Is cheating becoming a real problem for universities?

Universities across the globe are reporting a spike in student cheating during the pandemic, driven by online learning.

It has led, reports the Times Higher Education, to calls for a fundamental rethinking of what is being taught and assessed.

The quick move to virtual environments added to student stress and vastly increased their opportunities to use online ‘assistance’. Many students didn’t feel comfortable with online classes, or have safe and reliable environments in which to study, and they faced lecturers who may have been even more hostile to the format.

The University of Waterloo in Canada said cheating was up 146% in a year, with 1,340 reported incidents of cheating. In Australia the Queensland University of Technology said in September test-related cheating had quadrupled. And, at the University of Houston rates of cheating doubled.

A worry is many students don’t see using the internet to get their answers is cheating. They have grown up with the expectation they can use the internet to find answers.

THE said in the UK the number of essay mills has grown to just under a thousand (904). 

The rise in cheating means some universities are looking to change the way they assess students. Oral assessments via Zoom is one method being put forward.