I have been thinking about “cheating”. Hmm!!!

Yes, I have. I have also been reading a great deal about assessment for/of/as learning. One of the sad reality is that teaching online this spring 2020 has allowed a bit of “cheating”. That is an understatement! Everyone is complaining. It is much more than a bit. It is a worldwide phenomenon. I am concerned.

Let us face it. We all know that some students prefer the easy way out. Some have not been taught the value of academic integrity. Others see these values not applied or not adhered to in their classes. So, they probably ask why should “we” care!

Why is there a huge surge in numbers of academic integrity cases these days? I know in some universities the numbers have even doubled or are rising exponentially. I have no answer. I am worried.

Another issue comes to mind, and this really makes me wonder. Some “educators” are still asking this question: “How can I assess my students online?” Seriously! Unbelievable! It is as if spring 2020 is the first time ever academia has offered online or distance learning courses! Are the two main issues related: cheating & lack of proper online assessment? Probably … The question that immediately comes to mind is: What are we “educators” going to do about this?

Well, let me be honest. Some students cheat, and will continue to do so whether online or face to face. May be we cannot completely stop them from engaging in the many forms of cheating, but I will certainly do my very best to make it EXTREMELY hard to get away with it.

7 thoughts on “I have been thinking about “cheating”. Hmm!!!

  1. A colleague just mentioned to me that she had a record number of plagiarism cases this past semester. I wonder if some students find it somehow easier to cheat when they know they won’t have to look their instructor in the eye? I also think that students’ experiences this past semester with the unexpected shift to remote instruction must have been somewhat disembodying… could this perhaps have made them feel more disconnected from their work, and, as a result, less ethically responsible for it?

    I know that, no matter what, those determined to cheat will find a way whether face to face or online, so I try not to take it personally. But, at the same time, I work really hard to create assignments that make cheating and plagiarism more difficult. This past semester, for example, I had students write an argument paper taking a position on the Egyptian Musicians’ Syndicate’s February decision to ban public performances by mahraganat artists. Now that’s an essay that can’t be Googled 😅😅😅

    1. Very interesting idea. Yes, our job is to get them to think, be creative, and certainly always be a one step ahead so that they do not “Google” their work.

  2. The C-word – neither cancer nor Covid this time but cheating (though all prevalent, feared and inscrutable.) You have all raised good points. I swear, the only thing that has changed about the conversation surrounding cheating from 30 years ago are the tools to detect it! We do need a new conversation and one that shifts our role away from being detectives and punishers to something more constructive. I don’t have the answers beyond being models for ethical behavior and creating effective assessments that dissuade cheating as pointed out in your post and comments. (Maha’s point about revisiting behaviors that may actually be useful ones – cooperation and finding things online – is not something that I have considered before in the context of cheating – but seems to be one worthwhile direction as a start.)

    1. I have tried “open book exams” with my Applied Linguistics classes with success, but it took time to get them introduced to the idea of “no need to memorize”. Baby steps are needed. I am also using reflective pieces as part of my assessment as learning techniques. It takes time to get them off the habit of googling their reflections!!! But I keep at it, and at the end, they are convinced.

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