January 30, 2018
Cheating happens. It happens online. It happens face-to-face. It happens at Ivy League Universities. It happens on tests. It happens on papers. Studies demonstrate that cheating is widespread and difficult to eliminate.
UTSA describes cheating this way:
“Academic or scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student, or the attempt to commit such acts.”
Cheating frustrates faculty. It thwarts our ability to assess knowledge, injuries our sense of fairness, and decreases student learning. Students, on the other hand, often view cheating as a victimless crime that can make or break their success. Here are a few tips for beating the cheats in your class.
- Avoid or supplement publisher exams. Online sites such as Quizlet populate themselves with these easily acquired course materials. If you do decide to use publisher content, supplement with questions of your own or from colleagues.
- Provide multiple versions of your exam. Cheaters sneaking a peak at their neighbor’s test will be in for a surprise.
- Explicitly address collaboration. Tell students on each assignment when collaboration is unacceptable.
- Change the assignments, even slightly. Small changes trip up cheaters who ignore the fine print.
- Assume they have your old exams and assignments. Resourceful students gather these materials, and once they are out, it can be hard to restrict their use.
- Consider an open-book test. This exam style reduces test anxiety and offers an alternative for desperate students.
- Have students turn in portfolios with their papers. Writing portfolios might contain thesis ideas, outlines, rough drafts, and research notes.
- Use SafeAssign in Blackboard Learn to check for similarities with other work.
- Prevent inadvertent cheating by providing a refresher or resource on citations, paraphrasing, and use of quotations. Students often fail to understand how to cite work properly.
- When you spot it, report it following UTSA policies.
- Scholastic Dishonesty Procedures: https://www.utsa.edu/conduct/resources-programs/scholastic-dishonesty.html
- UTSA Student Code of Conduct: http://catalog.utsa.edu/informationbulletin/appendices/studentcodeofconduct/
- Report behavior concerns to the UTSA Behavior Intervention Team here: http://www.utsa.edu/bit/report.cfm
photo credit: Mr_Stein