Electronic-based learning and teaching have been introduced to the society and many college students have embraced this learning process. With the advancement of technology and the less expensive delivery system, online education becomes appealing not only to students, but also to parents who are in a tight budget.
In 2010, 6.1 million students at colleges and universities have reportedly taken an online class—there was an increase of 10.1 per cent from the previous year according to the last survey of online education programs conducted by Babson Survey Research Group. However, the possibility of cheating increases as the number of students enrolled in online courses increases each year.
The quality education that a student may get through e-learning might be compromised because it is now easier for the students to cheat as no professors are present to watch unlike the typical educational system inside the classrooms. Shannon Miranda, a senior student at Ohio University who took three online courses in her college years, said that it is much easier to “collaborate” with others when taking online examinations.
An online learning director, Connie Frazer at The Sage Colleges, however, noted that a conclusion about cheating online which many have uttered that is much easier than the in-class setting is a bit unclear. Whether in-class or online, cheating is still an issue. How a teacher is connected to the students is the key to handle this academic dishonesty. She said that online and in-class education systems have no difference at all.
The development of the technology for online education system in The Sage Colleges directly aimed to eliminate academic dishonesty.
There are many ways how the online system can prohibit students from cheating. Changing the questions, and revealing the answers once all the students have finished taken the exams are among those effective preventive ways.
The faculty services assistant director Diane Johnson, at St. Leo University said that students working together on online examinations in the past do really exist. However, “accidental plagiarism” is very common in the e-learning room.
“Many of our students just don’t know how to paraphrase, and part of it is they don’t know how to cite,” she says. “It’s unintentional plagiarism, but it is still plagiarism.”
She also added that many students were suspended due to this unintentional plagiarism. The university has given special importance on plagiarism not only to students but also to the faculty.
A site for anti-plagiarism Turnitin.com has also triggered the students not to share their works or make use of the information from the internet, according to Shannon Miranda.
However, the menace of suspension may not be enough to prohibit several students from academic dishonesty. One of the many instances is proceeding to a program which offers free massive open online courses (MOOCs) that do not give a college credit but a certificate of completion to students.
Formal accusation of plagiarism to Coursera students for not less than three humanities courses was unveiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education last August. An honor code, as a result, has been added by Coursera, and students are obliged to renew their commitment during submissions of assignments.
Daphne Koller, the founder of Coursera said that they are committed to provide highest academic integrity standard as well as high access to students. Therefore, a testing center is not the standard solution towards academic dishonesty.
Though e-learning creates a huge difference in education, it also has consequences that faculty and professor must not take for granted. Academic dishonesty is a disease, a contagious one.