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10 Ways To Get Accused of Online Cheating

By October 5, 2020September 25th, 2023No Comments

Online learning has become all the rage recently.

Although the style of online classes is different from that of the traditional classroom, some of its practices have found their way into the online world. And not all these practices are of the good kind.

Cheating in class is not an uncommon event in the traditional classroom. It therefore comes as no surprise that the habit is also present in online classes. But just as cheaters get caught in class, you can also get caught if you’re cheating online.

But while it’s easier to cheat in online classes it is also easier to be wrongly accused of cheating.

How students cheat in online classes

Students have learned to grow with the times. As such, various ways to cheat in online tests have developed over time. 

#1. Mobile Phones

Students could use their mobile phones to use online resources like Chegg and Google to search for the answers on the internet, and assist other test-takers by sending answers to test questions as well as store answers. The invention of the incognito mode feature also helps the cheater avoid the risk of discovery when browsing for answers.

#2. Screen sharing software

When a student is given an exam from remote locations, the student can use numerous monitors to enable another person to access the exam questions at the same time. This other person can then provide answers to the questions.

#3. Impersonation

Online examinations may generally not have supervisors. A student can, therefore, decide to have another person take the test on their behalf. 

#4. Electronic Gadgets

People have begun creating high-tech devices that can be used to cheat in online tests. These devices include:

  • Calculators that can save formulas and other information
  • Micro earpieces
  • Spy eyeglasses
  • Undetectable smartwatches 

#5. Auto-Coding Software

Some students use auto-coding software that enables them to pass programming exams without writing a single line of code.

Systems that have been put in place to monitor online cheating

Schools have desperately turned to numerous systems for combatting online cheating.  But all of these systems have their flaws and many make false accusations against students more likely to happen.

Some of these systems include:

#1. Online ID authentication

If the school is using this system, you will be asked to take a picture of yourself and your ID and send it across. This happens once you click on the exam link. But this does nothing to really protect against actual impersonation as no one is going to ask someone who does not look anything like them to display their picture ID and submit it – on the other hand this system is less likely to result in false accusations.

#2. Secure Exam Browser

This browser allows the school to define the apps and sites that are allowed before the exam. As such, if you try using another program that is not permitted by the browser, the system automatically shuts down.

This means you can’t search for answers online or use screen sharing software.  But students get accused of cheating even when using these systems because their professors or schools may simply find their answers suspiciously similar to other student answers or too “good” for the student’s ability.

#3. Auto-Proctoring

The proctoring software verifies your identity and monitors your behavior before and during the exam using audio and video recording. The live webcam proctors will also monitor you to see if you look at notes or books. This system means that you’ll get caught if someone else tries to take the test for you.  But it also means that looking away from the webcam or background voices or noises can cause you to be falsely accused of cheating.

#4. Plagiarism detection software

This software searches the web and identifies if the data is entered by the student comes from anywhere else on the internet. But you could write books about the problems with these systems like Turnitin – let’s just start with one example:  You cannot write about the American Revolution without saying it happened in 1776.  Turnitin will count that as a “hit” for plagiarism because a few other people have also written that.  Enough said for now.

#5. Other mechanisms

There are various other technical mechanisms that schools use to monitor online cheating, including:

  • Fingerprint identification
  • Iris recognition
  • Keystroke recognition devices, and more

Each of these can be implemented depending on the network infrastructure and funding of the school.  But none of these protect the student from being falsely accused.

What do I do if I’ve been accused of online cheating?

The consequences of cheating online are just as severe as they are for cheating in the regular classroom. And although it may not look like it, various institutions have put in place different mechanisms to prevent online cheating. If you’ve been accused of online cheating, you need to get in touch with our attorneys at DC Student Defense as soon as possible.

Shan Wu

Author Shan Wu

Shan’s professional and personal background gives him a unique understanding of academic institutions and the criminal justice system. A former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., he is at home in D.C. Courts and very familiar with all of the Washington, D.C. law enforcement agencies, especially the Metropolitan Police Department. His parents were university professors so he grew up in a university environment. He understands the mindset of academic institutions. As a prosecutor, he supervised in the misdemeanor crime section. This is the section of the Washington, D.C. prosecutor’s office that handles most college student cases. His understanding of charging decisions and how judges view these cases is invaluable to his student clients and their families. Shan served as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for over ten years. During his tenure there, now Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. appointed him to supervisory positions in the Misdemeanor Trial Section and also in a police corruption task force. His outstanding legal work in the government was recognized through numerous Special Achievement Awards from the Justice Department as well as awards conveyed by law enforcement agencies and community groups. From 1999-2000, Shan served as Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, advising her on criminal and civil investigations, E-Gov, E-Commerce (electronic signatures, internet gambling, internet telephony, privacy & public access issues in electronic court filings), congressional oversight, and legislative review. His responsibilities included serving as liaison to the FBI, DEA, Criminal Division, Executive Office of United States Attorneys, National Institute of Justice, and White House Counsel’s Office. Shan serves on the D.C. Bar Association’s Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility and is a past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association for the Greater Washington, D.C. area. He is a 1988 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated Order of the Barristers, edited two law reviews, and was Co-Director of the Moot Court Program. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Vassar College as well as a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Following law school, he clerked for the late Hon. Jerry Buchmeyer, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and the late Eugene Wright, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and Connecticut.

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