Are YOU cheating in college? Cheating rife in US colleges in the digital age

Are YOU cheating in college? Cheating rife in US colleges in the digital age

Carla Rivera


Hi-tech gadgetry, social networking apps and access to a trove of information online make it much easier for students to cheat.

Stanford University’s honour code dates to 1921, written by students to help guide them through the minefield of plagiarism, forbidden collaboration, copying and other chicaneries that have tempted undergraduates since they first arrived on college campuses.

Exams aren’t proctored and students are expected to police themselves and speak up when they see others committing violations.

But there appears to have been a massive breakdown during the recent winter quarter culminating in “an unusually high number of troubling allegations of academic dishonesty” reported to officials, according to a letter to faculty from Provost John Etchemendy.

“Among a smattering of concerns from a number of winter courses, one faculty member reported allegations that may involve as many as 20 per cent of the students in one large, introductory course,” Etchemendy said in the March 24 letter.

Etchemendy went on to remind faculty members of their responsibility to discuss with students the seriousness of cheating – and the consequences. A first offence can result in a student being suspended for one quarter.

Although the Stanford allegations may have surprised some, for many others they cemented the belief that a culture of cheating pervades higher education. Harvard, Dartmouth, the Air Force Academy and other prominent institutions have recently grappled with allegations of large-scale cheating.

Studies find that students feel under more pressure than ever to succeed and increasingly see cutting corners as nothing serious. And they are being aided by cheating-friendly technology. Etchemendy alluded to those challenges.

“With the ease of technology and widespread sharing that is now part of the collaborative culture, students need to recognise and be reminded that it is dishonest to appropriate the work of others,” he said.

Stanford officials said the allegations are under investigation, but declined to say which course is involved. Many students are being interviewed, spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said.

Lapin noted that some breaches of the honour code occur every quarter. In 2013-14, 83 honour cases were reviewed. Officials said they had no information on how many were found to be in violation.

Nationwide, about 68 per cent of undergraduates and 43 per cent of graduate students admit cheating on tests or written assignments, according to research by retired Rutgers business professor Donald L. McCabe and the International Centre for Academic Integrity at Clemson University.

As students see business leaders, athletes and their peers cheating – in many cases with impunity – the practice no longer carries the social stigma it once did, according to the research.

With competition at elite institutions especially intense, high-achieving students are as likely to cheat as those who struggle academically. “There is such steep competition for a relatively small number of resources, such as getting into a particular major or into graduate school, where one or two or three points might make a difference, that even good students see a reason to go for that unfair advantage,” said Teddi Fishman, director of the Clemson centre.

And there’s likely to be little progress as long as students and educational institutions remain focused on grades rather than learning, she said. But she also acknowledged a growing disconnect even in the definition of cheating in this age of easy access to smartphones and the internet.

Most students know plagiarism is wrong, for example, but see no harm in cutting and pasting from online resources or copying in group projects.

Tribune News Service

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Colleges grapple with cheats in the digital age

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 April, 2015, 12:17am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 April, 2015, 12:17am

#Plagiarism   #CollegeCheating

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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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