ETEC 648 Session 9- Academic Dishonesty

  1. Thinking about an online class you teach or might teach, what is the most likely issue related to plagiarism and/or cheating with which you would anticipate dealing?

My students participate in National History Day each year. Although I teach in the traditional classroom, I do have students who still plagiarize information that they find on the Internet, so it is technically considered cyber-cheating. Some copy and paste text directly from websites, and others actually print out the pages directly from the website and do not bother to copy and paste first.

  1. Identify and explain the steps and measures you would take to reduce the occurrence of plagiarism/cheating identified in item 1.

Next year, I want to create an online course for my students’ National History Day projects. I think this is a good idea because I can break the project into doable chunks, as is suggested by Dr. Newberry and much of the research. Since students have approximately thirteen weeks to complete the project, I would break the project into ten sessions. This would give them two weeks to think about the theme and choose an area to focus on. Then, each week they would complete one part of the project. This would help me identify plagiarism early on and give students the chance to correct their mistake. Breaking up the project into manageable parts would make it easier for students to complete one part at a time, without resorting to plagiarism. The first session in the project would teach students about plagiarism and how to avoid it. Doing all of this would hopefully resort in better overall projects and less stressed out kids and parents. Usually, projects are due the week after Thanksgiving break, but if we did it this way, students would have completed projects the week before Thanksgiving. Everyone would be happier if they did not have to spend their entire week off working on their project.

  1. What does research tell us about the reasons students give for plagiarism/cheating. Remember to cite your sources!

I was impressed with the amount of research that I found on plagiarism, cheating, and cyber-cheating. Heckler, Forde, and Bryan (2013) state that copying the work of others is easy for students to do. They make excuses such as everyone else is doing it. One reason that they mention that instructors do not report cheating is because they are afraid of what students will write on the evaluation of the instructor at the end of the class. The researchers talk about the history of cheating from 1940 at Drake University. They also attribute the rise in cheating to the “commercialization” of higher education with higher costs due to decreases in funding and education now being seen as a product rather than a process. They also discussed the ease of plagiarism with the Internet and compared it to how much more involved cheating was before computers. It made me think about students copying text from an encyclopedia and writing it themselves, but now all they have to do is copy and paste the text that they find online to their document.

Jones (2009) also discusses the phenomenon of students being comfortable with cheating because everyone else is doing it. Jones also explains that students cheat because they do not have a clear definition of what cheating and plagiarism consists of, especially when it comes to re-submitting their own work to a different class. She discusses the ethics involved in cheating and the increase in the use of honor codes in colleges to deal with cheating. She says that schools that have implemented honor codes have seen a decrease in cheating. She also discusses the use of authenticity statements on work submitted by students. It is basically a statement that the students write that states that all of the work is their own and they include it with the submission of their work.

Heckler, N. C., Forde, D. R., & Bryan, C. H. (2013). Using Writing Assignment Designs to Mitigate Plagiarism. Teaching Sociology, 41(1), 94–105.

Jones, I. M. (2009). Cyber-Plagiarism: Different Method-Same Song. Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, 12(1), 89–100.

  1. Evaluate your participation in the discussion this week. Provide at least one quote from the discussion that supports your evaluation.

I think that my original post about cyber-cheating was my best post because I answered all the questions and used resources as supporting evidence for my responses. I think that the connection that I made between cyber-cheating and cyber-bullying helped me understand that there really is no difference between cheating and cyber-cheating because in the end it is still academic dishonesty.

Original Post:

Is cybercheating really different than any other form of plagiarism or cheating?

Cybercheating is the same thing as plagiarism or cheating, just as cyberbullying is the same thing as bullying. The thing about the Internet is that the web of cheating or bullying can be more intricate because there can be more resources and more people involved.

What is “cybercheating” according to the article provided?

According to Landers (2011), cybercheating is “cheating enabled by the internet.” Cybercheating is not limited to online classes because any student who has access to the internet can cybercheat. The author is concerned with the large numbers of students who participate in some type of cybercheating. He states that he worries about it because he wonders where those students will end up after they graduate from college. He makes a valid point, and people who cheated in school will probably continue to try to cheat somehow at work. I wonder how successful they would be at cheating in a real job. I would hope that it would be obvious that they lack certain skills, along with integrity.

How can we prevent cybercheating and other similar types of plagiarism?

There are tools to help with preventing cybercheating and plagiarism, but I think that no matter what we do, there will be people who lack integrity that will do whatever it takes to cheat. What is interesting is that sometimes it seems that the effort involved in cheating is more than the effort it would have taken to do the work themselves. In my classroom I have a poster that says, “Integrity is what you do when no one is watching.” I haven’t talked about the poster with my students, but I have actually heard them use the word integrity with one another, so I know they’ve been reading it. I think teaching lessons about digital citizenship and good morals beginning at a young age is one way to prevent cheating.

However, when teaching online classes, I think that the best method for preventing cybercheating is what Dr. Newberry does when he creates the assignments for his classes. He breaks down the larger project into smaller, doable sections that are due each week. From week to week, he gets to know the writing style and personality of each student. Plus, it makes it harder to cheat if it is just one section of work at a time. Avoiding traditional multiple-choice tests is another way to prevent cheating. However, if a test must be taken, an instructor can use tools that make it harder to cheat. I have a final next week in an online class and we actually have to come to class to take the final. We can choose to take it from 4 to 6:15 p.m. or from 6 to 8 p.m. If we take it at 4, we cannot leave until 6:15 and if we take it at 6, we can’t arrive after 6:15. This seems way too complex of a schedule for me, although the professor is preventing anyone who takes the test during the first session from sharing any information from the test with the rest of the class who takes it later in the day. It all goes back to what the objectives of the class are and whether or not those objectives can be met in other ways besides a test.

  1. Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.

I found Lorraine’s post to be informative and it helped with my understanding of the topic. She went in depth into the subject and provided great strategies for dealing with cheating.

Lorraine Gersitz

RE: Cybercheating?

Is cybercheating really different than any other form of plagiarism or cheating?

When I first did a google search on cybercheating I retrieved a list of sites that had to do with a whole other kind of cheating. It took me few seconds to realize what I was looking at, lol. It seems that other form of cybercheating is pretty rampant too!

Whether it’s a love affair or school work, cybercheating IS cheating. Cheating in coursework isn’t a new phenomenon by any means but computers, online resources, and online courses have made it easier by far and have given us a new name for an old problem. In his blog article in NeoAcademic Richard N. Landers discusses a study by N. Selwyn that defines cybercheating as “cheating enabled by the internet.” Just like cheating before the internet age, it can occur in any type of course on any topic. But students today, some with more technical savvy than their professors, are getting very, very good at it and are doing it more and more. Most researchers agree that there is evidence that cheating has increased in the last few decades, and the Internet is the likely cause.  According to the Selwyn study outlined in Landers post,

  • In a US study, 50% of students admitted to cybercheating at some point while they were in college.
  • In another 30-40% of students admitted to copying text from the internet into their own work without citing the source.  10-20% did so for large sections of their assignments (i.e. more than a sentence here and there).
  • About 25% of graduate students engage in these same behaviors.
  • Typical profile of the most likely cybercheater: young male underclassmen experienced with the Internet

What is “cybercheating” according to the article provided?

Cybercheating is any form of plagiarism, cheating, or academic dishonesty that takes place via the internet or by means of other online sources. It can take place in an online class or a F2F class. It can be intentional or unintentional. It can be copying and pasting without proper citation. It can be retaking online tests. It can be buying and selling test answers or complete research papers.  It can be collusion. It can be research fraud. Cybercheating is cheating and it can take many forms.

How can we prevent cybercheating and other similar types of plagiarism?

In the article Cybercheating in the Information Technology Age I found the following passage very interesting:

“…student experiences with electronic media in particular may lead them to develop attitudes towards the ownership of academic work that are different from established wisdom and at variance with the conventions of academic writing. From this perspective, therefore, copying, or plagiarism, from the internet may not be “cheating” in the eyes of students – the material is seen as being in the public domain and without ownership.”

Sadly, I see this attitude in my own students.

So, as Professor Newberry states in his lecture, one of the most important steps is to define the issues. Explain to students what constitutes plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Other measures to consider:

  • Teach students about the research process, the importance of giving credit to authors via citations, and how to properly quote, paraphrase, and cite works they use in their papers.
  • Create assignments and grading systems that encourage unique work and a step-by-step approach.
  • Use plagiarism checkers such as Turnitin or SafeAssign.
  • Instill in students the values associated with ethical behavior and integrity in the classroom and beyond.
  • Post and discuss your campus Academic Honesty/Dishonesty policy. The Cerritos College Academic Honesty/Dishonesty Policy statement is featured prominently in my courses. It’s very well written and addresses the important values that lead to student success.


Jones, K.O., Reid, J. & Bartlett, R. (2008). Cyber cheating in an information technology age. Digithum. No. 10. Retrieved from

Moten, J., Fitterer, A., Brazier, E., Leonard, J. & Brown, A.C. (2013) Examining online college cyber cheating methods and prevention measures. EJEL.11(2). Retrieved from,d.cGU&cad=rjaoncordia University, Austin Texas, USA

Landers, R.N. (2011) Online plagiarism and cybercheating still strong – 61.9%. Neoacademic. 4 February. Retrieved from

  1. Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.

This week I learned that it is important to teach my students about academic dishonesty now that they are in sixth grade because the reason that they often do it is that they do not necessarily know or understand that it is wrong. I also learned that I need to do something to help my students when they are faced with large projects in which they are tempted to cheat. I will break those projects up into parts that they can do without being overwhelmed. As I think about teaching online, I will remember how important it is to be familiar with my students writing and that I will not assign one large project that is due at the end of the class.


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