About 150 Mizzou students facing consequences for cheating on online tests

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — Around 150 students are facing consequences at Mizzou. In the past few weeks, the University of Missouri-Columbia uncovered a number of issues with cheating. 

The more distance students have from the classroom may prove to allow more opportunities for a student to cheat. Liz McCune with the university said fellow students turned the groups into faculty.

“The incidents occurred in large lectures, and it was exams in which they were sharing the answers,” McCune said. 

She said students were using GroupMe, a texting app for large groups. The students shared images and screenshots of answers in three separate large lecture course online tests.

At Johnson County Community College, they use test-taking software in controlled browsers. L. Michael McCloud, the vice president of academic affairs, said the browsers can record students as they take the tests and even notified officials if they are moving in a deceptive manner.

“It could be something as much as a deviation outside of the field that would cover the screen, which would catch you kind of glancing at a second screen off camera. Looking down in such a way that that it would mimic the looking down into into a cell phone or a smaller screen below one for you know, more than 10 or 15 seconds,” McCloud said.

Park University also uses some browser control software, and along with JCCC, they try to make questions more unique to answer. Brian Shawver, Park’s associate provost for teaching and learning, said using more of an essay format makes it difficult to replicate.

“It’s not just anti-cheating. It’s good teaching … to create authentic assessments, so tests and quizzes in especially in online courses, that are really individualized to allow that student to show that they’ve achieved the learning outcomes. And that’s in a way that’s not very easy to replicate or to copy,” Shawver said.

“A student has to be able to show that not only can they find the appropriate answer, but how can they mobilize that knowledge? How do they use it? How do they understand it connecting to other things that they’ve learned both in the class and in their greater education,” McCloud said.

Both administrators said they try to ensure students are able to succeed by helping with resources so they don’t get to a place where they feel the need to cheat.

“We think most students want to be people of integrity, and they’re getting their education for a reason. They don’t want to skimp on it. It’s just that they feel this enormous pressure. And so what we want them to do is know what resources are available,” Shawver said.

“When you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself. If you’re not putting in the time to learn the material, that’s an opportunity. You have cheated yourself out of learning,” McCune said.

Mizzou wouldn’t comment on how many students who were caught faced specific consequences.

Both Park University and JCCC said they get around 100 instances of cheating per semester and haven’t seen an uptick since the pandemic started. They have consequences that range based on the circumstance from a verbal warning to a student being expelled.

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