Dishonesty in Higher Education: A Look at Cheating

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.

Where “U” Rank: World’s Top 100 Universities of 2013

How prestigious is your university? Times Higher Education recently released this year’s reputation rankings for colleges across the globe. The meticulous methodology for their survey (found here: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2012/reputation-ranking/methodology) leaves little in the way of surprises, although some universities should be pleased at the changes from previous years.  Here are some highlights:

The first three positions on the list remain unchanged since 2011 with Harvard University as number one and MIT and Cambridge to follow, but Oxford moves up two ranks from last year to round out the top four.

Rank Number One: Harvard (Photo Source: Patricia Drury http://www.flickr.com/photos/patriciadrury/)

Rank One: Harvard (Photo Source: Patricia Drury http://www.flickr.com/photos/patriciadrury/)

The United Kingdom occupies two positions in the top ten while The United States takes up an outstanding seven. The University of Tokyo, coming in at rank nine is the only one in the top twenty.

Rank Nine: The University of Tokyo (Photo Source: Hideyuki KAMON http://www.flickr.com/photos/hyougushi/)

Rank Nine: The University of Tokyo (Photo Source: Hideyuki KAMON http://www.flickr.com/photos/hyougushi/)

In Scholar Hero’s own backyard are Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, who both managed to remain in the top 100. Carnegie Mellon jumped an impressive eleven positions from last year to achieve thirty-seventh. However, Pitt continues to fall in the rankings, going from the sixties to the seventies.

A view of CMU with Pitt's Cathedral of Learning in the background. (Photo Source: Filipe Fortes http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortes/)

A view of CMU with Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning in the background. (Photo Source: Filipe Fortes http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortes/)

You can read more about the data and see all of the rankings here: http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/mar/05/world-top-100-universities-reputation-rankings-times-higher-education

Let us know where your university ranks.

 Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.