Technology and Cheating: Is Technology helping Academic Dishonesty?

The past century has many technological advances such as the invention of the computer, car, and electricity. Innovations on such technology can aid bad habits such as academic cheating.

A popular method of cheating is obtaining answers from a cell phone during a test or exam.
A popular method of cheating is obtaining answers from a cell phone during a test or exam.


  • According to studies the rate of "Internet plagiarism is on the rise" and "thirty-eight percent of undergraduate students...indicated that they had engaged in Internet plagiarism" (Jones, 141).The internet provides more information that is readily available for plagiarism. The internet does not check for citations or work cited pages.
High-Tech Cheating
  • "High-tech" cheating is now the way to go when performing academic dishonesty. Many "online instructional cheating videos" teach students how to cheat on tests and exams (Jones, 141). The video below demonstrates a person teaching how to replace an iPhone into a calculator. The process is long and tedious, and the time spent on making the "CalculaPod" could be spent studying for the test.
  • Students use new ways to cheat, but more and more people are using the new ways that teachers and professors are becoming aware of them as well (Duffy).

- College students rate cheating with technology on an ethics scale from 1 to 6 (1 being "Not Serious" and 6 being "Very Serious")
- Scenarios such as using someone's assignments and formatting papers on the computer to increase length were rated with low ratings
- Shows low standards and ideals of academic dishonesty, especially regarding technology
(Cramer, Etter, Finn)

  • Many college students buy papers already written. The following videos interviews a person who makes a living writing and selling papers, as a well as a student who buys these papers.


22 Ways to handle technology enhanced cheating: (The State University of New York)
  • Focus on the process of writing - observe and coach the process. Require a thesis statement, an initial bibliography, an outline, notes, a first draft etc
  • Avoid "choose any topic" papers. Tie the topic to the goals of the course.
  • Require students to use material from class lectures, presentations, discussions etc in their graded assignments. This makes finding "matching" papers more difficult.
  • Require students to conduct an original survey or interview as part of the assignment. The survey or transcripts of the interview are included as an appendix.
  • Require an annotated bibliography as part of the process of writing the assignment. These are difficult to plagiarize.
  • Require an abstract of the paper where appropriate. Writing an accurate synopsis of a plagiarized paper is difficult.
  • Require a description of the research process with the final draft.
  • Require "raw materials" of the research process. For example, copies of the cited works.
  • Get to know your students. Require a writing sample during the first week of class. Have the students do this in their "best written style" and make it personalized and customized to them individually. Keep this on record for comparison purposes.
  • Make assignments relatively difficult. This makes it more difficult to get casual, though ongoing, help during the semester.
  • Frequent assessments also make getting help logistically difficult.
  • Use master type questions and case studies rather than "memorization" questions.
  • Use alternate means of assessment, portfolios and multiple measures of mastery.
  • If you suspect plagiarism, look carefully at the paper and gently confront the student with your concerns. Frequently this is enough to uncover or deter plagiarism.
  • Use a few papers on "cheat sites" as examples. Provide a grade for these and use as reference material. Students will be hesitant to use a service you know about.
  • Be clear and comprehensive regarding plagiarism policies. The more students know the less likely they will be to attempt plagiarism.
  • Use or to check submitted work (links below).
  • Use MOSS (Measure of Software Similarity) which detects plagiarism in programming classes (link below)
  • If using online quizzes - give different questions to different students - i.e. use a test bank.
  • If using online tests or quizzes limit the amount of time the test is available.
  • Use proctored exams
  • Keep in mind American Association of Higher Education's (AAHE)

Other Solutions

Put a Stop to Cheating in Your School

For More Information:
Cheating prevention in college classrooms. Retrieved from
-This site provides information about how students cheat and ways to combat each form of cheating. Also, information for reasons why students cheat is provided.

Reid, G. (2009). Top 8 ways students are cheating today. Retrieved from
-This website shows how students cheat. It provides an understanding of the relationship between technology and academic dishonesty.

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