Using technology to cheat and to catch cheaters

cheat lieby Mattastic!

[Via DrugMonkey]

It’s an old story for the teaching professors in the audience, I realize. But this story made me profoundly sad. I mean WTF? I never, ever thought seriously about cheating on class work in my rather lengthy schooling career. Not to get a desired grade, not to make up for laziness or excessive weekend behavior, not for any reason.

Well, I suppose we know where the scientific data fakers come from. This population of undergrads which thinks cheating is a-ok.

Go read that bit and tell me it doesn’t make you sad….


People may argue that this is worse with MBA students than with scientists (I’d certainly hope that scientists cheating would be a little smarter than some of these students) but while technology makes it easier to plagiarize, it also makes it easier to catch.

What is disturbing here, though, is that there are incentives in place to not only continue the cheating but for the professor to ignore that cheating.

That should be unacceptable but is probably another sign of how broken most of our institutions of higher learning are.

I did like the view that the professor took –with so much rampant cheating it was up to him to find a solution. He changed assignments in such a way as to preclude cheating and added oral presentations, with the grades being determined in part by their peers. Here the students who did not cheat helped police those that did.

He found creative ways to reduce cheating by making it ineffective or unpalatable. As he wrote:

In other words, my theory is: Cheating (on a systematic level) happens because students try to get an edge over their peers/competitors. Even top-notch students cheat, in order to ensure a perfect grade. Fighting cheating is not something that professors can do well in the long run, and it is counterproductive by itself. By channeling this competitive energy into creative activities, in which you cannot cheat, everyone is better off.

Well done.

One thought on “Using technology to cheat and to catch cheaters

  1. This is soooo true: “It’s unconscionable for students to cheat. They know it’s wrong, and giving them the benefit of the doubt on that issue is foolish and definitely NOT to the benefit of the student in the long run. The kindest thing for teachers to do is, as early as possible (preferably in elementary school!), instill in students such a strong reaction (through fear of being caught, personal interest properly understood, or actual virtue) against cheating that it simply doesn’t occur to them to do so later in life.”
    (this was plagiarize from a comment by Ria in the original story)

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