Many of us whose job it is to educate young minds do it because we think it's important and because we want to make a real difference in the world. In fact, in some cases we decide to teach even at the expense of personal well-being and practical benefits. Trust me, I'm not an academic for the chicks or for the money...
So it is especially disheartening, though hardly surprising, when we discover that students cheat, in tests, papers and projects. And with exponential advances in technology and access to information and resources, this trend of dishonesty is metastasizing out of control. Here is a recent chilling article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, for instance, that confirms what many of us already know and detest.
What students don't seem to realize, however, is that we weren't born yesterday. Whatever they think they know, we know better. And without divulging many secrets, we have accumulated over time many tools, strategies and abilities for making sure that our students' grades ultimately reflect their own performance and not someone else's.
They also don't seem to be smart enough to realize that the same technological advances that allow them to think they can cheat are in many cases the very same tools that instructors can use to detect them... Case in point:
Before cheating, they should look up anosognosia.
Unfortunately, messages like this usually fall on deaf ears. No matter how much I talk to and warn my own students not to be intellectually dishonest, there's not a single semester that goes by without a few schmucks trying to get away with cheating, only to cry me a river once they've been caught.
I never humiliate anyone in public, but I'm starting to wonder whether that might be a deterrence strategy worth trying...