Why the hottest trend in online education already has a cheating problem

Tim Goral's picture

In August of 2012, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a story about a baffling phenomenon in the world of online higher education: students in a non-credit bearing MOOC (massive open online course) were cheating on the written assignments. The honest students complained about the plagiarized work they were seeing from their peers; in response the professor teaching the course gave a stern written lecture on academic dishonesty.

But the incident raised a question that educational theorists and cheating scholars have been puzzling over since: Why would a student cheat in a course in which they voluntarily enrolled, and for which they earn no tangible rewards?

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