Students have long had a reputation as swindlers and cheating is nothing new, but the digital age has brought new ways to cut corners.
Some would say that a technological paradigm shift is interacting with the culture of cheating.
Since the advent of the iPhone a decade ago, smartphones are in nearly every student’s pocket. In an age where even watches can easily access the internet, there is a strong case against academic integrity to the Google generation.
“Technology makes so much information easy to access that students can find videos, etc. to illustrate topics and make them easier to understand,” said associate professor of biology Greg Russell. “The flip side to that is because there’s so much info, it’s easy for students to plagiarize. That’s the problem I run into in over 90 percent of my academic dishonesty issues.”
For millennials, tech fluency bleeds into almost every aspect of life, including the classroom and homework.
Students at Orange Coast College admitted to using the internet for answers on homework and writing assignments as opposed to a textbook, class notes or other study materials. Some also admitted to inappropriate device usage during class.
Almost all students questioned said convenience and accessibility are the reasons they don’t put forth more effort, though every student believed technology enhances their learning when used correctly.
In fact, as one student put it, “Why bother stressing when there’s a tool that literally knows everything?”
And while students think the ease of the internet is an answer to their homework woes, instructors see it differently.
“I think the ability to Google information makes many believe that memorization isn’t necessary,” professor of mathematics Marti Hidden said in an email. “If the basic pieces aren’t in place, it is difficult to build further and do more complex reasoning.”
French professor Lia Raileanu, agreed.
“There’s no retention by just looking it up,” she said. “I must insist, insist, insist that students do not use Google translate.”
An article published by Educause, a nonprofit association aiming to inform educators about technology roles, addresses the issue of changing attitudes around academic integrity.
Raising awareness about available resources to students and making sure they understand the importance of improving skill and knowledge over a grade is the future of combating lazy, digitally enhanced cheating, the article says.
In an effort to combat cheating, Orange Coast offers a plethora of services for those seeking help or advice.
Information about academic planning and career guidance, counseling and tutoring is available on OCC’s website under the Student Services tab. These additional resources are paid for through students’ tuition and made available with the intent of propelling success.