Apps under fire for enabling academic dishonesty

Annie Dietz, Campus Carrier Staff Writer

The internet has developed into a useful and necessary tool for college students in their academic, professional and social lives. Students need internet to access their syllabi, contact professors, submit assignments and conduct research. There are countless independent websites that further help students academically, like Quizlet, a forum for students to create online flashcards to share universally, or Chegg, an online tutoring platform. The creation of the internet has allowed for the immediate spread and absorption of information, which is beneficial to busy college students.

While the development of the internet has created a variety of resources for students, it is also subject to being taken advantage of. The community of Texas Christian University (TCU) learned this disadvantage last May. As CBS reported on May 10, in an article titled “Texas Christian University tutors accused in alleged cheating case,” students posted the answers to a professor’s exams, because the professor often recycled old questions. The discovery of the Quizlet page on which these answers were posted led to the suspension of a dozen students.

Berry has a strict academic integrity protocol. Under the Student Conduct section of Viking Code, academic dishonesty is listed as a violation of Community Standard II: Maintain Integrity in Personal and Academic Affairs . Academic Dishonesty is defined as “a misrepresentation or falsification of data; complicity with others engaged in academic dishonesty.” By this definition, academic dishonesty includes cheating.

As Provost Mary Boyd explained, enforcement of academic integrity protocol is left up to the discretion of individual professors. They enumerate their specific policies in the Academic Integrity section of their syllabus.

With a first offense, disciplinary measures are left up to the professor, but a report is sent to the Provost’s Office. Students who have committed an act of academic dishonesty also cannot withdraw from the course in order to evade the punishment. With the second offense, the Provost’s Office can decide to step in and implement further sanctions.

These same stipulations apply to academic dishonesty over the internet, like putting test answers on Quizlet, the way TCU students did.

“We wouldn’t differentiate whether it was done in person, during a test or done online,” Boyd said. “We would treat all forms of academic dishonesty very seriously.”

So far, the Provost’s Office has never received any complaints concerning use of Quizlet or other similar websites for cheating.

“I think that speaks very well of the Berry population, that they are not doing that,” Boyd said. “Certainly the professors are committed to upholding academic integrity.”

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