Technology playing a big part in academic misconduct

For years students have found ways to cheat on tests, papers, and other assignments.

Posted: Nov. 13, 2017 5:48 PM
Updated: Nov. 13, 2017 5:48 PM

For years students have found ways to cheat on tests, papers, and other assignments.

Now 83 students at Ohio State University are accused of cheating on a business class assignment by collaborating on it using GroupMe, a popular messaging app.

University officials there say the students used the app to collaborate on a graded assignment.

We spoke with Sandy Parsons-Ellis, the dean of students at Chico State, and she said there’s so much pressure to do well and the stakes are so high that there’s motivation to cheat.

Academic misconduct is the umbrella term for cheating, plagiarism, or any other unauthorized collaboration, but it's not always so black and white.

“Students don't always understand what they did to be cheating, so a lot of it is education,” she said.

That's just one problem, but in most cases students know when they're cheating, and they're getting a lot more creative.

“Gone are the days when they're stuffing a little cheat sheet in their sleeves, we get those but they're taking photos of exams, they're using telephones, they're using smart watches, camera devices that hang around their necks, they're programming formulas into calculators.”

Technology at the heart of a cheating a scandal at Ohio State University, where 83 students are accused of using a popular app called GroupMe to collaborate on a graded assignment.

At Chico state, there were 23 cases of academic misconduct last year, down from 40 the year before, and 78 the year before that.
“Now does that necessarily mean cheating is decreasing? Not necessarily, we need more information,” she said.

She says students may just be better at getting away with it, which means she also has to stay on top of the new trends, but she doesn't necessarily know how they can prevent people from cheating, especially when it has become so prevalent.

“I think people have gotten sort of lackadaisical about it, like 'oh, everybody cheats.' Well no, not everybody cheats.”

She says it makes her sad to see students in her office because of academic misconduct, and that's why she wants to help them understand the university is there to support them in whatever way it can, and they don't have to turn to cheating.

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