I am writing this to express my concern with the rampant use of cellphones in cheating and academic dishonesty.

These devices have become a standard in today’s classrooms and I have personally witnessed them being used to cheat on tests and to take pictures of tests, quizzes and other material in my chemistry class.

Quite often these pictures are sent to other students via email who then return the favor and a cheating ring develops.

I am writing to raise awareness to this and to shine light on the complacent way teachers handle the problem.

The chemistry department has an extremely strict policy that prevents students from taking lab assignments home so materials can be used each semester.

While the data collection for these labs requires minimal effort, the calculation portions of them are challenging and time consuming. What dishonest students are doing is taking pictures of another student’s completed lab book and using them to get through the calculation portions of the lab.

While the results of the assignment factor into the grading policy, progress is also part of it. This is where the pictures come in.

Students are completing the lab assignments in half the time it takes the average student and since these classes are generally curved to meet the student who has made the most progress, it unjustly raises the bar and places the honest students at the bottom of the grading scale.

I have witnessed every single person in my proximity in my chemistry class take these types of pictures and use them to advance to the next assignment.

That is five separate individuals that I have personally seen and I am sure that number is much larger.

In fact, I have spoken with two other individuals who have the same class but different lab periods, and both of them confirmed that picture taking has become completely out of control.

As technology advances and camera phones become increasingly sophisticated, school academic policies need to be adjusted.

It is foolish to not consider what new forms of cheating are available to today’s students and I feel that the chemistry faculty at OCC is too slow to acknowledge this.

The OCC chemistry department has failed to provide me with an honest and fair classroom environment that rewards those who are willing to put forth an effort.

Something must be done to discourage this new behavior.

It is the moral duty and responsibility of this department to formulate a comprehensive and fair policy that effectively deals with this specific problem.

If OCC plans to meet the needs of future students, it must do so in a manner that protects their needs and ensures their success.

OCC must do everything within its power to maintain its academic standards and integrity.

If the issue of cellphone cheating is to be resolved, both the teachers and faculty must work together to ensure the viability of its academic honesty policies.

—Daniel Jara, student

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