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Online Teaching and Cheating Made Easy

We Take Your Online Class! We Do Your Homework, Tests, Classes For You!

What needs to be written about the above link and dozens more like it?

Online and distance education are at least slightly more prone to cheating, and I wonder if they are not significantly more prone to dishonestly than their traditional and hybrid counterparts.

Students have been able to purchase papers for as long as instructors have assigned papers. We all know that friends "help" each other, and sometimes even parents help compose a paper. Yet, buying a paper reveals a complete misunderstanding of the purpose of an education.

Now, we have to deal with students buying class attendance. Forget cheating on tests or buying papers, students aren't even attending the online lectures. Cheating is bad enough, but at least if you were in a classroom there was a chance (maybe only a slight chance) that you would learn something. You might hear one new idea, one inspiring comment. Something.

Online degree programs are too often perceived as a path to a credential — a piece of paper that is no better than a tollroad pass. It lets you move a little faster along the career path. Paying someone to wait in the toll lane for you? That's viewed as no big deal because students don't think of college as a learning experience. It is merely a product, purchased to enhance the career. It's like buying a suit for the job interviews.

I meet few people who view online education as a way to broaden themselves and learn about life, and those rare students are usually in special circumstances, unable to attend a traditional course. We've reduced education — both traditional and online — to this expressway pass, when it should be and could be so much more.

In the next few days, I plan to write about when online is better and what traditional and hybrid instructors could learn from fully-online courses done right. But, an effective online course won't matter if society doesn't view education as more than a screening item for job interviews.

No wonder so many employers now want pre-employment tests and proof of skills. People can buy degrees via the online degree mills or they can even have someone take courses from respected online programs. What a sad situation.


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