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Sssh…Let’s Google ‘Cheating’

James Palinsad March 29, 2013 0
Sssh…Let’s Google ‘Cheating’

Have Google (or Bing or Ask or that perpetually eureka-moment Yahoo!) will …sssh… get that report done in a jiff.

Whether it’s classroom education or online education, students will always be tempted to use shortcuts to pass a test or even a whole course. The education scene is replete with instances of students cribbing here and there parts of previous work, cobbling them together, and passing off the finished masterpiece as their own, with nary a hint of attribution.  The unprecedented access to expert, even arcane, knowledge that the Web has afforded to everyone has only made general cheating—and cheating your way to an education—a mouse click and a soda break away.

According Cameron Steele in her article for annistonstar.com, a 2010 canvass by the Josephson Ethics Institute revealed that about 60 percent of high school students across America admitted to engaging in some form of cheating. And it isn’t just high school students who are doing the not-so-creative redoing. Duquesne University study, also in 2010, found that college students who have smartphones and have Web access are more prone to cheating than those who don’t.

Michael Josephson, president of the Josephson Ethics Institute, rued the misuse of the technology that has made online education and social media possible, and which is at the center of the ongoing revolution in the way education is delivered. Josephson pointed out that cheating has unfortunately become easy today, what with the tools for cheating readily available on the Internet.

Naturally, educators are worried, especially now that big, dyed-in-the-wool traditional educational facilities like Harvard and Stanford have started to dedicate significant portions of their resources to delivering online education, the near-exclusive domain of such major online education providers as 360training.com before 2012. The main worry is that students in online education programs will not get the kind of education they need in their future careers, given the wide availability of cheat solutions on the Internet.

The Internet, ironically enough, provides a battery of deterrents to prospective academic cheaters, chief among them the online plagiarism checkers such as Chimpsky (free) and Plagtracker (commercial). And of course even a shallow Google search, considering the sophistication of search algorithms now, can ferret out the true source of suspect schoolwork. “We did not used to have any tools like that,” Beverly Otwell, an English teacher, said in Otwell’s article, adding that it used to take teachers like her a long time to find proof of plagiarism.

Providers such as 360training.com have a built-in defense against Internet-facilitated cheating: they don’t have homework for students to submit, relying instead on self-contained online tests to keep student progress on track.

 

Image by: Hariadhi, myself (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

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