Cheating Definitions Blur Under Online Remote Collaborative Learning

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

The American Institute of Physics news aggregator recently ran an article on how colleges and universities need new definitions for cheating. The article correctly argues that learning has grown more collaborative as schools seek to prepare students for collaborative workplaces. Remote learning, hastened by the pandemic, has forced more students into online collaborations. Yet exams still follow old classroom conventions and academic misconduct standards incorrectly assume that students can, should, and do work in isolation on graded assessments.

How Students Work Today

Students undoubtedly work differently today. With their instructors' and institutions' support and encouragement, they increasingly work online in groups on collaborative projects. Students work together to shape, synthesize, and regenerate work by others. Increasingly, academic work is not the product of a single individual but several or many individuals. Few thoughts have ever been original. Even the expression of thought borrows from many other conventions. Working in an online environment accelerates the natural borrowing and synthesis of information. Online, information is abundant, easily acquired, and readily shaped by multiple hands and minds. Indeed, instructors expect students working online to think in higher-order ways, synthesizing and regenerating far more information than they would in traditional classroom environments.

The Problem of Defining Cheating

Old cheating definitions often collide with these new instructional expectations. Colleges and universities may label as cheating work that the student has instead synthesized and regenerated consistent with the established standards of the online instructional environment. The professor and proctor are thinking of the old exam room where a student would sit with nothing but a blank paper on which to handwrite the exam. Yet the student is instead taking the exam in the same remote, online environment in which the student studied and learned collaboratively with other students and abundant available online resources. Instructors should redesign online exams to reward the synthetic, integrative, and regenerative higher-order thinking students have learned and practiced. Yet lazy instructors instead offer the same old lower-order, recall-based exams. They then label as cheating the student's effective effort using the online skills, relationships, and resources the student had properly mastered during instruction.

Get Premier Help to Defeat Unfair Cheating Charges

The pandemic's remote assessment indeed brought new temptations and opportunities to cheat, as another article summarized. But online instruction also blurred the line between effective collaborative learning and punishable cheating. If you or someone you know faces unfair cheating charges, seek help from a national academic expert attorney. Respect your investment in your education and future. Retain national college and university academic misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm. Cheating charges place your reputation, and your future job and career, at risk. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation or use the online service.

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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