Academic Honesty

Tips For Handling Technology Enhanced Cheating

Using the internet for teaching and learning often brings up the question of cheating. A common concern voiced by faculty is "How do I know that my students are doing the work?" While this question frequently arises in completely online courses, the existence of a variety of "cheat sites" (sites where students can download term papers etc.) on the internet may cause concern in traditional and web enhanced courses as well. The information that follows may be useful to readers interested in deterring "technology enhanced academic dishonesty".

22 Ways to handle technology enhanced cheating:

  1. 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
  2. Avoid "choose any topic" papers.  Tie the topic to the goals of the course. 
  3. Require students to use material from class lectures, presentations, discussions etc in their graded assignments.  This makes finding "matching" papers more difficult. 
  4. 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.
  5. Require an annotated bibliography as part of the process of writing the assignment.   These are difficult to plagiarize.
  6. Require an abstract of the paper where appropriate. Writing an accurate synopsis of a plagiarized paper is difficult.
  7. Require a description of the research process with the final draft.
  8. Require "raw materials" of the research process.  For example, copies of the cited works. 
  9. 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.
  10. Make assignments relatively difficult.  This makes it more difficult to get casual, though ongoing, help during the semester.
  11. Frequent assessments also make getting help logistically difficult.
  12. Use master type questions and case studies rather than "memorization" questions.
  13. Use alternate means of assessment, portfolios and multiple measures of mastery.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Be clear and comprehensive regarding plagiarism policies. The more students know the less likely they will be to attempt plagiarism. 
  17. Use or to check submitted work (links below).
  18. Use MOSS (Measure of Software Similarity) which detects  plagiarism in programming classes (link below)
  19. If using online quizzes - give different questions to different students - i.e. use a test bank.
  20. If using online tests or quizzes limit the amount of time the test is available.
  21. Consider proctored exams
  22. Keep in mind American Association of Higher Education's (AAHE)

 Online Resources to Help Detect and Minimize Cheating

  • Includes software to detect plagiarism Turnitin and a free trial.
  • More plagiarism software, also has a self detection test to help students spot plagiarism in their own work
  • Strategies to Minimize Online Cheating from the Illinois Online Learning Network
  • Makers of EVE2 which "accepts essays in plain text, Microsoft Word, or Corel Word Perfect format and returns links to web pages from which a student may have plagiarized." 
  • Findsame - From Digital Integrity - "You submit an entire document, and we return a list of Web pages that contain any fragment of that document longer than about one line of text." 







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Created by Alexandra M. Pickett Aug 19, 2010 at 11:52am. Last updated by Alexandra M. Pickett May 20, 2020.


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