Cheating in College

Betsy’s Page has a post on cheating in college. She makes some good points. The students are using their phones and/or the internet to cheat on their tests. And can do a great job of finding plagiarism, and thereby reducing it.

I disagreed with this statement: “Apparently, it is just too old-fashioned for them to take their tests on paper with a professor monitoring to make sure that they don’t pull out their cell phones or whatever.”

In a class in a computer lab, with boss programs readily available, the student just switches to something else when the teacher is coming. It’s not hard to cheat that way, even when the teacher is walking around the room- especially if it is a large room.

Again, if the class is large, the teacher may have some trouble with catching a person using their cell phone.

Really, why do we have to monitor college students? It ought to be that they are trying to get an education, not just a degree, and will actually attempt to learn things.

But I’ve had college students change their quiz answers right in front of me, once we started grading. (I gave them 0s on those quizzes.) Now I require the students, just as I did in my elementary classes, to trade papers when we grade quizzes. Sometimes I require that the grader use a pen when the quiz was taken in pencil, or vice versa. (If I’ve already had problems with someone in the class.)

I thought this comment was interesting: “Of course, it’s getting more and more of a struggle to convince kids that they can find more information from a book occasionally than they can from the internet.”

Truthfully, I would rather read a book than the internet. But when I’m pressed for time, I don’t have to go to the library. I can just sit at my computer. And if I don’t have enough lecture notes, I can go fill in the holes on the net without having to read two or three books. (I do credit the originators.) Sometimes I don’t know the book I want or the book that has the information I want. But I can get on the net and google just about anything and find it.

If I were still doing serious scholarship, for my dissertation or published papers, I would probably be doing most of my research from books (and journals online), but I’m not. I’m teaching classes, lots of classes, on lots of different subjects.

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