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How Do Colleges Feel About Cheating?

How Do Colleges Feel About Cheating?

All educational institutions, without exception, refer to cheating as a form of an epidemic that is infecting schools and colleges and is threatening to tear apart the moral fabric of college integrity. Academic integrity is the foundation of a good learning process.

Excuses given by students for cheating

Many excuses are given by students for cheating in academics. And the most common ones are listed below:

  • Many students don't think it is a big deal to cheat and hence try to undermine and underplay the immorality of the act

  • Some students think that they did not actually cheat; they only took some help.

  • Some students lay the blame squarely on the teachers saying her or his teaching is terrible and hence they have no option but to cheat

Moreover, the concept of morality and honesty is rather fluid among the student community. It might be quite surprising for you to know that in colleges where peers disapprove cheating, the rates of cheating are actually lower than other colleges.

How do colleges feel about cheating?

Colleges are doing as much as they can to prevent and deter cheating. Academic integrity is a critical element to achieving excellence and brand reputation. This is a huge driver for most colleges to look upon cheating with a nasty frown and take all possible measures to deter students from cheating.

Colleges undertake a lot of measures to prevent and deter cheating. They have stringent policy measures and also counsel parents to take the onus of teaching their children to be honest and leverage the power of college education.

Suggestions for parents

Parents are the first set of role models for their children. Considering this, parents are asked to reflect on incidences when they, perhaps unwittingly, cheated in front of their children. They could have said that their teenage son was below 12 years of age to get airline or cinema tickets at reduced prices. How many times you may have driven beyond the speed limit with your children in the car? Hence it is important for parents to behave appropriately in front of children so that they can emulate your actions.

Parents should focus on the learning of their children and not worry too much about grades. Students are already under lots of pressure to perform well and needless pressure for improved grades should be avoided by parents.

Parents are encouraged to discuss cheating in an open manner and categorically advise their children not to resort to these methods. Parents need to educate their children on the importance of learning the correct way so that they value in the outside world is a true reflection of themselves. Parents should discuss actual situations at workplaces wherein students who resorted to cheating college could not survive in any organization because of low occupational and professional skills.

Suggestions for teachers

Colleges also lay a lot of emphasis on how teachers behave with students. Badly behaved and incompetent teaching methodologies are excuses that students use to condone cheating in college.

Teachers should work at improving their teaching skills and find novel and innovative methods to teach difficult subjects. Lessons should include activities that engage students and this engagement itself should be a great learning experience for students. While teachers are encouraged to take on the role of strict policing during tests and exams, most colleges agree that it is impossible to completely eliminate cheating by just focusing on improving policing methods.

Instead, teachers are asked to set papers that need a descriptive answer with an opinion from the students in replace of multiple choice and True/False types of questions. Teachers are compelled to run all assignments through anti-plagiarism software and give students prior information that such deterrents are in place. This way, students are discouraged from even attempting to plagiarize.

Penalties imposed by colleges for students caught cheating

Despite counseling and employment of other less stringent methods, cheating is still a menace in colleges. Hence, most colleges have resorted to strict penalties for those students who are caught cheating. This, the colleges hope, will deter others from trying the same thing in the future. The penalties imposed include:

Suspension – This could range from suspension for a short while to suspension for the entire semester. Although some colleges resort to such measures only after giving a warning for first-time offenders, most colleges are becoming stricter with repeat offenders and suspensions are imposed.

Expulsion – Students are expelled from colleges only if the nature of cheating is really serious. Moreover, before expulsion, students get an opportunity to present their version before multiple committee hearings. However, if expelled, students will find it quite difficult to get admission elsewhere as this misdemeanor is recorded in his or her manuscript.

Other ways that colleges employ to deter cheating

More and more colleges are becoming proactive in their approach to manage cheating. They are looking at creating a culturally conducive environment so that students feel bad to cheat. Here are some of the methods used by colleges:

They develop an honor code – This honor code that clearly states that cheating is socially unaccepted in this college is printed and displayed at all strategic locations in and around the college campus.

Orientations for students – During the orientations for new students, the importance of maintaining academic integrity and the dire consequences of cheating are unequivocally spelled out. Some colleges, in fact, require new undergraduate students to clear an online honor code assessment before final registration.

Regular tutorials – Colleges have come to understand that many students are ignorant of the concept of plagiarism and what is called cheating. Regular tutorials are held for students so that no one can get away taken umbrage under the garb of ignorance.

PR Campaign of honor codes – While many colleges simply have an honor code hidden away somewhere in the handbook, some colleges are undertaking PR campaigns to announce and make popular the honor code of the college. These PR campaigns take the shape of prominent posters all over the campus in strategic places like classrooms, library, residential halls etc Some colleges are also introducing video creating competitions wherein students are encouraged to create and submit videos depicting the importance of academic integrity.

Teachers are exhorted to make open conversations about cheating in class – Instead of pretending nothing is wrong or being afraid of talking openly about cheating, teachers are trained and encouraged to take up the discussion of cheating during their class. Teachers are also asked to create cheating-resistant papers and assignments for students.

Final Notes

There is no doubt that colleges are taking the plague of cheating very seriously. These institutions are creating and coming up with novel and interesting methods to counter the epidemic called academic cheating. Despite many efforts, cheating continues to a common occurrence in many colleges across the country.

It is more useful, I think, to educate and elucidate the importance of academic integrity to students by illustrating the ill-effects of cheating. While students are encouraged by the short-term gains of cheating in college, they should be told about the long-term and lifelong miseries associated with not having completed their college course in the correct way. They should be told about how cheating will never work in a professional environment and if they are not sufficiently equipped then they are bound to fail in the exam of life.

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