Remember the old adage; if you cheat in school, you ultimately cheat yourself? So, what exactly is cheating? Generally speaking, it’s when someone plagiarizes material, fabricates false data or citations, lies to an instructor to gain an academic advantage, or simply copies someone’s answers on a test. Call it academic dishonesty. Because the Internet is a vast and powerful tool (coupled with the ease-of-use a computer provides in accessing and copying material), the question of academic integrity in online education has attracted attention from time to time.
For example, check out pro tennis player, Serena William’s cheeky postgame interview at the 2011 US Open (starting at the 37 second mark). She jokes that she hopes her sister, Venus would take her online classes for her because, “she’s really smart.” It’s funny. And yes, there sometimes persists the misnomer that academic dishonesty occurs more frequently with online learning than in traditional classrooms. However, the reality is that when cheating occurs, it’s at all levels of education, in the classroom and online. Here’s an interesting Academic Cheating Fact Sheet provided by the Ad Council.
Look, it’s simple. Online education does provide convenience at a distance, but you’ll find that there are more people who are self-disciplined and truly dedicated to lifelong learning than not. The advantages of online learning, particularly at American Public University, is that students are taught by scholar-practitioners, many who are distinguished leaders working in their fields. The curriculum they teach is assessed constantly and updated based on guidance from industry advisory councils. We’re talking about successful leaders who are at the top of their game. The knowledge and experience online academic programs impart is meant to help students develop important, lifelong skills that could impact their professional abilities. So, why would anyone want to cut corners and pass up these great educational opportunities?
In this day and age when online education is closely tied to professional development and designed to prepare graduates for real-world implementation, that old adage may be even truer. Besides, not all of us have smarter big sisters.
By J. Thompson
Online Learning Tips Staff