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Remote Learning Reportedly Leads to Spike in Cheating

Remote Learning Reportedly Leads to Spike in Cheating

“The number of questions asked and answered on the “homework help” website Chegg has skyrocketed since classes migrated online”

This is as predictable as the sun rising in the east.

Inside Higher Ed reports:

A Spike in Cheating Since the Move to Remote?

The number of questions asked and answered on the “homework help” website Chegg has skyrocketed since classes migrated online due to the pandemic, an increase that authors of a new study published in the International Journal for Educational Integrity link to a likely increase in cheating.

Chegg, which has an honor code prohibiting cheating and which promotes itself as a site where students can get help on their homework, allows users to post a question to the site and receive an answer from a Chegg-identified expert “in as little as 30 minutes.” (The site’s posted average response time is 46 minutes.) The authors of the new study found that the number of questions posted on the site in five different science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines increased by 196.25 percent in April to August of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

“Given the number of exam style questions, it appears highly likely that students are using this site as an easy way to breach academic integrity by obtaining outside help,” the authors write in the article titled “Contract cheating by STEM students through a file sharing website: a COVID-19 pandemic perspective.”

“From my experience as somebody who has set exams, marked exams, read exams, seen too many exams, these things look like exam questions,” said Thomas Lancaster, the lead author of the study and senior teaching fellow in computing at Imperial College London, where he researches issues related to academic integrity and contract cheating. “From the point of view of Chegg, they are not promoting themselves as a service designed to help students to cheat, but they do offer a facility where you can get your answers completed quickly by a tutor, and the answers are delivered within the short time frame which matches an exam.”

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Comments

The Friendly Grizzly | February 6, 2021 at 1:47 pm

I’m shocked.

Who could have possible predicted this?
Ah, right — an adult.

“Reportedly”? It’s happening.

Faculty at my college report the same, as do peers at some other institutions.
There are ways to structure exams and paper assignments to prevent this, but they create a lot of work for faculty (so they don’t like to use them).

    hrhdhd in reply to John M. | February 7, 2021 at 9:21 am

    That’s true, but a lot of faculty at my institution spend a lot of time reviewing HonorLock videos to look for cheating when they could use that time to redesign their assessments.

    Milhouse in reply to John M. | February 7, 2021 at 11:32 am

    With Chegg, as opposed to other sites, there’s a very easy way to prevent it; if you click through to the article you’ll see that you can submit your exam to Chegg in advance, and tell them what time you’ll be administering it, and they will block those questions during that period.

    So if a student innocently asks a legitimate question on Chegg, there’s always a chance that it will reply that there is an exam currently being taken somewhere in the world, and this is one of the questions, so we will not be able to give you an answer until such-and-such a time, when the exam will be over.

      healthguyfsu in reply to Milhouse. | February 7, 2021 at 1:00 pm

      Why would a professor expect in good faith that Chegg would protect their intellectual property?

      Those “experts” get paid by the answer I believe.

      MajorWood in reply to Milhouse. | February 7, 2021 at 1:41 pm

      OK Milhouse, this is very testable (no pun intended). You pose as a professor with an upcoming test. Submit it to Chegg. Then give us the questions and we will submit them during that time frame as putative students in the course. My guess is that every single one of us will get answers, or be offered answers, in that time frame. There is absolutely no downside for Chegg here except those that they impose against themselves. Sure, I guess that I could trust a company whose business model is to aid and abet cheaters.

        Milhouse in reply to MajorWood. | February 8, 2021 at 9:50 am

        Sure, I guess that I could trust a company whose business model is to aid and abet cheaters.

        What do you mean by that? Their business model is to help students with homework questions. That’s not cheating. It’s only cheating during exams, and they say they make a good faith effort to prevent that, so why would you accuse them of lying? They have no obligation to do that in the first place; they’re going beyond their duty just to do the right thing, which is admirable. If you want to accuse them, the onus is on you to perform your experiment.

Because they normally just ask each other and they can’t during the pandemic. They’ve just moved their outsourcing of any intellectual responsibility from their local network to the web.

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