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Do More People Cheat in Online Classes than Traditional Face-to-Face Classes?

Many people think it’s easy to cheat in an online classroom setting. There’s no instructor watching you while you’re taking tests and no one to monitor the resources you’re consulting, so how would anyone ever know? It’s not necessarily easier to cheat in an online setting, but cheaters do use different tactics.

Plagiarizing Answers from the Web

 copy Do More People Cheat in Online Classes than Traditional Face to Face Classes?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re working towards a DeVry University online degree or a similar program, you’re taking exams online. Students cheat by using Google or other resources to look up answers, but some get caught by copying responses word-for-word from the Web. Instructors are now implementing strict no plagiarism policies to combat this behavior.

Online proctoring is a remote monitoring system used to capture screen casts while students are signed into exams, which verifies whether a student left the exam window. If a student visits Google or another resource to look up answers, they’ve been caught.

Writing Notes on Your Arms or Under Labels

Students in physical classroom settings can’t refer to Google, but they do try tactics such as writing some pertinent notes on their arms, under the brim of a hat, under a band-aid or inside the label of a water or soda bottle. While they try to hide this by wearing long sleeves and being as discreet as possible, this trick is nearly impossible to get away with today. More schools are using proctors for better monitoring during exams, so there are more than one set of eyes watching test-takers.

Having Someone Else Take Your Exams

Students get caught trying to stand in for other students on exam days—both in online and real-world classrooms. Some students even use this technique to get better scores on their SATs. That’s why formal exams, such as the SAT, have strict identification requirements. In an online setting, web cams are sometimes used to verify the test-taker’s identity.

Other methods of collaborating with friends include using hand signals and other signs to communicate responses, copying another student’s responses by looking at his exam, and taking a picture of exams with a smart phone to share with friends. These are tactics that only work in in-person settings, however.

Referring to Textbooks and Notes

Unless you’re taking an open-book test, you shouldn’t be referring to your textbook or your notes. Online instructors have a harder time monitoring this behavior. Evaluating the time it takes a student to enter a response is one way to detect a student referring to outside resources, but it can’t always be proven.

Administering tests in real time and limiting the allotted time to complete exams and each question also helps to make sure students don’t have time to consult other resources when they don’t know the correct answer. These techniques don’t totally prevent cheating, but they do deter some cheaters from trying.

Cheating is never a good idea, no matter how easy it is to get away with. It’s becoming more difficult to get away with cheating in online formats as well as in classrooms. Regardless, cheating doesn’t serve you any valuable educational purpose, and it could get you penalized if you get caught. Make smart choices to get the most from your education.

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