Cheating on Online
Cheating Before Technology was Introduced:[編集]
- Before technology was introduced into education, the learning style for the students was very limited. The only possible way that the students learned their subjects was with the teachers standing in front of the class, textbook in hand, with print materials as homework. For university students, that also meant everything was written by hand from daily assignments to their senior thesis.
- Now according to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of the term “cheating” is defined as an action where a particular person “behave[s] in a dishonest way in order to get what [they] want”. Therefore, cheating in the context of education is the action of using someone else’s ideas and work for their own personal gain.
- There are various reasons as to why the students decide to cheat, either on their assignments or tests.
- The first obvious reason is that the students want to get good grades. In an educational society where the Grade Point Average (GPA) matters for their future, the students (especially those in high school) stress about their grades. As mentioned in the Corral News, the difference of GPA 4.0 and 3.8 seems very little for those that are not high school students anymore. For those that are current high schoolers, the gap between those two GPA’s are big, as it can be assumed from the quote below.
- “I felt left out,” “I felt like I needed to do better, and my GPA did improve by .2 points. I now have a 3.5.”
- For those that need the good grade to improve their GPA, the temptation to cheat and copy assignments or tests from others may be high.
- Related to this, another possible reason is when the value of the assignment or test is too big. For example, if the percentage of the final exam was worth 80% of the final grade, then the students who absolutely need the good grade would feel pressured about the exam. That pressure may lead the students to be tempted to cheat -- so that they won’t do so badly on the exam that is worth a lot.
- The next possible reason is that the students do not see the point of working on that particular assignment, causing them to be tempted to cheat. For example, when the assignment that the teacher assigned was not related to their GPA, and the subject was not interesting for a particular student, that student would not be motivated in doing their absolute best. Rather, they would be tempted to get information from their peers, possibly even copying the whole assignment.
- The other reason that students get tempted to cheat is because they are pressured to get perfection. There will always be a student that does absolutely perfect on most if not all the assignments. This ‘perfection’ causes those around the student to think that the student is ‘smart’. As the course material gets difficult though, the students have a harder time hitting the target and getting perfect scores. The people that thought the student was ‘smart’ though, expects the student to continue getting perfect scores -- not thinking about the difficulty of the assignments or tests. Pressured, the students would run for the easiest solution that they can find -- cheating.
- The students though understand that ‘cheating’ is considered to be a bad act. Then why do so many students, over 90% of those that participated in the survey of Edtopia, cheat on their assignments and/or tests? The reason is that the students cheat just enough so that they can still say that they are still ‘honest people’. For example, a student can say that they are just getting help from a friend about a certain assignment, when really they are just copying their friends’ work. The excuses that the students make allows them to conduct cheating without feeling guilty about their actions.
- There are mainly four types of cheating: plagiarism, ghostwriting, copying and impersonation, and traditionally, before technology entered the educational system, there were only old-fashioned way of learning, which included the use of pens, notebooks and textbooks. Therefore the method of cheating was very limited.
- One possible way that the students cheat is with the use of small notes written on their hands or bringing small pieces of paper secretly, especially when they have an exam that they need to take. That small note that they’ve brought to class is a form of copying as they are using what is not originally their own.
- [picture of someone passing notes to people during a test]
- Another possible way that students cheat is simply by looking at others’ work. Since most of the exams and assignments are paper-based, the students have an easier time looking at others’ work. With assignments or essays, since the teacher is not around them the copying is therefore easier. Talking secretly with peers during an exam about the answers would also be part of this category as the students would be ‘copying’ what the other said.
Methods of Prevention:[編集]
- As the cheating is done either by face-to-face conversations during tests or small paper notes, the methods of preventing cheating is fairly simple and can be done easily.
- The first way of preventing is to stop cheating before it even begins. Thinking back to the reasons that the students cheat in the first place, the main reason for their want to cheat was because the students feel pressured to get good grades -- either to please those that have high expectations for them or for their future. Therefore teachers bringing down the pressure level of the assignment or exam is the first step. Another possible method is making test taking an open exam test. The students can bring one piece of paper, a ‘cheat sheet’ and use that to help them solve or answer the problems. By doing this, the students will clearly know that anything more than the one page ‘cheat sheet’ will be considered as “cheating”, giving them no excuse.
- Another method is to motivate them to do their work. It is not good that teachers give too much pressure with the certain assignment or exam, but if the teacher can manage to make the subject as interesting as they can, then there is a good chance that the students will do the work on their own. With this said, it is also possible that the teacher assigns the students to work in pairs, giving them the option of collaborating with each other instead of ‘copying’ it.
Introduction of Technology:[編集]
- The introduction of technology into the educational system allowed teachers and students to learn more easily. Textbooks became digital, allowing the students to carry just one computer with them to class. Essays and assignments also became digital, letting the students write without having to worry about making mistakes. Students also do not have to go to the library to get resources, but simply open a browser and surf for information that they can use.
- With the introduction of technology, online learning became possible for the students, allowing the teachers to have more options as to how to teach the students. There are three major methods of online learning which are distance learning, e-learning, and mobile learning. All three definitions according to Cambridge dictionary, distance learning is “a way of studying, especially for a degree, where you study mostly at home, receiving and sending off work by post or over the internet”. E-learning is “learning done by studying at home using computers and courses provided on the internet”. Mobile learning is “the use of electronic devices such as smart phones, laptop computers, and tablets as teaching devices”. (Cambridge Dictionary)
- The problem with the introduction of technology is that it became easier for the students to cheat on many different things, and harder to catch.
The Vast Type of Technologies:[編集]
- As mentioned above, there are many different technologies related to education in this time of age. The internet is one of the major technology that made learning easier for the students as they can gather information that they need through it, and can also work on assignments and submit them without having to go to school in person. Computers also allowed the students to do so many things such as type their assignments instead of hand writing it. As the computer is connected with the internet, it allows the students to search and write at a much faster pace than back in those days when the only way of learning was writing and a book. Smartphones also allowed the students to study whenever they have the chance, inside the car, train or bus when getting to school in the morning. Videos and cameras also started being used allowing the students to study at their own pace using videos some of the time. Many more technologies are being introduced into educational uses, and all have different, but unique characteristics that would make learning more fun and enjoyable for both the students and teachers.
- The problem is that as technology was introduced into this educational society, the more easier it became for the students to ‘cheat’ on things -- things that they might not even have cheated before.
Similarities and Differences of the Reasons:[編集]
- There are many similarities between the reason why students cheated before technology was introduced and after it was introduced.
- The main reason is so that they can get higher grades or because the expectations of getting good grades for their future (either from their parents or from the society’s perspective) is too much. The other similar reason is how the students are overstressed and did not have enough time to work on separate assignments or exams. Students not interested in the subject would be another reason why students cheat.
- The difference though is that now that the internet is a free library that the students have almost complete access to, the internet encourages plagiarism and other methods cheating, causing the students to feel less guilty about the act itself. For example, before technology was introduced, the students would have to write word for word the long quote that they wanted to use, which obviously takes time and effort. With the internet though, all the students have to do is highlight the wanted quote on their computer, copy it, and paste it onto their essay. Handwriting word for word would take minutes, while the copy and paste method would take less than 10 seconds. When cheating can be done quickly, the less people tend to feel guilty about it.
- The other reason why students cheat for their assignments and exams is because they don’t know the consequences of cheating. In school, the teachers are also getting used to using the technologies and teaching the subject. Rarely, you would hear a teacher talk about the consequences of plagiarising a journal. Rather, it would be noted with very small letters on the very back of the syllabus. Students not knowing about the consequences would also lead to them doing cheating as they do not know that they should feel guilty about the act in the first place.
- Another reason, not that of the students, but of the institutional side is that the lack of time, motivation and support of the administration causes the teachers to hesitate the reporting of cheating. Especially when the case is minor, such as copying from a friend for a small assignment, teachers might let it slide with a small warning to the student. As the teachers are constantly busy with numerous jobs to finish before the end of the day, they do not have the capacity (emotionally) to deal with minor cheating issues -- which would cause the students probably to do the same cheating somewhere else.
- It could also be that universities or departments that value publication and research to the detriment of teaching can falter.
- Another reason that can be thought of is how the teachers cannot simply keep up with the new forms of technology and style of cheating that is going on between the students. As there are new crafty ways of cheating in this time of age, teachers working strenuously do not have the luxury of searching into new cheating styles and making prevention methods. They would only know that that style is being used, after they’ve witnessed it being used in their classroom.
New Methods of Cheating:[編集]
- Before, cheating was done very simply with the use of paper, pen and normal conversations between each other. Now, the methods of cheating has changed as technology has made life much easier for students to learn.
- A primary difference between cheating in a traditional classroom and an online classroom stems mainly from the absence of the physical presence of an authoritive figure -- teachers. For example, when the students are taking classes online, either in the form of distance learning, e-learning, or mobile learning, the teacher is not there and since the test taking is done through the internet. It is therefore easy for the students to quickly search something before answering on the test. Stephens, Young, and Calabrese (2007) examined cheating behaviours using traditional and digital forms of teaching. They found that the “internet and other digital tools are conduits and not [the] cause of academic dishonesty,” however, they stated that the “freedom of [the] internet, in particular, seems to further obfuscate [the] already-abstract concepts” of what constitutes cheating.
- The use of smart watches also made a difference. Before, a watch was a watch, it did nothing but read the time and tell the students just how much time they had left before the exam finished. Now, watches can do so many things including texting someone outside the examination room, or search something through the internet. The outer appearance though is still a watch and once it’s hidden under the sleeves, no one will notice that a student is cheating.
- Phones and wireless earbuds are also problematic. Students can use their wireless earbuds by connecting it with their phone (which is in their bag) and listen to a lecture about a certain subject, and that will give them the hints they need to answer the test.
- In China, there was someone that went all the way to the extent that they got fake fingerprints to pretend to be someone else, taking the test for them (the reason for the impersonation was not clear but it would be safe to assume that it was for the students’ future or for the sake of getting some money).
- Technology is developing at a rapid pace, so rapid that now educators are now worried about new gadgets that will help students cheat easier and in a way that is hard to catch, like spy glasses.
- Here is an easy table that compares the traditional forms of cheating (when the students only used paper and pen) to the more modern forms of cheating (with the introduction of technology).
|Forms of cheating behavior||Traditional||Online|
|Used unpermitted notes during a test||Using unpermitted handwritten crib notes (or cheat sheets) during a test or exam.||Accesses outside website or reference materials during an online test or exam.|
|Impersonation on an assignment / test||Copying (by hand or in person) another student’s homework.||Having another person complete class work for you.|
|Unpermitted collaboration||Working on an assignment with others (in person) when the instructor asked for individual work.||Working with another student (physically present) when the instructor asked for individual work.|
|Plagiarizing a few sentences or an entire paper||Submitting a paper that was developed by someone else or a paper that paraphrases without proper citation.||Submitting a paper that was developed by someone else or a paper that paraphrases without proper citation.|
New Methods of Prevention:[編集]
- As all the contexts of cheating and plagiarism is a serious and widespread problem in the eyes of all educators, there are some new methods of prevention for this new style of cheating that has been continually conducted by students with the use of technology.
- In terms of identity authentication, there are many possible methods to prevent students from cheating. One would be to randomize the questions that the students are taking (via online) so that it is harder for the students to prepare something during beforehand (like an audio recording of the answers, or discussing it with a friend). For instance, if there was a pool of 30 exam questions and each attendee had to answer 5, the probability of half or more of the questions matching for 2 "collaborative friends" would be rather low. Another would be to time the test itself so that the students would have just enough time to finish on their own. With the use of the internet, research has become much easier and faster. Still, when they are to search the answers and answer it correctly on the online test, it takes time. Therefore, when the exam is timed, and the students are cheating, they would eventually run out of time. Another method is to either lock all internet browsers or have a signal jammer (if the students are taking the exam at a specific place). When the internet browsers are locked, the students would have no way of searching for information through their computers which would decrease the amount of cheating conducted by students. Another method, if the students are taking the exam at a specific place, would be to use metal detectors so that the students can entrust their electronic devices before going on their way to take the test. With this, all metallic devices would not be brought into testing. The use of fingerprints and facial recognition is also another method of preventing impersonation, although the quality can be questioned at times.
- As for cheating done for assignments such as plagiarism, there are new softwares and applications that check for plagiarism. Teachers have access to these applications and can quickly verify what parts the student took from certain places. One application shows just how much similarity the section has with a certain website as it shows in percentage form (for example). Therefore, it is easier for the teachers to visually see whether the students plagiarised or not.
- Desktop sharing and video monitoring is another method that the teachers can take to prevent cheating in a classroom with the use of technology. By making it compulsory for the exam attendees or those working on an assignment in the classroom to go into a desktop sharing mode, (as well as making themselves visible via a webcam throughout the exam or class time), the students will feel pressured, causing them to not want to take the risk of cheating. With desktop sharing, the students or exam attendees do not know when exactly the teacher is looking at their screen, therefore it is riskier for the students to cheat on the spot with their technological device.
- Concerning the handling of online tests, it is important that the teachers keep their teaching materials secure so that no material is uploaded onto the internet where the students can see. It is also risky for teachers to use open materials (one that anyone can see) as worksheet or assignments as the answers would probably be online. Changing the question by just a little would help so that the students can get hints from what is online, but not enough to copy the whole answer. Using material that is viewable only for teachers is a better option though, and therefore to prevent cheating, teachers should be aware of how resourceful the students can be.
- There are further problems with these new prevention methods of cheating.
- One problem is that technology is improving by the day, therefore causing some of these methods to not work for new cheating styles five years later. For example, in the past, watches were useful devices that told the students what time the exam finished. Now, it is difficult for the students to bring in watches to the testing place, as the educators are worried that the students would bring smart watches to cheat.
- Another problem would be that these prevention methods do not prevent communication with others. If the classes were conducted online, then the teacher would have no idea whether the students enrolled in that class were in the same room, taking the same lecture or not. If the students were, then there would be no prevention methods of the two friends working together to finish the assignments or exams.
- As ‘copying’ on computers or taking pictures is so easy in this time of age, there is no real way of preventing students from copying the assignment or exam questions too. Therefore, when everything is done online with the new learning styles (distance learning, e-learning, or mobile learning) it is continually difficult to prevent cheating.
- Another problem that should be solved in some way is how the examination and research of cheating behaviours in an e-learning system (or any online learning for that matter) has not been conducted to the point of satisfactory. As it is expected, there will be an increase in enrollment in online courses in the near future, and the prevalence of technology-aided cheating in the education environment is evident. Therefore it is necessary for research on these cheating behaviours, so that prevention methods can be thought of.