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Examining online cheating

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More colleges and universities are offering online courses than ever before. This helps non-traditional students achieve their academic goals, as they can often attend class at their convenience and do their coursework on their own schedule. Course materials are also often available throughout the course, whereas in a traditional college setting if you miss a class you may miss an entire day’s worth of material. This makes college more convenient for more students.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to online college courses. Chief among them is the opportunity to cheat. Academic cheating can take many forms. Students can purchase a term paper or a test, they can pay someone to take a test for them, or they can use notes and books when instructed not to. This type of cheating might be easier to detect in a traditional classroom, but it is proving to be more difficult with online classes.

In one survey, 73% reported a belief that every student cheats at some point in their academic career, and it is much more prevalent among undergraduates than graduates. The need to do well sometimes means doing whatever it takes, including cheating.

Academic dishonesty is prevalent both online and in traditional classroom settings. While most professors report being able to spot cheating quite easily, it’s much more difficult with online students. Regional testing centers can make the online experience more expensive and difficult to schedule, so that doesn’t seem to work. However, altering coursework accordingly, using special software, and webcam proctors seem to work quite well.

Cheating in college doesn’t pay off in the long run, so why risk it? Cheating is becoming easier to detect as technology catches up to demand, so before long it will be easy to bust a cheater. Just do your best and take the grades you earn. Check out this infographic for more.

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