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My parents always tell me that when it comes to school, I have it a lot easier than they did. When they entered college in the 80s, the encyclopedia was still the go-to source for academic information, and your only tools in the classroom were a notebook, pen, and an open mind. This, to me, is unimaginable. Today’s educational technology makes it a lot easier to learn, and a lot easier to cut corners.
For many students, cheating in school has become the norm. As students come up with more sophisticated and high-tech ways to cheat, teachers become better at spotting the scams– often using their own digital tools. Let the cat and mouse game begin!
Though it is no surprise that technological advancement has made cheating easier, it has actually made catching cheaters easier as well. Many schools now require students to submit their work through the anti-plagarism site Turnitin.com, which sifts through thousands of essays, literary works, and webpages to ensure that students create original work.
Some universities are experimenting with a new program called CourseSmart. It allows professors to track students’ reading progress on their E-Readers, to check if someone is skipping pages, not highlighting passages, or just not reading at all. This software, along with other tools, like panoramic cameras and face-scanners at highly secure testing centers, are just a few of the high-tech measures universities have adopted to prevent cheating.
But as educators build up their anti-cheating arsenal, the cheaters find new ways to outsmart their teachers. One of the most well-known and accessible cheating options is noneedtostudy.com, a website that says it all in the title. For $900, the company offers to take an entire online course for a student. Popular courses include organic chemistry, calculus, finance, and nursing. Other websites like onlineclasshelpers.com provide test-taking, essay-writing, and online class-taking for “working” and “extremely busy” students.
Though cheating has changed with the technology, the central issue remains: where is the integrity? In my experience, my peers don’t see cheating as a matter of right and wrong, but whether or not they’ll get caught. But the blame isn’t solely on the students or the teachers. I believe the real problem lies in the education system, where true learning is secondary to passing with the least effort. The primary objective of higher education feels like it’s no longer about creating educated people, but to create credentials. Maybe students see this technology as simply cheating a system that has cheated them too.