Copying in school in the digital age: the billionaire business of cheating technologies

Distance learning and the use of platforms for teaching and exams seem to have enhanced the opportunities for cheating in school. Technologies have done cheating (cheat, cheat) more accessible than ever.

In short, notes, notes and hidden formulas are a very distant memory in school and university practice for young and young students who, as usual, have always committed to finding a thousand and one subterfuge to copy, find unattainable solutions, solve problems and answer questions.

Proctoring, the software finds those who cheat in online exams. And the students rebel

Cheating in school, a multi-billion dollar business

Cheating is a multi-billion dollar business if you look at it from two different opposing points of view: some companies are active ineducationthey earn from students who use their products to break or bend the rules of academic integrity and others who profit from universities and often also from colleges, which in turn try to prevent first and foremost plagiarism, the most widespread practice in the academic field.

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Jarrod Morgan, founder and strategic manager by ProctorU, today Meazure learningan online test correction service that sees students take tests for colleges and other educational organizations, says the number of students involved in cheating has increased: according to some estimates, Cheating for college graduates has grown by over 700% among North American college students. The challenges of distance learning – which many universities and youth education institutions have temporarily switched to due to COVID-19 – have led to increased student anxiety, experts say, which in turn has led many to cheat when taking exams in online classes.

Why are you trying to cheat

One of the predominant causes of cheating is stress, He says chairman of the International Center for Academic Integrity, Camilla Roberts, students believe that cheating is their only option. And there are also those in the United States who care about the hidden part of cheating, the one that no one admits, and which is therefore underestimated, such as. he claims Professor Eric Anderman of Ohio State University. And he adds. Although it is becoming more and more apparent that the number of students cheating is increasing, most teachers underestimate how violent the problem is. Furthermore, according to Anderman, high school students do not always learn to use the Internet properly for research, for example, they do not recognize the value of quotes they simply copy and paste. When they arrive at the university, this practice continues, but thanks to plagiarism software, they are immediately “caught”.

It is impossible to accurately judge whether the amount of cheating online or through modern technology is now higher than it was before. Prior to the Fairuse survey, conducted between 2009 and 2012, at the universities of Bielefeld and Würzburg, for example, almost no one had studied the amount of cheating and plagiarism at universities and colleges.

At several universities, so-called “codes of honor” have been adopted, which help students to clearly identify right and wrong behavior.

Anti-plagiarism and anti-cheating technologies in schools: The TeSLA project

On the other hand, technologies do cheating more accessible, but they are also beneficial for the prevention of cheating and plagiarism and in this sense The TeSLA projectfunded by the European Commission, has defined and developed a system that ensures authentication of students’ identities and authorship in online and mixed learning environments.

There are various forms of cheating: those implemented during exams and the issue of plagiarism. In some cases, a plug-in installed on the student’s PC serves to prevent cheating and allows the student to be visually identified via a snapshot. During the exam, pictures are also taken at random and irregular intervals. If the person moves away from the field of view of the camera, it leads to the end of the exam. In other cases, the figure of the supervisor, the so-called proctor, which also has access to the student’s PC, so that unauthorized aids such as digital scripts, search engines or chats can be blocked. In the TeSLA system, for example, it is possible to combine different tools to validate paternity and authentication. These are: biometric tools (face, speech and typing) for monitoring and recognition, forensic analysis, plagiarism tools, digital certificates and receipt of timestamp. But this is not enough: the latest smartwatches, for example, they can be disguised as a normal watch, in fact, by simply plugging a small Bluetooth plug in the ear, students can have their answers whispered by a trusted friend who is somewhere outside the exam room. Finally, universities and technical institutes also have access to plagiarism software and use it regularly.

Types of cheating

Another examination was conducted in an attempt to quantify the impact of technology on cheating and plagiarism by teachers and students of the University of Sofia (Bulgaria) in relation to both aspects of facilitating and preventing / controlling such behavior. Two online surveys were conducted with 100 academic staff and 239 bachelor and master students from Sofia University. The results revealed that technology affects the possibilities of dishonest assessment behavior differently in three examined contexts: 1) face-to-face surveys; 2) presentation of paperwork, prepared in the absence of a teacher; 3) presentation of online assignments prepared in the absence of a teacher, but mainly modifies the means of cheating instead of encouraging academic dishonesty.

How technology can affect academic dishonesty depends on the specificity of the context. Three types of academic dishonesty have been defined, which are mainly influenced by technology: i) use of information without appropriate references; ii) use unauthorized materials during a test; and iii) having another person perform an assignment or use another student’s assignments from a previous semester. Cheating trials that were clearly related to exams were compared to trials related to homework to identify any differences in technological impact. Research has revealed that academic staff seem to believe that technology has influenced academic dishonesty in homework far more than exams.

Cheating and teens

In the case of high school students, Teenagers seem to use different strategies cheating to get higher grades and paradoxically make family members happycomes to think that their parents would rather have them unfaithful than get a bad grade or be afraid of failing them.

But what are the main methods used to cheat?

Text messaging is one of the fastest ways students can get answers to test questions from other students in the room – it has become the modern equivalent of passing notes.

Teenagers often admit that this practice is easy to perform, even when phones are not allowed (provided the teacher does not walk around the room to check cell phones).

Some teens store test notes on their cell phones and access them during class.

Instead of searching for sources, some students copy and paste the material. They can plagiarize a relationship by, for example, trying to pass on a Wikipedia article as their own article. Some sites offer extensive searches based on popular topics or regular books for free. Others allow students to purchase an item. Then a professional writer or even another student will complete the report for them.

Some sites offer extensive searches based on popular topics or regular books for free.

Crowdsourcing sites like Homework helper (for a fee) give their share of homework answers. The students simply ask a question and the others step in to provide the answers.

Teenagers also use social media to help each other during the test. It only takes a second to take a picture of an exam when the teacher is not looking. That photo can be shared with friends who want to take a look at the test before taking it.

App to facilitate the execution of tasks and tests

Numerous free math applications such as Photomath let the student take a picture of the math problem. The application analyzes the problem and provides the answers, even for complex algebra problems. This means that students can quickly do homework without really understanding the material.

HWPic it is used to send a picture of the problem to a real tutor who offers a step-by-step solution to the problem. While some students may use this to better understand their assignments, others simply copy the answers, complete with the passages that justify the answer.

Cymayth And Tungsten Alpha solve math problems right away – Tungsten can also handle math problems at the college level. While the sites and apps claim to be designed to help students understand how they figure out, they are also used by students who prefer to have the answers without the effort required to think for themselves.

Other apps translate foreign languages ​​quickly. Instead of having to decipher what a recording says or translate written words, apps can easily translate the information to the student.

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to talk to teens about cheating and their expectations for honesty, schooling, and communication. Many parents may have never really talked to their children about cheating. It must not even be mentioned unless the child is caught cheating. Some parents may not think it necessary to talk about it because they assume their child would never be unfaithful.

May 19, 2022 – 12:00 p.m.

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