Why Do Students Cheat in Online Classes?

Posted by
Jeff Black On Aug 3 , 2016


As more and more students enroll in online classes because of its flexibility and affordability, the debate about whether it’s too easy to cheat intensifies. Do online classes really encourage students to cheat? Does the platform make it easy for students to cheat? Academic dishonesty isn’t confined to the eLearning platform alone. It has always been happening. So why are online students tempted to hire a tutor to do their homework for them?

• Stress of getting good grades:

Grades affect employability and are thus very important. What if we played down the importance of grades, and concentrated on the learning process? The idea is to get the student understand that he too is involved in the process. This would give him little reason to cheat. Colleges can create real world situations and get students to apply their knowledge when answering questions. An independent study found that students are more likely to cheat in an online quiz rather than essays. Rather than having to memorize the subject, essay questions allow students to express their opinion. But until that happens, students won’t mind asking “Can I pay someone to take my online class?”

• There’s not much explanation on the consequences of cheating:

A social experiment by Dan Ariely found that students who had signed an honor code were less likely to cheat. You don’t really have to go as far as adopting an honor code, but you can get students to cheat less simply by explaining the concept of cheating in detail. Tell students what constitutes cheating, explain the consequences of cheating, and take action against those that cheat. The last point is specifically important because instructors very rarely enforce penalties for cheaters.

• The course is boring:

This seems silly, because it’s the students who choose their. But not everyone taking online classes are in it for learning. Some are doing it solely for certification so they can get the job they want. That means that they don’t care about the content of the class while they’re taking it and are only looking ahead to the finish line. They cheat because the ends justify the means.

• Time:

Often students enroll in online courses because they cannot afford to quit work and study full-time. Naturally, time is a challenge in online courses – but they’re rarely warned about this. The general belief is that online courses are easy and not as intensive as traditional classes. With very little time to spare, too many assignments to complete, and a huge pressure to score well, students resort to cheating.