The Cheatability Rubric
What is your online course’s “cheatability factor”? 75% of students have admitted to cheating during their college career, and according to some studies online assessment makes cheating easier. This session considers technical, philosophical, and environmental factors that may increase or decrease the cheatability of online courses from design to delivery, and presents a rubric used to assess those factors.
Objectives and Description
- Discover the extent to which cheating-related problems exist in online education and online-based assessments
- Consider factors that may contribute technologically, philosophically, or environmentally to online cheating
- Examine a rubric used to measure the “cheatability” of online course
- Discuss practices and strategies to avoid or minimize the impact of cheating
Nobody wants students cheating in their online class, yet an estimated 75% of students have admitted to cheating during their college career, and according to some studies online assessment makes cheating easier. The problem is not only one of practical importance for educators, it is one of growing importance to instructional technologists, administrators, and anyone else with a vested interest in the validity and reputation of distance education and technology-enhanced teaching.
This session will first present information and collected research data that summarizes the state of cheating in higher education in general, and in distance education specifically. While a general awareness of the pervasiveness of cheating may be in and of itself an eye-opener to many educators and administrators, the motivations behind cheating and the responsibility teachers have to recognize their own influence on cheating can provide an alternative perspective on what is normally considered a quite simple choice. McClusky’s theory of Power-Load-Margin, for instance, informs teachers of the impact they may have on students’ lives, and the impact students’ lives have on their studies, both of which can lead students to choose to cheat. A number of environmental factors are particularly salient in online courses, such as ambiguity of definitions of cheating, actual or perceptual “distance”, level of instructor-student interaction, individual relevance or meaningfulness of activities and assessments, etc. Additionally, there are a number of more technical and technological factors that can increase or decrease both a student’s propensity to cheat, and his/her ability to cheat.
By considering these technical, methodological, and environmental factors, Distance Education at Utah Valley University has developed a rubric to assess online courses and report on potential factors that may increase or decrease the cheatability of online courses from design to delivery. This rubric is (1) provided to teachers engaging in distance education course development or instruction, (2) made available to administrators and department chairs as an example of our mutual interest in preserving the integrity of online education, and (3) implemented internally as a tool in our course design process to better evaluate and recommend online assessments before, during, and after an online course is delivered.
Because cheating itself is a complex and sensitive issue informed by experience and diverse perspectives, this session seeks to engage participants in a dialogue on cheating, online assessments, and technology. We predict there will be naturally flowing discussion and debate between participants who may favor one approach over another, e.g. a “direct assault” approach which seeks to thwart any and all attempts at cheating using technology or applied strategies, vs. “hearts and minds” pedagogical approaches that focus on course environment, assessment design, and student engagement.
Bookmark List: Cheating in Online Education
- Callahan, David. (2004). The Cheating Culture: Why more Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead. San Diego, CA: A Harvest Book
- Caron, M. D., Whitbourne, S. K., and Halgin, R. P. (1992). Fraudulent Excuse Making Among College Students. Teaching of Psychology, 19(2), 90-93.
- Center for Academic Integrity – Research. (n.d.). Retrieved July 9, 2005 from www.academicintegrity.org/cai_research.asp
- Charlesworth, P., D. D. Charlesworth, and C. Vlcia. 2006. Students’ perspectives of the influence of web-enhanced coursework on incidences. Journal of Chemical Education 83 (9): 1368-75.
- Cizek, Gregory J. (2003). Detecting and Preventing Classroom Cheating: Promoting Integrity in Assessment. Thousand Oaks, CA. Corwin Press, Inc.
- Clark, Ruth Colvin, Frank Nguyen, & John Sweller. (2005). Efficiency in Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines to Manage Cognitive Load. Pfeiffer.
- Coates, D., B. R. Humphreys, J. Kane, and M. A. Vachris. 2004. ‘No significant distance’ between face-to-face and online instruction: evidence from principles of economics. Economics of Education Review 23 (6): 533-546.
- Day, M., & James, J. (1984). Margin and the adult learner. MPAEA Journal of Adult Education, 13(1), 1-5.
- Dick, M., Sheard, J., Bareiss, C., Carter, J., Joyce, D., Harding, T., & Laxer, C. (2003, June). Addressing student cheating: definitions and solutions. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, 35(2), 172-184.
- George, J., & Carlson, J. (1999, January). Group support systems and deceptive communication. 32nd Hawaii Intl. Conf. on Systems Sciences, 1038.
- Hard, S. F., J. M. Conway, and A.C. Moran. 2006. Faculty and college student beliefs about the frequency of student academic misconduct. Journal of Higher Education 77 (6): 1058-80.
- Harmon, O. R., and J. Lambrinos. Are online exams an invitation to cheat? Department of Economics Working Paper Series March 2006.
- Kaczmarczyk, L. (2001). Accreditation and student assessment in distance education: Why we all need to pay attention. Proc. 6th Conf. on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, Canterbury, UK, 113-116.
- Kennedy, K., S. Nowak, R. Raghuraman, J. Thomas, and S. F. Davis. 2000. Academic dishonesty and distance learning: student and faculty views. College Student Journal 34 (2): 309-14
- Keith-Spiegel, Patricia & Whitley, Jr. Bernard E. (2002). Academic Dishonesty: An Educator’s Guide. Mahwah, NJ. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
- Krutsch, John & Sandy Mills-Alford. (2006). How to Cheat Online: Issues in Academic Honesty. WebCT.
- Keyes, Ralph. (2004). The Post-Truth ERA: Dishonesty and Deception in Contemporary Life. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
- Mallon, Thomas. (1991). Stolen Words: The Classic Book on Plagiarism. San Diego, CA: A Harvest
- Rowe, N. Cheating in online student assessment: Beyond plagiarism. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 7(2). (Online) Available at: www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/