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The Impact of Technology on the Proliferation of Cheating

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Digital Technologies Influence on Academic Dishonesty

The internet is an astonishing invention that makes our lives much easier. In modern times, everything is attached to digital technology and nothing works without it. This is increasingly true when discussing education and learning. The internet, more specifically has many convenient functions that help students, such as: saving time, and easy access to a plethora of information. The New York Times article “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age”, author Trip stated: “Writing is not easy, it takes a lot of time and effort from the students, so students use the technology to save their effort and their time” (Trip, page 1, para. 32). Although we are responsible for such creations of technology, they are significantly affecting us in numerous ways. Because of technology, many native and international students as well have the capacity to cheat on written papers and exams as well. Because of online technologies, such as the internet, more and more students are choosing the easy way out and cheating.

In recent years, t students aren’t using their brains, they are becoming very lazy and depending on the internet for everything. Students are using the internet for solutions, calculator, synonyms of words, and many simplistic things that their brains could easily formulate. The development of the internet has increased academic dishonesty around the world. Academic dishonesty is a type of cheating that contains plagiarism too. Plagiarism is defined as claiming other words as one’s own. This can be done in numerous ways. From hiring individuals to do work for you, to glancing at your phone during an exam. Deep down, all parties are aware that this is wrong, however, international students more so than natives are under a lot of stress, and resort to cheating just to pass along. Although everyone knows that plagiarism is wrong and has its consequences, many students have worked to hard to fail. And sometimes cheating is simply their only option. This is especially true for international students, because many times teachers share the same expectations between them and English as first language students.

My peer and I created a survey on January 31, 2018 on twelve international students in Temple University to see how technology influences academic misconduct. The first question was, “how does technology effect plagiarism”? four of these students agreed that cheating has become easier because it saves their time. The other eight students agreed that the outside sources are not fully provided by the author name. The second question was if plagiarism is normal in academic settings? To which six of the students claimed that in fact it is a normal tendency. Many feel this way, because they have gotten away with cheating previously, so they have become adapted and uncensored to it now. The other three students claimed that the consequences of cheating are not very severe, so they don’t feel it is that big of a problem. And lastly, the other three claimed that cheating is immoral and not normal. The next question was if plagiarism allowed in their native countries, eight of them answered with yes, but the other four answered with no. From this survey it is revealed to us that a majority of the students believe that cheating is fine.

Students cheat for numerous reasons, such as; to get a higher grades and better GPA’s. They don’t think of the risks and the consequences, they just do it. Nasser & Razek (2014) stated an example of this in his article academic integrity, that one of his international students would pay anything to get her back into her country with good grades (Razek page,150). However, cheating doesn’t make people winners but just the opposite; they will always feel that regret inside them, it’s human instinct. Even if students receive high GPA’s from cheating, their degrees will mean very little, since someone else earned it for them. Nothing in the world comes easily and without hard work no one deserves the reward. However, many students do not see the underlying issues and complexities of cheating, which the survey has backed up.

Amongst these consequences is the chance of getting caught, being unprepared for one’s future career, and obviously cheating yourself. Despite the numerous consequences, there are also many other associated with academic dishonesty. Surprisingly, students are more concerned about other qualities, rather than harming people in the future due to not fully knowing their majors. This is especially relevant to medical fields. One could really harm someone if they did not do their work themselves. Not to mention, that the consequences for cheating are not severe at all. In most cases, the student receives a warning. However, some teachers have absolutely no exception to cheating, and will fail the student for the semester. Even with that being said, students are very confident that they will not be caught when cheating and go along with it anyways. And the internet makes that very easy for them to do just that. In academic integrity, Razek, had an example of a student who copied a research paper from the internet and got caught. According to the author :“[s]he told me that she should have sent me to the Legal Affairs Department but she will forgive me as it is my first time to do it on the condition that I redo the assignment”( Razek, page148). This quote reveals that the punishments for cheating are taken very lightly. The student knew that what they did was wrong and should have been failed. Logically thinking, why would students not cheat, if teachers don’t care when they do?

There are many social and academic pressures that help explain why students cheat. Although, international students tend to cheat more, American students have admitted to cheating as well. Some of the reasons for this is that students are under a lot of pressure from their families, and if international, from their government as well. To be eligible for scholarship, GPA’s must remain high. Since many of students cannot afford to pay for school, these scholarships are necessary. Not only is it difficult to learn a second language, but to learn and write in that language is another struggle on its own. Teachers expect the same quality work from international students as they would any other student. Which I know from personal experience. Instructors need to be more understanding of the difficulties of having English as a second language. The work that is given is also at times overwhelming and irrational. What may take an American student half an hour to complete assignments, could take an international student several hours.

In conclusion, it is never acceptable to cheat no matter what. Its fine if the person fails as my writing professor Carolina Mavgeri always say, “It’s not the end of the world if you fail.” Razek also suggests that individuals can discuss issues openly with their teachers if they are struggling. Teachers, in some cases do need to be more understanding and patient with international students. They are already under a lot of stress and face extreme homesickness. Most of them are here alone, and don’t have many friends or family either. I feel that fewer students would cheat if teacher’s expectations of them were lowered. Until one tries to or learns another language, they cannot see the difficulties of such. Cheating has illegal implications and could lead to numerous negative consequences as discussed throughout this essay.

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