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Faculty Resources for Online Teaching


Cheating in literature is broadly defined as the act or action of fraudulently deceiving or violating rules. Cheating in academic institutions is often referred to as academic dishonesty.

Cheating in online courses may be viewed as:

  • Use of paid (or unpaid) surrogate to complete assessment instruments
  • Unauthorized collaboration on assessments
  • Unauthorized coaching on assessments

Cheating is prevalent in education:

1999 Kliener and Lord Survey:

  • 84% of college students believe they need to cheat to get ahead in the world today
  • 90% of college students say cheaters never pay the price
  • 90% say when people see someone cheating, they don't turn them in
  • 63% of college students say it's fair for parents to help with their kids' homework
  • 20% of adults think it's fair to do it
  • Students say parental pressure (40%), peer pressure (40%), and the availability of new technology (31%) make them cheat
  • Over 90% of college students say politicians cheat often.

2004 Chapman et al. Survey:

  • 37% stated they would give answers to someone on a test
  • 67% would use a stolen copy of an exam to study for a test
  • 42% would participate in a group involved in e-cheating

"The web environment allows students to cheat much more easily, quickly, and efficiently"

(Hinman, 2000)

  • the anonymity that the Internet affords has the profoundest effects on a student's motivation to cheat
  • students who may never consider cheating in-person find the temptation to do so online too powerful to resist
  • especially students who are overwhelmed or find it difficult to balance life responsibilities

Faculty Factors

  • Pursuing cases of cheating can be complicated, time-consuming, and futile
  • There is a fear that teachers may be sued for pursuing cheaters or that administrators may not back up their professors
  • Professors who do pursue cheating allegations often complain that they feel victimized by the process
  • Professors who are evaluated based on student opinion surveys may be afraid that their students will not like them and return unfavorable responses
  • The failure of faculty to address issues of integrity sends the message to at least some that it is not an issue they care about
  • There are very little pedagogical techniques that promote academic integrity online
  • Faculty that fail to provide a clear policy with clear examples risk having students commit acts of academic dishonesty if only our of ignorance
  • Faculty have felt pressured to avoid dealing with issues of cheating out of concern for the low levels of retention that have been common to online courses

Student Factors

  • Students have less commitment to integrity in online courses
  • Questions arise of the distinction between collaboration and collusion
  • Students that hear of other students getting help on online tests are more inclined to cheat themselves as to not be disadvantaged from achieving a high GPA
  • When issues of academic honesty are no addressed, it promotes an environment of unfairness


Chapman, K., Davis, R., Toy, D., & Wright, L. (2004). Cheating: Friends and web-based exams. The Teaching Professor, 19(2), February 2005 Referenced from: Academic integrity in the business school environment: I’ll get by with a little help from my friends. Journal of Marketing Education, 26(3), 236-249.

Hinman, L. (2000). Academic integrity and the World Wide Web. 10th Annual Meeting, Center for Academic Integrity. Retrieved December 9, 2005 from

Kliener, C., & Lord, M. (1999). The cheating game. USNews and World Report November 22, 1999, Retrieved November 23, 2005 from

Trenholm, S. (2007). A review of cheating in fully asynchronous online courses: A math or fact-based course perspective. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 35(3), 281–300.

Teaching Math Online by Matthew Cheung. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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