© onlinecollege.org, 2012

onlinecollege.org has produced this interesting infographic: Do Online Students Cheat More Often?, comparing cheating online with cheating in class.

My interpretation of their results is slightly different from online college.org. They report a higher proportion of online students admitting to cheating, but the difference is just 0.6% (31.7% to 31.1%) on a sample of 635 students, which I would guess is pretty much a no significant difference statistically, more due to chance, or at best not a meaningful difference.

More interesting was that classroom students were almost twice as likely to be caught – but again the numbers actually caught are low (less than 5%).

There is a useful set of tips on how to prevent cheating in online courses. The only one I would add is the use of an Internet plagiarism detector tool such as turnitin.com. Just the threat of using it I found stopped a lot of cutting and pasting from the Internet without proper referencing, although that has subsequently been somewhat offset by their own software showing students how to avoid being caught (Writecheck). (Sorry, ‘inadvertently’ copying from the Internet – yeah, right). This enables students to change the copying just enough not to get caught – pretty much what academics do at times, as well.

Overall, though, a very useful infographic from onlinecollege.org – and thanks to them for permission to reproduce it (phew – I was nearly guilty myself.)


  1. One of the reasons that it is more feasible to cheat while taking online courses is because students can get by with no relationship with their instructor. Therefore, it is a lot harder for an instructor to detect work that sounds worded suspiciously like someone else.


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