The cheating dilemma. To Faculty, reporting a case of academic dishonesty may seem like an ineffective time sink, but students see this as something to exploit. Some instructors believe that they have created a course where students are unable to cheat. This mentality or belief that you are too busy to educate your students may be why they are continuing to cheat in your class. 

If you are teaching this semester, when is the last time you looked up your class online? No, I’m not talking about the course number, but seeing what is out there on Quizlet, Course Hero, or even just Google? If there are materials online you don’t want students to access, have you requested they be removed?

Are you addressing cheating and ethics in  your course? Or do you leave a university mandated statement on your syllabus and think that its enough? If you catch someone cheating in your class, are you following your university’s policy on Academic Honesty, or are you just ignoring it because it’s easier that way? 

Forbes recently released an article that addresses some concerns administrators are facing when it comes to upholding university standards, stating  "What’s also common, and more damaging, is that same report found that many teachers simply don’t believe cheating happens in their classes. Administrators are nearly twice as likely to say cheating happens than teachers. The truth is that cheating happens in every class, with every teacher. Those who don’t acknowledge it are in denial and, frankly, part of the problem."

If you aren’t a part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Not reporting student’s does not help them avoid unethical behavior in the future. Instead, it creates an atmosphere where cheating is not only acceptable, but expected. 

The New York Times recently ran a piece on contract cheating in the United States. The article points out that as early as 2015, Australia faced issues involving mass scale contract cheating. But while Australia and the United Kingdom are facing the issue, the United States lags behind. The article points out that “contract cheating is illegal in 17 states, but punishment tends to be light and enforcement rare. Experts said that no federal law in the United States...forbids the purchase or sale of academic papers, although questions remain about whether the industry complies with tax laws.” 

Even the USA Today is reporting on the ease of student cheating given the rise of technology in the last few years, going as far as pulling tweets from students that read “someone tell me how to cheat on my math test tomorrow with my apple watch“. 

Students want the accountability and the honesty. No one wants to feel like they are losing out to cheaters. Students have responded to their peers requests for cheating assistance with disdain, tweeting back “If you have to use your Apple Watch to cheat on all of your exams maybe you shouldn’t be in college”. When you hold your students to a higher standard, they might actually surprise you. 

What are you doing to fight cheating at your institution? Comment and let us know!