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If you happened to walk through Mantor hall in the past few weeks, you may have noticed something unusual... read more

Cheaters never prosper: Technology makes cheating easier for students, harder for professors to catch
Travis Schott
Antelope Staff
Photo from Internet
Students can simply turn the ringers off on their cell phones and text answers to one another or snap photos of exams with cell phone cameras to pass along to classmates.

One would hope university students hold fast to a certain level of academic integrity and resist the temptation to cheat. It is safe to assume most professors would agree, but should they?

The old-school methods of wearing long-sleeved shirts to record those historical facts or hard-to-remember algebra formulas have long been extinct. Passing notes to classmates in order to assist on a test or leaning over your neighbor’s shoulder to sneak a peek have become archaic, borderline prehistoric cheating methods. Professors and teachers now contend with a new adversary on the front lines of the cheating war: technology.

Despite the countless academic benefits of technology, it also has the potential to lure students into taking the easy way out. Recent articles found in The Wall Street Journal and the Detroit Free Press have reported more and more students utilize technology to gain an advantage in the classroom. Students can simply turn the ringers off on their cell phones and text answers to one another or snap photos of exams to pass along to classmates.
iPods, Zunes and other MP3 players can be easily concealed and employed to download formulas, historical facts, answers and definitions, even study guide answers.

Other devices like 3G phones and the iPod touch that are capable of accessing the Internet and are certainly hard to resist when students come across a question for which they can’t recall the answer.

Apparently it is not just students who are willing to go to such extreme lengths to attain that academic advantage; some parents are even condoning the activity.  The New York Times recently published stories about parents throughout New York who are compensating “professional test takers” to take SAT and ACT exams for their children in order to ensure their acceptance into prestigious universities.

Professors at UNK often request that cell phones, iPods and other advanced electronics be removed from students’ desktops prior to exams, but not all do.

Assistant professor of mathematics Dr. Pari Ford said, “I don’t allow any cell phones, advanced graphing calculators capable of storing information or other electronic devices during quizzes or exams.”  Ford went on to say,

“It would be difficult for students in my classes to cheat, but I’m sure in some larger intro level courses it would not be as hard.”

Some UNK students agree. Mark Rauert, a senior history and philosophy major from Grand Island, said, “I know in many of my current upper-level courses, it would be nearly impossible to cheat; however, I do believe it wouldn’t be too difficult in intro-level courses, especially those with a high number of students.”

UNK has a strict Academic Integrity Policy in place that warns against plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty, but there's nothing regarding the use of technological devices. Perhaps the administration should consider a revision.

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