Cheating in Online Courses and How We Can Prevent It

On the Troomi blog, we’ve talked a bit about the advantages of online learning. While there are a plethora of positives to classes via Zoom, it’s important to think about the negatives of eLearning as well. 

So let’s do an experiment! Take out a blank piece of paper and your favorite pen. Now write down as many answers to this question as you can: what are the disadvantages of online classes?

I had some friends and family members do this and their lists all looked pretty similar. It basically boiled down to:

  • Technical issues 
  • Online school could be harder for students to pay attention to
  • Difficulty communicating with teachers and building relationships
  • Parents often have to facilitate online learning
  • Online learning means more screen time, which could be unhealthy.

Your list likely looks something like this, right? I just have one last question: did you consider cheating?

As online learning becomes a more viable option and as students gain more access to technology like the internet, cheating in online courses similarly grows—especially in middle school and high school environments. 

As such, it’s important that parents be aware of the higher likelihood of cheating and the tools you can use to help your kids not cheat. Avoiding cheating will encourage your kids to pay more attention in class and fully develop into the best students that they can be.

Do students cheat more in online classes?

If we ask educators, the answer is yes. According to a survey performed by Wiley (a digital education company), ninety-three percent of educators say that students cheat more frequently online than in person. 

And it seems that the students agree. In a study performed by researchers at Marshall University, 73.8% of students surveyed reported that they felt it was easier to cheat in an online class than a live lecture.

Due to this perceived ease, it makes sense that some students are becoming more comfortable with the idea of cheating. Students may also see their peers cheating and decide that “if everyone is doing it, it can’t be that bad.” Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Is online cheating really that bad?

As schools shift to more frequent online learning, students may begin asking, “Is it bad to cheat in online school?” 

The answer is simple: yes. Just like it’s wrong to cheat during in-person classes, it’s wrong to cheat in online school. 

Hey teens! If you’re considering cheating, listen up!

It’s disrespectful to teachers and classmates if you receive a high grade without putting in any effort. Think about it: if you worked hard on an art project and someone swooped in to take credit at the last minute, wouldn’t you be frustrated? The same goes for cheating. Students who put in effort to get good grades in class shouldn’t have to compete with students that don’t do their own work.

On top of being unfair to teachers or classmates, cheating is primarily unfair to the cheaters themselves. A class is meant to be a learning environment—a place where students can attain new information and grow into a stronger version of themselves than they were prior. If students cheat, they opt out of growth opportunities. 

If you don’t take advantage of these growth opportunities and simply cheat your way through a course, it may come back around to bite you. Others will likely begin to believe in your abilities, and if those abilities aren’t real, those people could be totally let down. 

Cheating also causes a lot of stress for the cheater. When you are concerned about being caught in a lie, your stress levels rise considerably! This may result in a health scare. So save your mind and your body: don’t cheat.

Can online courses detect cheating?

Yes, most online courses are able to detect cheating! 

Many schools use plagiarism checkers like TurnItIn or Unicheck to verify that a student’s submitted work is entirely their own. 

Schools may also use applications like ProctorU, which allow teachers to proctor examinations online. These apps use webcams and microphones to ensure that students take their tests without help.

How can we avoid cheating in online courses?

Here are a few tips to avoid cheating in online courses:

  • Remind your kids about the negative consequences of cheating. The best way to stop your kids from cheating is to ensure that it never starts. Be a role model and help them set good habits!
  • Keep an eye on your kids! One of the best ways to help your children avoid cheating online is to check in on them and ensure that no cheating is happening. If you do see some cheating, have an open conversation with your child and discuss what happened.
  • Use a website blocker. These safety applications remove the possibility of your child accessing websites that help them cheat. 
  • Check out Troomi! While a website blocker will protect your kids from cheating on the computer, they might be able to work around it with a web browser on their phone. Troomi phones combat this with the help of our safe browser, which lets you decide which websites your kids can access based on their needs and maturity. Read about our mission to learn more!

Parenting can be hard, especially when kids reach the age where they’re tempted to cheat, but Troomi’s got your back! Keep an eye on the Troomi blog for more parenting tips and tricks!