We all know professors and educational institutions in general dislike students cheating. From plagiarism checkers to remote and in-person proctoring, institutions institute measures to identify cheating and any attempts to cheat.
But while this has become the norm, students sometimes wonder why professors care whether their students cheat.
After all, passing a course by cheating doesn’t affect the professor in any way at all. And while students cannot ask professors to dish out grades for free, it would be understandable if the professors could simply turn a blind eye to cheating.
Students get good grades and the professor becomes everyone’s favorite. Unfortunately, professors simply put a lot of effort into deterring cheating and catching those who do.
Why Do Professors Care About Cheating
So why do professors care so much that students are cheating?
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Some college courses are required before students can take other courses or advance in their education. These pre-requisite courses ensure that students are fully equipped with knowledge in a particular field before they can take more advanced classes.
Without this knowledge, students would be unable to understand future lessons which can lead to poor performance. Imagine going on to learn the Django framework without any knowledge of Python programming.
Passing becomes a lot more difficult for students without an adequate understanding of the requisite materials. So, professors try to ensure students have an understanding of the subject matter before they give the green light.
Contrary to what students may believe, regulations instituted against cheating are meant to help them. School is a training ground and professors have to ensure that their students are well-trained to excel in the future (academically and other).
When a student fails a professor’s course, it’s not because the professor dislikes them but simply meant to inform the student that they need a better understanding of the course before they can move on.
Students who cheat on these tests simply make things difficult for themselves and other professors. They simply end up passing the professor’s test but end up suffering with newer courses that build on the premise that students have a complete understanding of requisite subject matter.
Leave students to their own devices and they’ll take any opportunity they can find to pass a test. Simply ignoring students who cheat can embolden other students to do the same.
Even honest students looking to genuinely pass the course may end up resorting to cheating to avoid underperforming or falling behind their peers who are cheating.
The professor is also seen as a pushover by their students which can embolden other students to cheat in the professor’s course.
Academic integrity violation is a serious offense and almost every academic institution has some kind of policies governing this. Professors are mandated to report any incidence of academic dishonesty to the relevant authorities or administration.
Failure to do so would result in the professor facing consequences for breaching school policies. So don’t blame your professor. They’re required to snitch on cheaters or face serious consequences.
Students go on to receive employment in different fields after graduating from college. If cheaters are allowed to graduate without the necessary training, they could end up putting lives at risk.
After all, who wants someone who cheated their way through engineering building a bridge one day? Imagine a pilot who cheated their way through school, flying an aircraft full of people.
Nobody wants to have the doctor who cheated all the way through medical school, performing surgery on them.
While cheating may seem harmless to some students, it can lead to severe consequences for third parties, who may be unaware of the person’s improper training.
Even in cases where lives may not be at risk, inadequate training can lead to incompetence and dishonesty in the administration of duties.
Educational institutions have a reputation to uphold. Could be producing the best lawyers, doctors, engineers, pilots, or something the institution prides itself with.
Imagine a Harvard University-trained lawyer being incompetent in their duties. This not only affects the individual but could also negatively impact the reputation of the institution.
Corporations rely on these institutions and their processes to identify high-quality employees, and these institutions leverage these tests to identify and categorize the level of subject matter comprehension and expertise of their students.
After all, graduates from these schools are expected to be the best in their fields and are highly sort after by various companies (ranked by GPA). These graduates represent their institutions wherever they go.
And with growing competition between tertiary institutions aiming to attract the best students, any issues related to the incompetence of their graduates can be detrimental.
Any damage to the college’s reputation can result in lesser donations, reduced enrollment, and further impact on professors in these institutions.
These schools would rather expel cheaters than risk any damage to their reputations. Any accusations of academic dishonesty are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated before necessary decisions are made.
Scholarships, financial aid, and other merits are afforded to outstanding students. And while most of these students strive to meet the minimum GPA and attendance to maintain their scholarships, there’re a few that do not put in the necessary effort.
Cheating makes it difficult for these bodies to identify students who really deserve scholarships. Cheaters may be taking away financial aid opportunities from more deserving students.
Devalues Academic Qualification
Academic qualifications are a testament to a student who has gone through the necessary training in their respective fields. Being able to cheat your way to a diploma or degree simply devalues the qualification.
In this case, having an academic qualification loses its meaning and relevance. The qualification loses value and does not indicate mastery of subject matter to potential employers.
It tells the world that these educational institutions have approved students for graduation without the students doing the relevant work. This ends up reflecting badly on the educational institution itself.
How Do Professors Know If You Cheat
Teachers leverage a variety of tools to identify cheating in both offline and online learning environments.
These days, almost every tertiary institution employs the use of some form of plagiarism checker. This applies to both online and in-person learning.
Tools like SafeAssign, and Turnitin, are among some of the most popular plagiarism checkers leveraged by educational institutions.
While such tools can easily be integrated into some of the most popular learning management systems like Blackboard, a majority of these plagiarism checkers can be used outside learning management systems.
This means professors can upload student submissions to check for plagiarism during in-person classes.
These tools compare students’ submissions with Google’s index, ProQuest, in-house database, and other relevant databases to identify similarities.
While online tests were difficult to monitor in times past, modern remote proctoring solutions have made the job easier.
These tools can access the student’s computer webcam, and microphone to record and log any events in the student’s environment.
Additionally, these tools are also able to record the computer screen and log any events during remote tests.
Some of the most popular proctoring solutions include Honorlock, Proctorio, and ProctorU.
A LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks the testing environment within learning management systems. As the name suggests, LockDown Browser prevents student cheating by locking down various activities on a student’s computer or tablet during test-taking.
Installing LockDown Browser enables the software to gain some level of control of the student’s computer during test-taking and then restrict actions like copy-pasting, keyboard shortcuts, opening other applications, printing or even switching to another browser.
Advanced usage of this, is the combination of online proctoring and the Lockdown Browser.
Tools like the Respondus Monitor which is also called Respondus LockDown Browser builds on the functionalities of the LockDown Browser.
It can access the student’s computer webcam and microphone to record them and their environment during tests, to identify any attempts at cheating while also recording the computer screen and locking down certain functionalities.
To avoid impersonation during online tests, educational institutions leverage authentication tools to confirm the identities of students when taking online tests.
These tools may simply access the computer webcam to take a screenshot of the student’s identification card, take snapshots of candidates, or sometimes scan the fingerprint for identity verification before online tests.
It’s important to note that most school cheats escape detection. However, ignoring cheating outright would mean intentionally filling the workforce with graduates who lack the requisite skills to effectively administer their duties.
Cheating can result in graduates who lack the necessary skills for the workforce, which in turn lowers the value of academic qualifications.