Universities must stop cheating students, and it starts with investing in them - Rebecca Awdry

 College students steal. For decades, researchers from around the world have reported on the types and prevalence of cheating. However, recently, and particularly after the epidemic, there has been growing, and understandable, worry about cheating and the damage it poses to the integrity of higher education.

There are more opportunities for students to fabricate papers because to the growth of "contract cheating," where bespoke essays and projects can be purchased online.

Businesses that provide "study support" use a variety of business structures. They are predators who portray themselves as legitimate "help" for students while using deceptive marketing strategies.

For the first time, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency has exercised its authority to restrict academic cheating websites. The organization blacklisted 40 websites that had roughly 450,000 monthly visits.

Although this is a good step forward, it doesn't deal with the nuanced causes of student cheating. Additionally, it ignores the surge in cheating using alternative strategies. Students are more likely to receive a phony assignment from friends, relatives, or other students than from websites, according to my own research.

This is not meant to diminish Teqsa's efforts, which go further than those of other organizations of a similar nature in other nations in combating cheating. However, the issue goes much deeper than a few websites, and any remedy must address the reason why students cheat.

Higher education has been set up in numerous ways that make the issue worse, particularly in Australia. The quantity of attention tutors can give pupils has decreased as a result of inadequate resources. Additionally, it implies that academics will have a harder time catching plagiarism.

Many students experience external pressure to earn a degree. Some people experience pressure at home or at work, which increases their propensity to cheat.

Others are struggling financially, which makes them more prone to use websites that promise "assistance" with their homework.

We require a more comprehensive approach to dealing with integrity than simply shutting down websites in light of the growth in contract cheating.

Many university efforts to date to combat cheating have been haphazard, patchwork, and resource-dependent. The result will also depend on how much money colleges are willing to put toward solving the issue. Presently, it doesn't appear that there is a desire to solve the structural problems that make cheating possible, such lengthening the time that academics have to evaluate students' work.

Universities should consider changing their courses to make them more interesting for students and to help them feel a connection to their education.

We must address the issue of why cheating is not being caught. Students who openly admit to outsourcing their work rarely claim to have been busted. This is quite concerning.

It is possible to detect. However, most universities have a tendency to rely on software or individual tutors for detection, who are once again limited by the time allotted for their marking duties. There is no incentive for pupils to refrain from cheating when there are few or ineffective detection methods.

What research (often their own) is telling them is that current academic systems are falling behind. Having worked in the industry for almost two decades, I have witnessed some big developments to combat cheating, but they are typically hampered by financial limitations.

Otherwise, universities run the risk of weakening the integrity of our entire higher education system. Universities must be prepared to invest in this issue.

Integrity needs to be improved, and it needs to be improved quickly.

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