Using Technology To Cheat

Using Technology To Cheat

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Using Technology to Cheat

Cheating on tests and exams has come a long way from writing on ones skin or clothing and hiding crib notes, too the use of high tech gadgets to get an A. Advances in technology have also made it easier to cheat on homework and term papers. “The number of students admitting to cheating has increased significantly over the past 60 years, and students aren’t just cheating to pass, they are cheating to get ahead.”(Education-Portal, n.d. )
Why Students Cheat
The pressure to get through college faster and with top grades is growing stronger every year. Employers are expecting and demanding so much out of college students, in today’s workforce, that even an Associates or Bachelors degree seems just about as useful as a high school diploma or vocational trade did for the baby boomers. This is not the only reason why students cheat.
Most students begin to cheat before college, because their parents expect them to do better then they did. They also cheat because they are lazy, uninterested, or the subject is too hard to understand, but it is required to take. They are also cheating because it has become convenient to do so. This is not limited to a specific gender, or race, but in fact according to Educational Testing Services, (1999) “Thirty years ago, males admitted to significantly more academic dishonesty than females. Today, that difference has decreased substantially and some recent studies show no difference in cheating between men and women in college.” With the fast paced world we live in, we try to cram what seems like a weeks worth of classes, work, family, and friends into a twenty-four hour day. Technological advances help us to ease this feeling and make’s it possible for us to stay connected to not only those close to us, but classes and professors, too. Sadly so, cheating has become normal and in some cases has become socially acceptable.
How Students Cheat
“First of all, today’s technologically savvy students are being taught by instructors who are less aware of today’s newer technologies.”(College Values, n.d. ) Teachers and professors are finding it harder to keep up with new technology and students appear to always be connected. With a stroke of the keys the World Wide Web becomes a vast informational base for any report or paper and becomes the easiest form of cheating, know as cyber plagiarism.

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“Cyber Plagiarism is copying or down loading in part, or in their entirety, articles or research papers found on the Internet or copying ideas found on the web and not giving proper acknowledgement.”(Isecon, 2003) The easiest way for a student to get caught up in plagiarizing is by using the “cut-n-past” method. With this students try to take many ideas or phrases from different web sites and copy them down without making the sentences their own. They also try to merge parts of sentences or even whole sentences together to try and throw off professors, but in all actuality this is the easiest way for professors to begin to detect plagiarism. In some cases it’s believed that some students are not aware of how to appropriately write a paper without plagiarizing. Another way the web helps students to cheat is by allowing papers to bought and sold on line. Why take the time to write a paper when you can pay someone to write it for you?
When it comes to homework assignments emailing and texting the answers to classmate is the way to go. It is to hard to get together with classmates and find the time to study, but technology can bring everyone together without having to be in the same room. This is how online classes have become so popular, however; they lead to a different kind of cheating all together. “While the research on academic dishonesty in general is quite extensive, there is very little research on student cheating in on-line courses relative to standard, face-to-face classes.”(editlib,n.d. ) After all how is a professor to know when the actual student is taking the online course and how many students have walked away with a degree that someone else earned for them?
“The means and methods by which a student uses technology to cheat on a test tends to be both sophisticated and discreet than those used in cheating on an assigned work.”(finalized, n.d. ) While it is fairly easy to cheat on papers and homework assignments, students are resorting to more creative methods of bringing high tech cheating into the classroom for the use on tests and exams. This is do in part to the vast amount of knowledge that a student is being required to take in, within a shorter class time.
Although most students cram for exams, others find themselves resorting to the use of there cell phones, two-way pagers, and or Blackberries as another means of cheating. Some examples, are using the camera phone to take pictures of a test, and sending it to someone that has more knowledge in the subject, or has access to the answer key, or a book to retrieve the answers and send it back to the student. Another way to cheat using a cell phone or Blackberry is by having access to the internet which allows students to interact with one another using instant messaging. For instance, one student can be at home on there computer while the other student is in the classroom taking a test. They are able to communicate by the student sending the question to another who can retrieve the answer from a web site and send the information back without anyone knowing.
Another form of cheating in the classroom is by using an MP3 player or an iPod. Unlike the tape recorder, formerly used in the classroom to record the lectures of a teacher, students are using the MP3 player to record themselves reciting notes taken in the class and then listening to it while taking a test or exam. An iPod, however; can display images, videos, or a list of answers meant to be seen by others as song titles. This is slowly taking the place of the scientific calculator, when it comes to graphs because of its smaller size. However, it is not replacing it all together especially among high school students who are vastly using updated versions of the scientific calculator like the TI-83Plus. They are not only using them in the classroom but also for college entry exams.
Minimizing the Extensive Use of Technological Cheating
“It is unclear whether cheating has grown with technology. But technology will only worsen as digital technology gets smaller, cheaper and into more hands.”(forums,1998) With the new and improved technology, catching a student cheating has become almost impossible, therefore; college campuses need to get ahead of the game. There have been suggestions of having more written exams to evaluate the knowledge of a student but with that has arrived new challenges. Technology has put an unwanted burden on universities to watch closely for such activities and try to implement stricter policies that would protect the fairness of other students that are doing it the right way. The problem with this is that disciplinary actions are not being enforced fairly or consistently.
Many campuses rely on an honor system and try to impose the harsh punishment of being expelled if caught as a means of stopping students from participating in the potentially lethal acts of cheating. Professors are beginning to band the use of cell phones and personal computers within their class rooms, but unless they are interacting and paying close attention to their students, they will miss many of the signs of cheating. It has also been known that professors are creatures of habit, and their students are looking for any loop hole and/or studying the patterns of their professor’s behavior. Therefore, Professors need to be on their toes, never behaving in the same way for every test, and to be actively watching the class instead of reading or grading papers or anything else that may be of a distraction giving there students ample opportunity to cheat.
More extreme methods have been sought after to stop students from using the internet while they are writing papers or taking a test on a computer. Most Universities and Colleges have put into place different forms of anti-plagiarism, like turnitin.com, Wcopyfind, and SafeAssignment. These are sites that students may submit their papers to, to check for plagiarism before they turn them into their professors. Also, more professors could require there students to use other forms of research, like books, newspaper articles, journals etc.
When it comes to taking an exam, most of the high tech solutions to stop students from gaining access to the internet have been found to be costly and/or timely, however; in the fall of 2004, Franklin College found the software Securexam. This software would lock the student into Microsoft word until he or she was done with the assignment or test. The file would then be encrypted so that no changes could be made until the professor put it into a secondary program to decrypt it. This program will also inform the professor as to how long the paper took, and if a student tried to leave before completion. (lecher, 2005). This is a very successful program and so far has been found to be the best software on the market today.
Conclusion
There will always be a desire for students to do what they need to do to get ahead, and cheating seems to be the most convenient. No matter what the consequences are, they find themselves doing it more and more to make the grade. Teachers and professors on the other hand need to keep a keen eye on there students and take the necessary precautions to make sure that it does not take place in the classroom. With technology taking great strides to make life easier, it is only enabling students to become more and more clever in constructing there cheating methods. Although the educational system will never fully be able to rid their classrooms of cheating, making the awareness top priority may in someway decrease its overwhelming success. In short, students will always find a means to cheat through technology, no matter what measures are taken to prevent it from happening and what consequences might lay ahead.

References

Educational Testing Service (1999).Academic Cheating Fact Sheet: http://www.nocheating.org
geocities.com/zenoszone/finalized_draft_cheating_and_technology.doc
Lecher, Mark (2005). Academic Honesty Through Technology: from www.ascue.org
Forums (1998). http://www.WirelessAdvisor.com
http://educationportal.com/75_to_98_Percent_of_College_Students_Wave_Cheated.html
http://Collegevalues.org/pdfs/KaufmanaCademiconesty.pdf
http://www.editlib.org
http://isedj.org/isecon/2003/3515/ISECON.2003.oniel.pdf
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