Gabriel Smith | Staff Writer |@gubsmith
Photo credit: Valerie Cheatham
To the dismay of all academia, cheating can always be found in its midst. Whether you are a culprit, victim or bystander, cheating still happens. The why and how can be understood.
In section D4 of Utah Valley University’s online document, “Students Rights and Responsibilities,” we find the following: “Each student is expected to maintain academic ethics and honesty in all its forms, including, but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism…”
The document then goes on to outline seven different forms of cheating. The phrase, “including, but not limited to,” is very important. It gives us a glimpse of the almost unpredictable culture of cheating. We may not be able to isolate every instance of cheating, but we can understand three basic concepts: why, how and consequence.
The question of why is often the hardest to answer. We may not be able to go inside the head of a cheater and know real motives and personal reasoning, but we can find connections in most cheating situations – procrastination, pressure and fear of failure.
Procrastination puts us up against timelines that seem utterly overwhelming. Even students who know the material or topics may well find themselves looking for the quick out when the clock is ticking. Not allowing enough time for schoolwork invites the next ever-present of cheating – pressure.
Negative pressure can lead us to think irrationally and lose sight of, or even forget, important details. When the pressure mounts, students should look to the previously cited phrase, “including, but not limited to,” in a whole new light. They should think of positive character traits that can be applied in their favor: Hard work, grit, a little positivity, etc.
Fear of failure brings negativity into our learning experiences. At UVU, you have already come this far. Don’t succumb to fear. Use resources to face challenges and get help when you need it. Don’t deal in absolutes.
While there is still the wandering eye method of cheating, other forms are on the rise. Technology and smart devices add another dimension to cheating.
“As online resources and technology have progressed, so have forms of cheating,” said junior communication student Benjamin Roden.
The benefit of quick and easy access to information is one way students find the temptation to cheat too hard to pass up. Papers can be purchased online through easily found sites; simple answers can be found in a browser on a cell phone.
Although technology is making cheating that much easier in today’s classroom, it can also be the source of deterrence. An example would be UVU’s use of anti-plagiarism software, Turnitin, on Canvas. This software detects plagiarism in students’ papers and reports back a convenient percentage result.
“Cheating is not to be tolerated and I will support any faculty members who clamp down on students when they have been accused of cheating,” said Professor Farnsworth, a UVU political science professor since 1971.