The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Cracking down on cheating

Photo by Creative Commons

The Texas A&M Honor Office released a press statement on May 17 to announce an improvement in communication between staff and students following a large cheating scandal in a Fall 2020 online class. 

With the move to online classes and the increase of academic dishonesty across the university, the Texas A&M Honor Office, or AHSO, has worked to improve student and faculty communications.
In a May 17 press release, the AHSO reported 1,330 cases of academic misconduct since August 2020, which is up from the 621 recorded in the 2019-2020 school year, according to Director Tim Powers.
This report comes after the large cheating scandal which happened during the fall 2020 semester where students in a large online class were accused of cheating after completing assignments too quickly or leaving them untouched for a long period of time.
Powers said many of these incidents come from unclear expectations. Communication between professors and students is what AHSO believes is the driving factor behind cutting down these incidents, which starts with clear class expectations.
“Use of the terms ‘open notes’ and/or ‘open book’ could be misconstrued by students; they may mean different things in different classes,” Powers said in the press release. “Does ‘open book’ mean the use of only the course textbook, or can students seek out other material? Does ‘open notes’ mean only the handwritten notes the student has taken during class, or can they use notes from other students or from websites? Those things need to be clarified.”
Powers said this is something in which both students and faculty play a role, meaning that students should also know it is their responsibility to ask when they are unsure.
“The move to online courses due to the [COVID-19] pandemic has increased incidents of academic misconduct at universities around the nation,” Powers said. “[AHSO] helps carry the torch so Aggies understand the core value of integrity.”

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