(From Tribune News Service)
(Source: Tribune News Service)

Advances of technology bring with it many problems. One of these problems is academic honesty.

Cell phones have evolved from a device used to make a call to a fully functional computer that fits in a pocket. Testing centers at Weber State University currently have a policy in place which prevents students from using these devices during a test in order to prevent cheating.

In addition to cell phones, smart watches have recently come onto the scene. Just last spring, testing centers at WSU implemented a new policy which bans the use of these devices in testing facilities.

Brad Peterson, an instructor of computer science at Weber State University, thought that academic honesty could become a problem before he got into teaching .

“Prior to teaching I would have assumed it would be a large problem,” Peterson said. “I assumed a substantial portion of any class would use online forums or use Google so they could use other people’s work. I also assumed two students would frequently get together and  simply share assignments.”

Luckily, as he started his career, his fears were never realized.

“I’m encouraged to see this isn’t the case,” Peterson said. “They use technology  to supplement their education, not hinder it. Almost all of our students genuinely want to do their own work. ”

Peterson says that he rarely comes across cheaters.

“I only spot roughly one cheater a semester,” Peterson said.

Technology, in addition to compromising academic integrity, may also be a reason behind students who don’t do research.

William Speigle, an assistant professor at WSU, feels that technology can be a temptation for students to bypass research. However, Speigle is also aware that the wealth of information offered by the internet can be used by students as a research resource.

“Additionally, there are dozens of anti-plagiarism programs available if an instructor wants to make sure the students is using their own work,” Speigle added.

Fon Brown, an assistant professor at WSU, believes that technology can actually help students with their research by offering a faster search and a broad range of information.

“Of course the easy access to information is tempting to those students who are inclined to take shortcuts with their studies, but I don’t think the problem is any worse than it has been in the past,” Brow said. “On the whole, technology makes academic research faster and more thorough than ever before.”

Jennifer Lanzetti, an adjunct faculty in the construction management department, believes that cheating isn’t a result of the advancing technology.

“My experience from being a student for many years, and teaching the last six, is that the temptation to cheat has nothing to do with technology,” said Lanzetti. “Technology may or may not be making cheating easier but like any criminal who wants to rob a bank, if they are determined it will happen.”

WSU has a student code that can be found online, and the code has a section about what defines cheating and the course of action that will be taken for students found guilty of cheating or plagiarism.

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