Causesand effects of cheating in online education
Onlineeducation is a recent technological development in the educationsector that has brought great hope and opportunities to people whocould not have made it to attend a normal class due to limitations ofdistance and time. However, many challenges affecting onlineeducation have emerged. One of the most challenging and bafflingproblems is cheating. Cheating in education is not a new phenomenon,but the advancement of technology and technological devices has madeit easier for students to access course information. The discussionon cheating in online education will illustrate the causes of thepractice with a view of exploring the effects of the practice.
Thisaccessibility of course information through search engines andtechnology devices has given cheating in education a new definition(Ricci 83).Many teachers and lecturers ascertain that cheating in onlineeducation is easier and more rampant than in a face to face educationset up. This is mainly propelled by the fact that there is minimalor no supervision for online students during exams and assignment(Ariely1). Cheatingin online education has many adverse effects to both the individualand the education system at large. Greed for good grades is whatonline students to cheat in exams yet they enrolled for the programor course voluntarily.
Theeffects of using technology for cheating in online education make itdifficult for the universities to end the problem. College educatorshave put up policies, flame works and regulations to curb onlinecheating. The main purpose of these policies is to validate educationand to promote the virtues of honesty and integrity(Ariely 1).The policies also provide guideline to be followed in case one iscaught cheating or to have cheated in an exam online.
Asignificant aspect of cheating in online education is plagiarism.While normal education programs experience plagiarism, the practiceremains as one of the main form of cheating in online courses.Debates and discussion forums have been set up to discuss the causeof plagiarism and other forms of cheating in online courses. Manyspeculate on absence of direct supervision since online student takeexams from the comfort of their homes and away from other student andteachers. This freedom tends to be a key temptation to onlinecheating since the students are not limited from accessing courseinformation either from online search engines or from textbooks givenout by their tutors or lecturers.
Anotherkey cause of cheating in online education is the fact that moststudents taking online courses are working and learn online as a parttime option. This means that they are always busy and occupied bytheir work and hence have minimal time to read and comprehend thecourse information. As a result they find it cumbersome to tackleexams and hence turn to cheating.
Thesociety condemns failure and as a result promoted any vice carriedout in order to succeed. Students fear and hate being losers. Thishas made them trade their honesty for success. Most online studentscheat to in order to succeed and please their parents and the societyat large (Pavela 1). Additionally, parents have promoted cheating inonline education since they pressure their children to provide goodgrades but fail to insist in the quality and honesty. This pressurecauses online students to take the advantage of absence ofsupervision and take on cheating in exams.
Theabundance and easy access to course information has led to rampantcheating in online education. The level of technological advancementhas propelled e-cheating in distance learning greater heights. Thisis because student can use various devices to access information. Anddue to the pressure of success by parents and the society, studentstend to fall into the temptations of ignoring the severe consequencesof the offence.
Cheatingby students is done by students who do not focus on only performingby grades on paper and not by mastery. Behavior psychologistsclassify student in two groups: Mastery oriented students andperformance dedicated students (Donald1).The behavioral instincts among the two types of students elaboratefurther on the cause and reasons of cheating. Mastery orientedstudents dedicate themselves in learning and mastering conceptstaught in class. These students cooperate and even are active inonline discussion forums. On the other side, Performance orientedstudents dedicate themselves to earning good grades (Donald1).These types of students can do anything to prosper as well as getspectacular grades. It is evident that performance oriented studentare susceptible too cheating in online education.
Inother instances online students, some students cheat in online examsdue to peer influence. This happens when one of the students cheatsin exams and he or she is not caught. It is even worse when thecheating students pass the exams since this affects the other honeststudents. This influences the honest students to cheat.
Withall the cases of cheating in online education, many online studentstend to ignore the consequences of cheating. Many ignore while othersjustify their actions. According to higher education policies oncheating and enforcement of honesty and integrity, the consequencesof cheating are heavier and severe and outweigh the advantages ofcheating in exams. Cheating has a wide range of effects. Theseeffects range from individual level effects to community or nationallevel effects.
Onlineeducation Cheating is addictive and once a student crosses thethreshold of cheating, he or she tends to avoid straining. Accordingto college educators, students who have cheated previously, forinstance in college, it is likely for them to cheat again in theuniversity (Ariely1). Hence,cheating in an education set up tends to get worse with time and itis likely for such a student to be dishonest in other situations inlife. Cheating destroys the virtue of individual integrity in astudent at such a tender age and he or she finds it hard to earn itback. Lack of integrity is lethal in the society as the maincharacter that displays the self-image of a person. One theself-image of an individual is damaged it is hard for the society totrust him or her. This effect of online education cheating is a longterm effect.
Anothereffect of cheating in online education is failing courses. Thecollege and university policies on cheating and integrity dictatesthat in case an online student is caught cheating or caught to haveplagiarize his or her work, he or she should be failed in the exam oreven the entire course. The optimum punishment for student caughtcheating or caught to have cheated in an exam is expulsion(MSU Policy 1).In case an e-student has cheated in exams and is punished in any ofthe above ways, it is likely that he or she achieves a negativereputation among peers as well as his or her teachers.
Lackof employment skills and work ethics is another significant effect ofcheating in online education. Many online students cheat due to thefact that there is no direct supervision while others cheat to attaingood grades and please their parent. However, these good grades laterbecome a problem when the student meets his or her future employer.E-student who do not read their course information an instead decideto cheat, find it cumbersome to tackle duties assigned in a work setup. Such students find it difficult in creating ideas, developingsolutions or even managing he workload in his or her office. Thiseffect is discouraging and causes frustrations among many employees.
Moreover,cheating in the online education platforms is a costly behavior tothe community, to the nation and the world at large. In a world wherean employee’s productivity matters more than his or her grades,employees coming from academic cheats present grades that areworthless. This is because the grades do not reflect the valueacquired in school. The main idea behind examination of studentsafter teaching a course is to evaluate their understanding of theconcepts taught in the course. Cheating in online examinations givesa false impression to the teacher and the society. Students do notattain the required level of theoretical and practical understandingand hence they become incompetent in the job market. A long termeffect of this is a generation of illiterate and uneducated cheaters(Lang 1).
Demandfor quick and high academic grades is the basic underlying cause ofcheating in online education. As an effect, students get grades thatdo not represent the value they get in school. To solve the problem,it is good that educational institutions work to create a generationof students who embrace honest work and value integrity. To instillthese virtues in online students, it is wise to offer advice andinspiration to students and encourage them to always focus onlearning for mastery rather than concentrating on performance.Additionally, teachers and educators should outline and structurecourses that offer students opportunities to display concepts andknowledge they have learnt in class in an imaginative, creative andpersonal way. It would help online students be more focus and insteaddevelop a purpose that propels them to work hard and honestly toachieve.
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