Cheating

Many students have become adept at scamming the system. An October article in US News & World Report cited Donald McCabe of Rutgers, one of the leading experts on the subject, who maintains that cheating reached its zenith in the middle of the last decade, when “more than 50% of students ADMITTED to cheating in some form.” (So we can only surmise that the figure was actually higher). Cheaters often devise ingenious ways of being deceitful, as evidenced by the many YouTube suggestions. These include the use of cell phones, pages, calculators, scanners, and other electronic devices. Some of the cheaters rationalize their behavior by claiming that the course is useless or unrelated to anything they might need in the future.

Some educational institutions have t honor codes that place the onus on other students to curb bad behavior. “Studies show that well-designed and enforced honor codes can make big dents in improper behavior.” But many schools are also attempting to combat the problem through technology.

Taylor Ellis, associate dean for undergraduate programs and technology at UCF’s college of business explains their approach. “Many business students now take their tests on cheat-resistant computers in a new, super-secure testing center.” Many students plagiarize by lifting passages straight from Wikipedia or study sites like SparkNotes. Educators are employing a variety of strategies on the war against cheating. These include websites like turnitin.com to anti-cheating hardware. In the former, a teacher can turn on his computer to find phrases that might have appeared in other sources. In the latter case, organizations like the Graduate Management Admissions Council use “palm-print readers to make sure students who sign up for the GMAT are the ones who actually take the tests.”

Remote learners are also subject to anti-cheating deterrents. “Troy University in Alabama encourages online students to install on their home computers a $150 anti-cheating package that includes a 360-degree webcam so that proctors can remotely monitor all sights and sounds in their rooms and software that locks down computers for anything but tests during exams.”

Although cheating has for millennia, technology has made it simpler. Perhaps now, that same technology can provide some solutions.

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