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Professors believe students cheat more online, and colleges ramped up use of detection tools amid shift to remote instruction this spring. Better assessment and student engagement would be more effective, experts say.
Most professors certainly think so. Sixty percent of the nearly 2, respondents to Inside Higher Ed 's Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology last fall said they believed academic fraud occurs more frequently in online than in face-to-face courses remember those? And 93 percent of respondents to a recent survey by Wiley said they believed students were ificantly more likely 62 percent or more likely to cheat in an online course than in a face-to-face course. Many colleges seem to think so, too, and they ramped up their use of proctoring systems and other technology tools this spring as COVID forced them to deliver most of their instruction remotely.
The facts, though, are less clear. Historically, the proportion of surveyed students self-reporting that they have cheated on an exam at least once in the last year "has been at about 11 percent for a couple of decades," Tricia Bertram Gallant, director of the academic integrity office at the University of East china MI cheating wives, San Diego, said in a webcast during Wiley's Wicked Summer Camp for Online Teaching this month.
While that's almost certainly underreported, because people who "doing things that are socially undesirable … are not usually up front about admitting those behaviors," Bertram Gallant says, the fact that the s haven't changed directionally even as online education has taken hold suggests that virtual learning hasn't changed the academic dishonesty landscape ificantly. Letters to the Editor A reader has submitted a response to this article.
You can view it hereand find all of our Letters to the Editor here. I don't think the internet is an epochal technological change -- it's just another in a series of the wheel turning. The International Center for Academic Integrity is conducting a survey about whether cheating and other forms of academic misconduct spiked during the pivot to remote instruction this spring, as many anecdotes suggest.
But given what we know about why students cheat and about students' experiences this spring, Bertram Gallant said, it would hardly be surprising if thrusting students suddenly into virtual learning didn't "make it more likely that students will cheat … than they might have a year ago. Most students and their instructors were in unfamiliar terrain, educationally and personally: learning in a new environment, dealing with the uncertainty and fear of a global pandemic, and much more.
Many of the hastily transformed courses they took through the spring hadn't been built with the internet in mind, therefore they lacked the sorts of regular engagement and interaction that the best online and in-person courses offer. Surveys have consistently shown that students' biggest complaint this spring was a lack of engagement. One logical response to perceived or real cheating is stepped-up enforcement, and "if you don't have an enforcement approach, you're letting down honest students, saying, 'We don't care,' and that's not OK," Rettinger of Mary Washington said in an interview.
Many colleges and universities turn to various forms of technology to monitor students and try to ward off cheating, but "that often winds up resulting in an arms race or being a game of whack-a-mole," said Rettinger, who acknowledges being East china MI cheating wives opposed to systems. For more thorough explorations of the pros and cons of proctoring systems, look here and here.
The better question than "how can I stop cheating? Rettinger's list of "small, scalable changes" instructors can make with academic integrity in mind can be found in the box at right. Community building. Harrison described the importance of creating a sense of belonging, so that students feel part of a learning community rather than giving in to the "mercenary self-interest" he described above.
Some of that is achieved through transparency, not just about the rules and requirements related to academic honesty but about the purposes of the course and of asments. Listening is also key. Students who cheat, like people who break other kinds of rules, often rationalize it by saying they don't feel supported or understood, Rettinger said.
In the shift to remote learning this spring, Rettinger gave his students a survey, shared by one of his colleagues, about how their learning might be affected when they were remote. Do you have reliable internet? Would you prefer a recording? Asments and assessments.
Harrison urged instructors to give students "scaffolded, supported opportunities at lower-stakes levels to practice the skills, ability and knowledge they'll need to build into the competencies" they're expected to develop during the course. Creating lots of quizzes can result in a lot of work for instructors, but many tools exist -- from publishers and open educational resources providers alike -- that provide large banks of questions to supplement those a professor might develop on his or her own.
That's one way that technology -- which many instructors see as a foe, enabling sharing platforms that some students use to cheat -- can actually help professors, too, Rettinger said. Giving students "some kind of choice and control can reduce the temptation to circumvent the asment, as can making asments "relevant to their lives," said Bertram Gallant. Ultimately, she said, instructors have both a responsibility to ensure that grades and ultimately degrees have value, so some degree of controlling students' behavior is probably required.
But to the extent colleges see it as their responsibility to turn out "people who choose to be ethical citizens and professionals," controlling behavior should take a back seat to enhancing the learning environment to encourage good behavior. If the focus is on behavior control, she said, "you're not going to be producing morally self-regulating people.
At a time when professors, like their students, are dealing with a great deal of uncertainty about many things, it might be tempting to press the "easy button" on academic integrity by embracing a proctoring system or lockdown browser, Rettinger said. The strategies discussed above can take time and energy that may seem in short East china MI cheating wives.
But think of it like fitness, he said. A lot of instructors would benefit from rebuilding their pedagogy, not only to minimize academic dishonesty but to build student engagement and learning. With many colleges' plans still in flux for the fall, what teaching and learning issues are keeping you up at night because of excitement, anxiety or some other combination of factors? Please contact me via here or direct message me on Twitter IHElearning.
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