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Online Misconduct

How Can My Professor Tell I am Cheating with Online Resources?

By March 29, 2021April 6th, 2022No Comments

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, students and professors have all had to adapt to online teaching and learning. Among the many challenges that this adjustment has presented is the increased specter of online cheating.

As the opportunity for students to cheat or plagiarize has increased, so too has the opportunity for professors to accuse their students of cheating without proof. But sometimes, professors can tell when their students are cheating.

At DC Student Defense, we represent students who have been accused of all kinds of offenses, and we know how this works.

Here are 4 common ways for professors to monitor their students during exams, and what to do if you find yourself accused of cheating.

4 Ways Professors Monitor their Students

Many of these programs have been around for years, but have seen increased use because of the increase in online teaching and learning during the pandemic.

All of them have their pros and cons, but they all provide professors with the opportunity to accuse their online students of cheating.

  • Online proctoring: This method can either involve automated proctoring programs that monitor your behavior through your webcam, or a live proctor who watches the class through their webcams in person. Automated programs can be unreliable, and often identify innocent behavior as signs of cheating.
  • Identity authentication programs: These programs can range from sending in a picture of yourself, to keystroke recognition, and even to scanning your fingerprint before taking an exam. These tend to be effective deterrents against impersonation, although they do little to prevent other types of cheating, and they can be costly for the school.
  • Secure exam browsers: One of the most common deterrents against online cheating involves the student downloading a software onto their computer that will control what windows they can open and what they can access through their browser. These programs can also monitor the student’s computer activity.
  • Plagiarism detection software: This is the most universally-used method of monitoring students for online cheating, and is often used for in-person classes as well. These programs scan the students’ essays or written work and compare it to data from the internet to see if any sections of the students’ work were plagiarized. These softwares are also notoriously unreliable.

What should I do if I am accused of online cheating

Despite your best efforts to comply with all of your professors’ rules, you may still find yourself in a situation where you’ve been accused of cheating.

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself against academic consequences.

  • First of all, read through your official accusation carefully to make sure you understand everything that you’re being accused of, and that you’re familiar with your school’s guidelines for pursuing cheating accusations.
  • Next, make sure you don’t talk to anyone at your school about the accusations– especially the professor. Don’t try to argue with them or defend yourself without first talking to an attorney.
  • Finally, you’ll want to contact a student defense attorney who has experience defending students against accusations of cheating. These attorneys will know exactly what evidence you’ll need to gather to support your side, and how to defend your rights from being violated by your university.

Contact a Student Defense Attorney in DC Today

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new dilemmas for students and professors alike, and one of the most common of these is accusations of cheating. Fortunately, DC Student Defense is here to help.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

These materials have been prepared by Cohen Seglias for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

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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