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Students’ Advice on Preventing Cheating

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 16, 2022 | 0 Comments

In the era of the digital classroom, conversations about academic integrity have transformed. As universities debate the usability of proctoring software, students and staff alike are reinterpreting what “cheating” looks like.

Unfortunately, today's variable understandings of misconduct can spell trouble for students. Students accused of violating a school's code of conduct can face suspension, failed courses, and even expulsion. That said, the ongoing conversation about cheating in the classroom may change how academic institutions assess students' behaviors.

What Do Students Define as Cheating?

Today's definition of cheating no longer involves slipping another student the answers to a year-end exam. Instead, students and teachers have to contend with the complexities of both in-person collaboration and the Internet.

Most teachers consider using a search engine to find question answers to constitute misconduct. Sixty-three percent of students responding to Insider Higher Ed disagree.  Karen Symms Gallagher of the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education argues that search engines like Google challenge memorization-based curricula. In other words, access to a search engine may better prepare students for their professional future.

Similar arguments have been made in favor of student collaboration. Students living with roommates often ask one about schoolwork. While some instructors consider any form of collaboration to be cheating, students argue that it is both natural and professionally beneficial.

What Drives Students to Cheat?

Students do not always consider their professional prospects when they blur misconduct lines. Instead, fifty-two percent of students report that unrealistic course loads drive them to seek out content answers online or from their peers.

The switch to online education did not make it easier for higher education students to balance their demanding workloads. The combination of at-home responsibilities, a new learning format, and pandemic stress can all contribute to student inattention. When a university measures the whole of its students' value in grades, one can see why students may take every available opportunity to keep their grades high.

How Can Institutions Discourage Academic Misconduct?

Unfortunately, any behavior that a university believes resembles cheating can see a student brought up on charges of misconduct. However, the unclear definition of cheating seems to put the onus for misconduct assessment on universities instead of students.

Based on student survey responses, it seems that the best methods for curbing alleged misconduct involve empathetic teaching strategies. Students facing relentless workloads and real-world stress encourage their professors to embrace flexible submission deadlines, cooperative classrooms, and open-book tests.

While it remains to be seen if American universities will implement these policies, open communication with students is a step in the right direction. The more flexible a university is willing to be, the safer students will be from life-altering charges of misconduct.

Academic Misconduct Lawyers Protect Students' Futures

It is not only students who have different interpretations of cheating. Definitions of academic misconduct vary from classroom to classroom. Students accused of academic misconduct may have to contend with charges they do not understand, or that otherwise seem unjust.

Unchallenged academic misconduct charges can upend a student's professional future. That, however, is where an academic misconduct attorney can come into play.

For more information about best practices in a student misconduct case, call attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686. Parents and students can schedule a case consultation over the phone or through the Firm's online contact form.

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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