The integrity of a university education is something that should be celebrated. Unfortunately cheating does happen, even at the most prestigious of institutions. A recent survey reveals an increase in exam cheating and homework dishonesty among students at Harvard University. These results are particularly disconcerting, as they come in the wake of a 2012 cheating scandal at the very same university that saw dozens of students guilty of exchanging exam answers. The reaction from the school administration has been to institute new anti-cheating policies, while reactions from the public have varied between shock, dismay, and cynicism. However, the fundamental issue is not being addressed: why are students cheating?
Knowing the reason that students cheat, and being able to address it, could very well be the most effective way to ensure that students succeed with honesty. Here are a few symptoms of the cheating mentality:
· Pressure to excel
· Heavy course load
· Time constraints
· Unsupportive professor
· Lack of motivation
While solving a trend of cheating is far from simple, the reasons behind it are understandable and approachable.
One approach is to deter students’ need to use each other for answers by giving them the means to rely on each other for support. Students need a reliable system that can work on their own schedule. The internet and mobile technology seem to be the best means to ensure that students have infinite and easy access to networks in which they can share their course work, give each others feedback, and connect without adding additional pressure to their lives. Cheating can never be condoned, but technology’s helpful, easy answer could prevent pressured students from looking for easy answers of their own.
Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.