Classroom cheating has taken a new digital turn. An article about a free cellphone service called ChaCha caught my eye last week. Text any question to 242242 and ChaCha promises to provide the answer to virtually any question within minutes, be it math, science, politics and even directions to the nearest café, they have the answer. Go ahead try it now!
ChaCha has a hired network of 25,000 “friends” to help anyone with any question. Imagine the possibilities, imagine the benefits…imagine the repercussions. A lot of academics are a bit alarmed that some students might use this new service for cheating in the classroom. ChaCha claims that when they created the service cheating was the last thing on their mind.
It doesn’t really matter what the service is for, I’m pretty sure they only had good intentions, the thing is it can be used for cheating, “digital cheating” that is. So what can be done? Banning cellphones seems to be out of the question. Most schools have no restriction regarding cellphone use so it’s up to the professors to lay down the law. A professor at Rowan thinks it’s no big deal, if a student wants to cheat, ChaCha is not the only way, there are what you call conventional cheating methods i.e. cheat sheets, copying from neighbors and the like. But does that mean we’ll let these students use the ChaCha service in class? Ed Burns a professor from Delaware says otherwise, if the student’s cellphone goes off inside the classroom the student is asked to leave and marked absent for the day.
Digital cheating or conventional cheating? Can you believe this? Students now have a choice! I agree with the idea that we should not focus on the source of cheating materials, or trying to put a stop in the advancement of technology, but instead make our students learn about classroom integrity, the value of NOT CHEATING. It will be much easier to teach your students not to cheat rather than to employ ways and means of protecting them from cheating temptations. We should not be alarmed that the number of students who admitted cheating digitally increased some 15%, we should be alarmed that these students had the gall to admit that they cheated.
Digital cheating is not so cool anyway, testing the ChaCha service showed that out of 6 questions it only got 3 correct answers, that’s a 50% accuracy rate. If I were you and you have racked your brain but still can’t remember the answer, take a guess, guessing it will probably give you a 50% chance that you’ll get the answer right. What’s cool is you didn’t cheat 🙂