Colleges and universities have had to adapt significantly to the changes the coronavirus pandemic brought. Most schools switched to distance learning on a massive scale, shifting classroom dynamics and shaking up students' understanding of cheating and academic integrity.
Even if remote learning decreases again after the pandemic, the period of taking courses from home has left its mark, and schools are trying to adapt. One innovation that may affect student discipline and misconduct is the creation of a new position on university campuses: Anti-cheating czars.
How Cheating Has Changed Since COVID-19
As many colleges adopted a remote learning model, cheating became more prevalent for two likely reasons. The first is that students perhaps thought it was easier to cheat when not physically in the classroom with the instructor and tried to get away with something they wouldn't try in person. The second reason is that students weren't aware of what constituted cheating in a remote environment.
Colleges tried to introduce AI monitoring software for remote exams, but critics found these programs to be an invasion of privacy. Students complained that the software made them felt anxious as well. Software may not solve today's cheating problem at colleges, but a new staff position might.
What Would an Anti-Cheating Czar Do?
The Wall Street Journal reported on five major changes that could be coming to higher education in the next several years, one of which the paper dubbed “Anti-Cheating Czars.” The idea is that colleges and universities would recruit personnel whose specific role is to “foster academic integrity in students.” This staff member would educate students about plagiarism and stay abreast of the latest technological developments in academic dishonesty, such as adding white periods to a text to throw off a plagiarism detection program.
Anti-Cheating Czars and Student Discipline
The idea behind anti-cheating czars is prevention. Many students get accused of cheating or academic dishonesty simply because they're unaware of what counts as cheating. Even students who read the handbook or code of conduct at their college may feel confused. These long, complex policies typically have “including but not limited to” lists of prohibited behaviors, so whether an action is “dishonest” or “lacking integrity” may be up to the discretion of individual faculty members.
The anti-cheating czar would ideally stop students from cheating before they start. But would this university staff member have disciplinary functions? Schools may have to modify their disciplinary systems for academic misconduct, perhaps requiring students to go through a workshop about plagiarism rather than forcing them to attend a hearing.
The Future of Academic Misconduct
Anti-cheating czars might herald a new era in student discipline on college campuses, but it's likely not a trend we'll see for at least a few years. In the meantime, students who have been accused of academic misconduct and don't know where to turn can rely on an advocate to help them protect their rights. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped countless students across the country deal with misconduct matters at their schools and can help you defend yourself against your college or university. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to book a consultation.