|“How can I prevent students from cheating online?”
We frequently hear this question, and the concern is understandable. In the article, “Online Cheating,” the author evaluates the plight of academic dishonesty and provides suggestions for what instructors can do to curtail its occurrence. While there are plenty of measures in place to prevent students from cheating in the online environment, rarely do instructors take the opportunity to reflect on the aspects of their teaching pedagogy that may trigger students to cheat.
Cheating may occur more frequently when only one or two high-stakes tests are offered across a semester. Students often feel more pressure to cheat in these situations because the outcome will greatly affect their overall course grade. According to the author, however, when several low-stakes tests or quizzes are distributed more evenly throughout the duration of the semester, not only do instances of cheating diminish, but student retention of the material increases.
Online environments provide opportunities to instructors to offer a variety of alternative assessment methods. Research papers, discussion forums, and collaborative group work make it much more challenging for students to cheat. Moreover, students will be building upon their learning throughout the semester, again providing a more continuous picture of their performance.
Possible types of alternative assessment methods include:
Whether face-to-face or online, we will never be able to prevent cheating one hundred percent. There will always be those few who feel the need to be dishonest. However, making minor changes to our methods might not only deter cheating, but in addition may help our students become better learners in the long run.
- Research papers
- Discussion Boards
Would you like to review your assessment strategy? Contact the Office of E-Learning for advice on preventing academic dishonesty.