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Academic Integrity Tools Could Do More Harm Than Good

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Oct 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

Global technology and security leader Cisco is getting involved in the fight against academic fraud. With one click, Cisco can block more than a thousand sites tagged as “academic fraud” for college systems. Blocking sites en masse sends a message to would-be cheaters that they should avoid such sites altogether, Cisco told Forbes. When students take overt steps to use such sites listed as providers of “academic fraud,” misconduct charges are handled more definitively.

Technical Limitations of Anti-Cheating Strategies

Cisco's main strategy for combating academic fraud lies in blocking cheating websites in bulk. While blacklisting might seem like a convenient way to address the issue, there are limits to how effective this strategy can be. Without human oversight, it's easy for algorithms to confuse helpful online study tools for academic fraud sites. Time will tell if Cisco's strategy pays off, but the odds are good that their mass blocking of sites could throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

Potential for Discrimination

Cisco is hardly the only company working to crack down on academic fraud. During the pandemic, many schools feared cheating would increase in a remote learning environment. Some universities and colleges opted to employ anti-cheating proctoring software for students taking tests online. Unfortunately, such software is often glitchy and ill-suited for running in conjunction with other applications. When students with disabilities need to run both the proctoring software along with assistive technologies, they are sometimes shut out of their exams entirely.

Some online proctoring tools are even more invasive, using facial recognition to prevent cheating. But these tools have their limitations, especially when it comes to identifying students of color.

“It seems like almost every week that we hear another story of a student of color being told that they aren't there, being told that they don't have a face, being told that they are cheating,” digital rights advocate Lia Holland told reporters at GovTech. “We find that incredibly problematic and concerning.”

Powerful Advocacy for Students

It can be scary to learn you're the subject of an academic dishonesty investigation. If you or someone you know has been accused of academic misconduct while attending college remotely, attorney Joseph D. Lento can help. Put his unparalleled experience defending students across the country to work for you. If you're facing charges, allow Joseph D. Lento to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or contact us to schedule a private consultation today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.

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