Home‎ > ‎Assessment‎ > ‎

Academic Misconduct

Anders, G., (August 16, 2012) Are They Learning Or Cheating? Online Teaching's Dilemma.  Forbes.com. Retrieved from


Online educators face the challenge of how to stop student cheating according to George Anders, contributor to Forbes magazine.  While there are online services available to detect already published work on Internet web pages, plagiarism continues to be a problem and high schools and universities need a strategy for verifying a student’s work.   Students are finding ways to outsmart open online courses, such as setting up aliases to review course material.

While free online learning institutions typically don’t offer traditional credit acknowledged by US learning institutions, completion of training may carry prestige and authenticity in non-US markets.  Validation of student work is critical to the credibility of online learning for higher education.

Forbes is an American business magazine that has been in publication since 1917 according to Wikipedia and should be considered a credible resource.  This article raises the awareness of cheating through online learning and challenges the academic integrity of online institutions.  The Internet has made plagiarism much easier for students to cheat and schools need to educate students about their academic policies and what constitutes plagiarism using online resources.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/georgeanders/2012/08/16/are-they-learning-or-cheating-online-teachings-dilemma/

 Submitted 10-14-12 mgreek

Anitha, C., & Harsha, T.S. (2013). Ethical perspectives in open and distance education system. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 14 (1), 193-201.


Anitha and Harsha, both professors at Karnatka State Open University, put forth a sound article focusing on the role and importance of ethical decision making in distance learning education.   They discuss the old and new ethical dilemmas posed to educators.  The article covers a wide range of ethical perspectives to include:  intellectual property, licensing, plagiarism, and basic educator conduct.  The authors use a philosophical and practical argument to address these broad ethical issues, facing universities offering online education. 

I found that Anitha and Harsha took a logical approach to this very serious matter.  The article should be utilized by department heads and faculty representatives to not only educate new faculty but all personnel involved in the delivery of online learning.   The research conducted by the authors is diverse and a real strength (e.g., traditional philosophy text, human development materials, and vocational relevant journals).     


Submitted on 9/21/13 by: dbradley

Bryan, C. H., Heckler, N. C., & Rice, M. (2013, March). Turnitin systems: A deterrent to plagiarism in college classrooms. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, volume 45 (3), 229-248.  Retrieved from http://ezproxy.stfrancis.edu:3728/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=82e10add-666f-467d-85d3-e6dc12f697fe%40sessionmgr115&vid=0&hid=113

The researcher in this study examined if the disclosure by the instructor that Turnitin would be used to check plagiarism would lessen plagiarism in class assignments.  To keep deviations to a minimum, an individual instructor taught multiple sections of the same course across concurrent semesters to determine plagiarism attempts, where the fall classes were unaware of Turnitin being used and the spring class was required to submit papers directly to Turnitin.  It was determined that the students’ knowledge of Turnitin was a significant deterrent to plagiarism and an effective prevention strategy.

The admittance by the faculty to the students of using anti-plagiarism software reduces the attempts to plagiarize.  The use of Turnitin assists faculty by providing the means to determine originality scores without significant time constraints on faculty members.  However, as the authors mention in this article, there is still a need on the college to determine appropriate punishment policies and on the faculty to determine if the violation was plagiarism or a mistake in citation.  This article would be useful to faculty, department chairs, administrators, and violation officers.

submitted: 09/21/2014 ajohnson

Christe, Barbara. (2003) Designing online courses to discourage dishonesty. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 26 (4), pp. 54-58. Retrieved October 1, 2010 http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eqm0348.pdf. 

When developing an online course, the first thing you will ask yourself is, “how will I evaluate the student”?  This is following closely by, “How do I know the student is not cheating?” This article focuses on reasons for dishonesty; designer techniques and skills for monitoring students work and ensuring a successful online experience.

Understanding why student are dishonest is the first step to preventing such actions. There are five specific areas within the online course that must be reevaluated each semester. They are syllabus design, content presentation, student/instructor interaction, assessment design and monitoring. Examining each of these provides a multi-layered classroom focused on becoming a valuable learning environment.


Submitted: 10/03/2010 adevore

Eaton, C. (2012, May-June). No cheaters allowed: How to confidently assess and evaluate online students. AFT On Campus, 31(5), 18. Retrieved from:
This article points out that cheating is not reserved to the online classroom. However, there are certain challenges experienced when in the e-learning environment. Eaton (2012) addresses strategies to prevent students from cheating in online classrooms and offers numerous tips to assessing students online to help them avoid cheating.

I found the assessment advice is this article to be succinct and practical. In general, I felt the advice is to provide assessments in shorter, quicker and more often formats. Also, many of the tips included writing intensive assessment such as discussions and timed writing intensive exam questions. Link below available through USF Library subscription database.


 Submitted 10/12/12 bcovelli

Ethics and distance education: Strategies for minimizing academic dishonesty in online assessment. Informally published manuscript, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA. Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/fall53/olt53.html

This paper discusses four different strategies an online instructor might take to avoid the possibility of his students cheating. The first way to hinder a student from cheating is to set up an academic dishonesty policy. If this policy is ignored, the student will flunk the course. Next, “lock and key” test never seen before, and password protected. Third is a rotation of tests so that they cannot be passed from student to student, semester to semester. Finally designing an effective test using specific tools found in the course management system itself will hinder cheating.
In my experience with online evaluations, I find the final one to be the most effective. Dishonesty policies are used by a college on campus, and in speaking to instructors, it hasn’t been very effective. The “lock and key” method seems to be more trouble than it is worth on both the instructor and programmer’s part. The rotation of tests is a good, not great option. By rotating the tests semester to semester, they are not always up to date. If the instructor has to update one, she needs to update the other – double the work. Working smart, and using the tools and directives given from the management system itself will secure more cheat-free results.


Submitted 3/13/11 by deakle

Everson, M. (2011). Academic honesty in the online environment, eLearn Magazine: Education and Technology in Perspective, Retrieved from http://elearnmag.acm.org/featured.cfm?aid=1966302

This author examines the differences between dishonest behavior in a traditional setting as opposed to the online learning environment. She has spoken to colleagues from both types of environments and explores the processes by which exams are administered and whether one venue is better than another. She talks about academic integrity with online students and have them acknowledge their understanding at the beginning of the course. She talks about her experiences with different types of testing formats and feels that short answer questions gives her the best assessment to judge the learning of the student.

This article was experiential to the author and explains the journey with which she determined the best course of action in assessing student learning. She explains how she sought out other instructors and their experiences with the traditional form of testing versus the online environment and comes to her conclusion as what fits with her style. There is a certain amount of trust that is afforded to students in the online environment and her expectation is that they will do the right thing. She does not let the prospect of cheating dominate her online classroom.


Submitted by evautrot, 10/17/2011

Griffith, J. (2013). Pedagogical over punitive: The academic integrity websites of Ontario universities.  Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 43 (1), 1-22. 


Jane Griffith of York University provides the reader with up to date research and analysis of the “marketing” of academic integrity policy by Canadian universities.  Griffith discusses and depicts the use of online delivery systems to communicate critical academic policies to students.  Communication techniques to convey academic integrity are analyzed. 

The article is an appropriate study for higher education officers that are responsible to advising students.  The article is equally useful for university information technology professionals interested in online marketing and communication.   Griffith reinforces her message through images and examples embedded within the article.  A table depicting the online delivery and communication techniques by different institutions augments the material.   The author does not thoroughly address the importance of academic integrity but rather provides a guide to delivering policy via online systems.   


Submitted on 9/21/13 by: dbradley

Grijalva, T., Kerkvliet, J., Nowell, C. (2006). Academic honesty and online courses. Retrieved March 2, 2012.

This article discusses the perception that online classes have a higher incidence of cheating. However, studies have found that cheating is about the same if not less in an online setting. The article touches briefly on cheating in college culture online or otherwise and a statistical survey measuring the estimation of cheating in either type of class setting. The authors review the findings and the differences of what the statistics and surveys show versus what it was expected to show. The article sums up by listing some of the reasons why online classes may have a lower average of cheating.

I found this article informative about online cheating and what the facts are. I am pleased to see that online classes do not show a higher incidence in cheating as I feel if it did; it could hurt the credibility of learning online. This is especially true as this learning venue continues to grow. It provides reasons that make sense why online cheating may actually be lower such as more time preparation, faculty with higher technical savvy, assignments less conducive to cheating. I would have liked to have seen further discussion of these reasons and other reasons, but was good overall.

L Goodpaster 3/2/2012

Hricko, M. (N.D.). Internet plagiarism: Strategies to deter academic misconduct.

This article discusses Plagiarism and strategies to help deter the behavior. Examples are provided to support the suggestions of the author. A strong emphasis is placed on policies and consequences of plagiarism. In addition to the policy discussion, the author explains the requirement for instructors to teach students how to cite references, paraphrase information and organize or limit Internet searches.

This article would be useful for instructors and students wanting suggestions on how to deter plagiarism. This was a great article for me to read because I did not realize how much of a problem plagiarism is throughout the education system. I was not aware that sites are created for the sole purpose and in support of plagiarism.

Submitted: 10/17/11 sjones

Klein, D.  (2011).  Why learners choose plagiarism:   A review of literature.    Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, volume 7.  Retrieved from http://www.ijello.org/Volume7/IJELLOv7p097-110Klein730.pdf

This article addresses plagiarism which is a growing concern as temptations increase with electronic paper mills.  A survey of sixty individuals that was conducted in 1993 found that 91 percent were “dishonest in college” and 98 percent carried the unethical behavior into the workforce (Klein, 2011).  The author outlines several theories as to why students may choose to elect plagiarism.  Some of the possible reasons are that students may not fully understand what constitutes plagiarism, they are burdened by other responsibilities, and they may perceive the benefits of plagiarism as outweighing the consequences.  Academic institutions must be aware that plagiarized papers are more accessible online and be proactive with preventative measures.

Knowing that plagiarism is a high concern, academic institutions must find ways to combat academic deceit.  Modern technology not only offers avenues for students to cheat, but also ways for teachers to detect plagiarism.  The article outlines several electronic sites and databases that identify similarities to other submitted papers and sites.  In addition the author recommends incorporating collaborative projects and specific paper topics into the curriculum which makes it more difficult for students to use and existing paper as a submission.  Not only does plagiarizing detract from ethical values, but it does not portray an accurate measure of the transfer of learning.

Submitted: 10/14/11 lschmeltz

 Littlefield, J. (2012) Cheating in Online College Classes: A Virtual Epidemic.  About.com Guide. Retrieved fromhttp://distancelearn.about.com/od/distancelearning101/a/Cheating-In-Online-College-Classes-A-Virtual-Epidemic.htm

This brief but informative article delves into academic misconduct in online learning. It begins by explaining the how and why cheating occurs in online learning. Then it talks about how Congress has stepped in to make sure online learning is providing adequate education and standards of learning.  It ends by addressing the learner and how they should prevent the temptation of cheating.

This article hits right on the nail about academic misconduct and the worries many people have about the integrity of educational institutions. It does not spin the truth but informs the reader the basics of what, when, how, etc.  Academic misconduct can occur. I found it to be very helpful about how the government is taking education very seriously.


Submitted 10-13-12 abirkett

LoSchiavo, F.M., Shatz, M.A.,  June 2011, The impact of an honor code on cheating in online courses, MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 7, No. 2, Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol7no2/abstracts.htm

This article touched on three studies that were conducted to evaluate the prevalence of cheating in an online education environment. It also spoke to the impact that an honor code might have in online education. The studies tested three theories about cheating but the final evaluation was left the student to participate in the post course survey, and to be honest about the answers they chose. With distance education increasing in attendance and popularity, cheating in the online environment is a concern in relation to academic integrity.

This article was very interesting in describing the approach taken to conduct the studies. The results were enlightening and spoke to the instructor/student relationship. This was an article that left me wanting to explore and find ways to enhance the integrity of distance education. This should be a concern for all who lead online education as well as the institutions who sponsor the distance programs.


Submitted 9/5/2011 evautrot

Michigan state University. (n.d.). Cheating on exams and quizes.IT Services: Learning Design and Technology, Retrieved from :http://learndat.tech.msu.edu/teach/cheating-exams-and-quizzes

This article from Michigan State University talks about cheating and plagiarism in an online course. It first goes through what is considered cheating, since everyone has different opinions on what cheating is. After that, it gives techniques an instructor can incorporate into their program to help a student be less incline to cheat. The ending of the article gives ideas you can implement into your multiple choice and true and false test questions.

This article really doesn’t have any life shattering ideas, but just practical ones that you may have forgotten over time. It is basically bullet points with suggestions to improve you online class against cheating.


Submitted: 09/22/2013 lvisser

Mikuska, D. (2011). Promoting information processing and ethical use of information for online learning, eLearn Magazine: Education and Technology in Perspective. Retrieved from http://elearnmag.acm.org/featured.cfm?aid=1966303

This article focuses on how online students gather information from online resources but may not gather to learn. Rather, it appears that information may be collected and not really processed or studied and information from published texts may be taken out of context when used in research. The article warns of not properly taking notes so as to inadvertently commit plagiarism. The author gives tips on how to take notes properly to build a database of key words and encourages proper documentation of resources to prevent the potential risk of using information inappropriately.

The article was simple and well explained including steps to utilize in order to be able to process information and use the text appropriately. It spoke of the importance of using information properly and making sure that credit was given to the author for the work being used as research. It spoke of what plagiarism is and how easy it could be to use someone else’s work without giving proper credit. Organization of thoughts and note taking are key to correctly documenting information used in research.


Submitted 10/17/2011 evautrot

Olt, M. (2012). Ethics and distance education: Strategies for minimizing academic dishonesty in online assessment. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration.  Retrieved from  http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/fall53/olt53.html

Melissa R. Olt, M.A., M.S., a professor and adjunct instructor discusses ethics and online assessment for distant education. She outlines how tradition cheating occurred and how potential cheating can occur on online learning. She cites potential loopholes of online learner and how educators should approach assessment to prevent cheating and plagiarism. Her four strategies identify potential cheating and how to create assessment to bypass or prevent cheating.

This publication I found very useful because it helps demonstrate that traditional assessment in tradition classrooms cannot simply be dumped into an online format. Online assessment must be diligently planned out and in many cases more time consuming than traditional assessment. Instructors/facilitators must be aware of current cheating trends to remain abreast of potential issues in the future.


Submitted 10-13-12 abirkett

Perry, B. (2010). Exploring academic misconduct: Some insights into student behaviour. Active Learning in Higher Education, 11, 97-108. Retrieved October 20, 2010, from

In this article, the author discusses the rise of academic misconduct (i.e. plagiarism) among students. Internet sites make it easier for students to purchase papers and projects allowing students to take credit for work that isn't their own. The article also addresses how students don't have a true understanding of what plagiarism is.
This article addressed the seriousness of academic misconduct. I believe this article is important because since we live in an advancing technological society it’s becoming easier to find any type of information on the internet. As far as e-learning students can work together to complete tests, quizzes, and projects possibly without the instructor’s knowledge.

Submitted: 10/20/2010 khenderson

Rowe, N. C. (2004). Cheating in online student assessment: Beyond Plagiarism. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 7 (2). Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer72/rowe72.html

In this article it is explained that no matter what strategies an instructor takes, cheating will never be one-hundred percent preventable. However, there are things instructors can do to try to decrease the amount of cheating that could occur with distance education. Instructors can have students do group projects, have students answer short answer questions on exams, and have random questions populate on each student’s exams. These steps can help prevent students from cheating off of each other or plagiarizing from the internet.

This article would be a good read for both instructors and students. It gives good tips for instructors so they can focus on how to create a better learning environment for students and take away the ability to cheat. It also makes students think about the fact that it is their learning they are preventing, and cheating will not get them very far in the course.


Submitted: 9/14/2014 rweber

Rowe, N. (2004). Cheating in online student assessment: Beyond plagiarism, 7. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. Retrieved from


This reference reviews methods of cheating in online assessment. Specifically not including plagiarism. The author teaches science and engineering so his assessment needs are largely multiple choice questions or math problems. Students getting assessment answers in advance is one method of cheating. The author suggests as a countermeasure to this type of cheating that test are taken at the same time with proctors present to prevent some getting the questions before others. If proctoring is not possibly the questions should be from a large enough pool that they are presented to the students randomly resulting in different questions for each student. Another form of cheating discussed in this article is unauthorized help during the assessment. As a remedy to this the author suggests comparing answers from students. Ironically if students get the same answers wrong they are more likely to be cheating. The author also suggests that distance learning course management systems need to provide assurance that servers are secure and provide some built in remedies to cheating.

This article does a good job of presenting methods of cheating that do not include plagiarism. In some disciplines such as science and engineering the assessment needs to be multiple choice question and these types are vulnerable to cheating. The reference would be helpful to a science or math teacher who is developing assessment tools. Until software programs and course management systems can be developed to counter cheating in this type of assessment the author recommends conventional face to face assessment for the sciences.


Submitted: 9/22/2013 jwiese

Stuber-McEwen, D., Wiseley, P., & Hoggatt, S. (2009). Point, click, and cheat: Frequency and type of academic dishonesty in the virtual classroom. Eric, 12. Retrieved October 20, 2010, from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/fall123/stuber123.html

In this article, the author addresses how students who are not in the traditional classroom setting may engage in academic dishonesty.  The belief is that students who are enrolled in the online classroom setting are more prone to cheat than those students who enrolled in the traditional setting.  A study was conducted where 225 students were asked about their academic dishonesty, and the results displayed that the prevalence rate was lower for students enrolled in online classes.

Before reading this article, I assumed that the prevalence of academic dishonesty would be higher in the online learning environment. It surprised to me to discover that it was a higher prevalence in the traditional learning environment. When teachers/professors decide to use the online format they have to consider possible cheating among students. Furthermore, safeguards need to be in place to protect any type of academic misconduct among the students.


Submitted: 10/20/2010 khenderson

Watson, G. , & Sottile, J. (Spring 2010) Cheating in the digital age: Do students cheat in online courses? Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume XIII, Number1


Cheating has always been considered a serious problem on college campuses.  The main difference now is that it’s just a mouse click away with the “copy-paste” generation.  There are more Internet-based course offerings and this article addresses whether cheating will increase with online learning and if web-based assessments encourage a higher rate of student cheating than non-web-based assessments.  It conducted a study of 635 undergraduate and graduate students at a medium sized university and focused on student cheating behaviors in both on-line and face-to-face classes by examining cheating behavior and perceptions of whether either type experienced greater cheating behaviors.

While the research on academic dishonesty in general is quite extensive, there is a limited amount of research on student cheating in online courses.  This study used a quantitative design featuring a one-time survey to gauge level and type of academic dishonesty that occurred.  However, the surveyed population in this study did not accurately reflect the male/female ratio of the university and it is unknown whether some academic majors had a disproportionately higher representation in the survey population.  It was suggested that future researchers should attempt to evenly distribute respondents over the academic classes to improve statistical analysis.


Submitted: 3/13/2011 dcalandro

Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by Adult Learners Online: A Case Study in Detection and Remediation. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 7(1), 1-15. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.stfrancis.edu:2048/login?url=http://ezproxy.stfrancis.edu:2252/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ806007&site=ehost-live

The article found that many instructors have improved the opportunity to detect plagiarism thanks to the Internet; prior to the widespread use of the Internet, only laborious manual inspection was used to detect and identify plagiarism. Tools such as Turnitin.com, while still only providing a minimal amount of identification, was easier and more effective than manual efforts.  Additionally, Jocoy and DiBiase felt that adult learners would be less likely to plagiarize; the definition of plagiarism being ““intentionally [use] someone else’s ideas or words as your own.” The authors’ expectations also were that adults would be more likely to stay informed of their program’s policies and expectations for plagiarism. However, this proved not to be the case. Jocoy and DiBiase found that a key tool for managing plagiarism for adult learners would be managing expectations of the faculty and realizing that all learners, regardless of age, are susceptible to the temptation.

This article is helpful for individuals looking to confirm that adult learners are not more or less likely than other demographics to plagiarize their work.


Submitted: 9/16/2014 kberrien

Galbraith, M. W., & Jones, M. S. (2010). Understanding Incivility in Online Teaching. Journal Of Adult Education, 39(2), 1-10. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.stfrancis.edu:2048/login?url=http://ezproxy.stfrancis.edu:2252/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ930240&site=ehost-live


Plagiarism is a phenomenon prevalent in all academic disciplines, including the medical field. For their purposes, the authors of this article identify plagiarism as “the act or instance of stealing or passing off the ideas or words of another as one’s own.”, and can be either direct or mosaic. Essays, papers and tests provide several areas for plagiarism, and the authors found the incidences of plagiarism in healthcare high, despite their expectations. Students in a doctorate of pharmacy program attended a seminar to identify plagiarism in assessments related to their field, and took a pre and post-seminar evaluation to determine the effect of the seminar on their ability to identify plagiarism. The results demonstrated a clear increase in ability to identify plagiarized materials post-seminar, leading the authors to conclude that education could be an effective tool to avoid inadvertent plagiarism in student work.

This article is helpful for individuals looking to confirm that learners can often inadvertently plagiarize their work, but with help, can self-identify and correct this tendency.


Submitted: 9/16/2014 kberrien