Learning online honestly. Is cheating becoming part of the ‘new normal’ in education?

Mar 20, 2021

2 min

David Rettinger

The emergence of COVID-19 has seen almost every segment of society and traditional institution in America have to pivot drastically to sustain and carry on, especially the educational system. And as students across America had to log on and learn remotely in the last year, occurrences of cheating are trending upwards.

It’s a phenomenon that is getting a lot of attention and University of Mary Washington Psychology Professor David Rettinger, an expert on academic integrity, is getting a lot of calls from media about it.

Roughly a year after college campuses were evacuated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, academic integrity remains an issue for students and professors alike. With professors struggling to curb rampant cheating during online exams and students wrestling with the often confusing and stressful realities of online learning, the college classroom has never been more tense… Teen Vogue has spoken with academics and students to learn more about what kind of cheating is happening during remote learning, and what they think should be done about it.

University battles with help sites have peaked during the COVID-19 crisis, but the root of the problem has been years in the making. “I call it a game of whack-a-mole,” says David Rettinger, president emeritus of the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) and director of academic integrity at the University of Mary Washington. New sites are constantly rising in popularity, he explains, making it harder for professors to prevent students from seeking answers online, especially now. March 04 – Teen Vogue

And how even the most respected of institutions like West Point are handling these cases have also seen Rettinger’s expert perspective sought out to explain.

“Expulsion flies in the face of everything we understand about the psychology of ethical and moral behavior,” Rettinger said.

That’s partly because the section of the brain that makes you feel “icky” when you do something wrong isn’t fully developed until around age 23 to 26 — after college is over.

Rettinger said rehabilitation seems in line with West Point’s mission — to instill the values of duty, honor and country.

“That doesn't necessarily mean weeding people out who are imperfect, because we're all imperfect,” Rettinger said. “That means taking the best cadets we can and turning them into the best officers they can be, which means teaching them. And if there's no opportunity for redemption, what are we really teaching?” March 08 – NPR

The concept of cheating and how schools are handling it is an emerging issue in America. And if you are a journalist looking to cover this subject, then let us help with your stories.

Dr. David Rettinger is available to speak with media regarding this issue of cheating and academic integrity. Simply click on his icon now to arrange an interview today.

Connect with:
David Rettinger

David Rettinger

Professor and Director of Academic Integrity Programs

Dr. Rettinger is an internationally recognized expert on academic integrity.

Psychology of Student CheatingAcademic Integrity PolicyTeaching and Learning for Academic IntegrityFaculty DevelopmentInstitutional Assessment of Academic Integrity

You might also like...

Check out some other posts from University of Mary Washington

2 min

Oh, Ozempic … Is THIN Back In?

After decades of what seemed like progress away from the obsession for “wellies” and “thigh gaps” the thin-is-in mentality seems to be creeping back into the spotlight to weigh on women’s minds – especially on social media. Channeling the renewed fascination with and focus on slimness, University of Mary Washington Assistant Professor of Communication Emily Crosby, and Associate Professors of Communication Adria Goldman and Elizabeth Johnson-Young, presented a talk titled "Social Media and the Changing Current of Health Messaging and Debates." Crosby's presentation, "Ozempic is Cheating!: Articulating a Digital Turn in Diet Culture," looks at the discourse surrounding Ozempic on social media. Employing feminist rhetorical criticism, Crosby analyzes posts and commentary to identify themes and conventions of analog and digital diet culture. This research articulates the digital turn in the "cult of thinness," to expose how medical injectable weight loss drugs undermine the body positive movement by invoking clinical technology as ethos. Goldman's presentation, "#SocialSupport: Examining the Informative and Emotional Functions of Bariatric Surgery Support Groups on Facebook," investigates the functions of digital support groups in assisting with mental well-being and emotional regulation for people considering, undergoing or recuperating from weight loss surgery. This research examines Facebook’s ability to function as both an informative and emotional resource for the bariatric surgery community. Johnson-Young's presentation, "Sugar, Snacks and Weight: An Examination of Posts and Parent Reactions to the Challenges of Nutritional Health Norms on the Growing Intuitive Eaters Instagram," examined posts and comments on an influencer's account. The research is rooted in both health behavior theory and non-evaluative and trust-based communication around food and nutrition. Preliminary findings show a variety of themes regarding reactions to the influencer's posts, from anger and resistance to relief and excitement. Weight loss, wellness and the enormous amount of attention this topic is getting has journalists looking for answers.  And if you're covering or are looking to know more - we can help. All three University of Mary Washington experts are available to speak with media - simply click on an icon now to arrange an interview today.

1 min

Where Will Millennials Take Us?

They’ve been described as entitled, self-centered and shallow. “Selfie-stick wielding, ‘KeepingUp with the Kardashians’-watching, soft-in-the-middle whiners” – Psychology Today. Worldwide, though, millennials (to whom also are attributed awesome characteristics like adaptability and creativity) are 1.8 billion strong, the most populated age group in modern history. And they’re soon to be our political, economic and social leaders. Where will they take us? How will their views shape our world? Jared McDonald’s new book, Citizens of the World, Political Engagement and Policy Attitudes of Millennials Across the Globe, uses data to examine this generation, born into technology, the “war on terror,” global interconnectedness and high unemployment. Published by Barnes & Noble in October 2022, the text looks at millennials’ attitudes about lifestyle, family life, gender roles, politics, religion and the future to better understand how governance might change under their leadership … and the influence they already wield. Millennials are a hot topic ... and for better or worse always in the news it seems as journalists, employers, parents and even professors work to figure this generation out. And if you'd like to know more - that where we can help. Published author and Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Jared McDonald is available to speak with media - simply click on his icon now to arrange an interview today.

1 min

Civil Rights Trail Reveals Series of Never-Before-Heard Stories

This past February, during Black History Month, the City of Fredericksburg – known for its pivotal role in the Civil War – unveiled a civil rights trail: “Freedom, a Work in Progress.” Years in the making, the three-mile trail guides participants through the city’s post-Civil War history, including several stops on the UMW campus, tying together a saga of persecution and peril, power and promise. It chronicles court rulings and protests from the Jim Crow era to the Black Lives Matter movement, drawing together never-before-heard testimonies of the people and places that helped shape the civil rights narrative. “I can’t even begin to describe to you what a fantastic day this is for … our Black community,”  Chris Williams, Assistant Director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center said during the February unveiling. Featuring Virginia historical markers – the second of which is set to be unveiled during this year’s Juneteenth commemoration – the trail brings to public consciousness the struggle for everyday freedoms, justice and equality inherent with being a Black American. If you are interested in learning more about Black History in Virginia - then let us help. Chris Williams,  Assistant Director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center is available to speak with media.  Simply email him at cwilli27@umw.edu or contact: Lisa Chinn Marvashti, Media and Public Relations at University of Mary Washington lchinn@umw.edu to arrange an interview today.

View all posts