Cheating problems in online courses have eased – Campus Technology


Survey: Cheating issues in online courses have eased

According to a new report from Wiley, college instructors have changed their attitude toward academic integrity in online courses. Just 27% of teachers surveyed by the education publisher last fall said they believed students were much more likely to cheat in an online class than an in-person class – a precipitous drop from 62% who said the same in 2020.

“Many college professors became concerned about academic integrity issues when classes moved to online instruction at the start of the pandemic,” explained Jason Jordan, senior vice president of digital education at Wiley. , in a press release. “Our results, however, suggest that these concerns have been significantly dispelled as instructors have gained more experience with distance learning courses.”

Instructors said they used a number of strategies to ease academic integrity concerns in their online courses:

  • 55% used online monitoring software;
  • 37% lowered their grades due to cheating;
  • 36% used more open-ended questions;
  • 34% created question pools;
  • 33% talked to students about the consequences more often;
  • 28% gave more project-based assignments;
  • 28% added a section in the syllabus to raise awareness of cheating;
  • 24% have instituted mandatory honor code signing;
  • 17% eliminated or reduced multiple-choice questions; and
  • 15% awarded more essays.

Notably, while the majority of students surveyed (59%) agreed that cheating was easier online than in person, only 28% said they were more likely to cheat online. For most students (52%), course modality had no impact on their likelihood of cheating. And 73% said they’re simply less likely to cheat if they think they’re at risk of getting caught.

Students gave a variety of reasons why they might cheat:

  • 71% cited pressure to get good grades;
  • 44% said they had too many classes;
  • 43% feel pressured by the cost of a degree;
  • 42% found it difficult to balance school with other responsibilities;
  • 40% said they were more likely to cheat if the course content/material was not relevant to them personally;
  • 37% were more likely to cheat if course content/materials were not relevant to their major;
  • 34% perceived assignments as heavy work; and
  • 26% cheated because others cheated.

To shed more light on students’ motivations for academic integrity, the report quotes Tricia Bertram Gallant, director of the Office of Academic Integrity at the University of California, San Diego and board member of the International Center for Academic Integrity: “Research tells us that people are more likely to engage in dishonesty when they are stressed and under pressure and when they find themselves in a situation where standards are unclear and there are temptations and opportunities.”

“The actual belief that their peers cheat is one of the strongest predictors of academic dishonesty,” added David Rettinger, director of academic programs at the University of Mary Washington and president emeritus of the International Center for Academic Integrity. . “Being surrounded by cheaters has an almost contagious effect.”

Wiley’s “New Insights into Academic Integrity” report is based on a September 2021 survey of 2,868 college professors and 682 students in the United States and Canada as a follow-up to its Spring 2020 report. on academic integrity. The full report is available on the Wiley site.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is editor-in-chief of Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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