from the burden of having to manually search for these posts -- an arduous undertaking. It would be particularly helpful to teachers from schools that are unable to allocate sufficient resources or time to tackle the increase in the number of plagiarism incidents.

What it does

Allows instructors to login, and search their unique questions. If the question is found on any of these popular websites, it will come up as a result on the search bar with a link to the post. They can then have it taken down from the site. This way, they don't have to waste time manually searching for their question on each website.

How I built it

Using the MERN stack and joined GitHub repo with the team

Challenges I ran into

We could not access the website data through web scraping because many of them had content that is only accessible to paid users. There were some workarounds online, but they all seemed to be unethical -- which would be rather ironic in our project. Thus, we figured that this is beyond the scope of this hackathon, and we'd love to implement it going forward.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

For almost all of us, this was our first real hackathon and that in itself was a huge accomplishment. Coming into this, we didn’t really know what to expect as not only were we new to the hackathon scene, but many of us are only just now starting to learn about web development specifically. More so than anything else, we are proud of our final product and the fact that we can walk away from this experience having creating something that people can actually use. Although, there are still some kinks that need to be worked out (as there always will be), all four of us now have a solid understanding of how to approach these issues and with time, we are confident that we will be able to create an application that our own professors could utilize. It’s crazy to think that we were able to find an issue that we saw occurring at our own schools and within our own student bodies, come up with a solution and even start solving it. This was a major boost to our confidence in coding and we can’t wait to see what future hackathons hold.

What I learned

Since none of us knew much about how the MERN stack worked, but knew it was a key component in many web applications, we wanted to start there. Coming into this hackathon, our main goal was to learn more and after learning about the Google Cloud Platform to firebase, mongodb to database management, this hackathon was a great dive into the nooks and crannies of web development. We started by first following a mock MERN stack tutorial, and through that we were able to create an exercise log in javascript using node package manager. That tutorial equipped us with the skills we needed to embark on our plagiarism detector. Additionally, we learned about puppeteer and how to use javascript to scrape data. It’s fair to say this hackathon pushed all of us outside of our comfort zones and encouraged us to expand our computer science knowledge regardless of our prior individual experience levels.

What's next for Test Protect

We would love support to develop this into a fully functioning tool for teachers. Since some of us have taught before or are teaching assistants at our universities, we are very passionate about this product. As a team of strangers, we found an awesome group of hackers and look forward to working together going forward.

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