WriteCheck Blog

GAO Investigation: Plagiarism Ignored In Online College Classes

According to the results of a recent investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), some college students enrolled in online classes are receiving credit for plagiarized and insufficiently completed work.

The GAO investigation consisted of enrolling GAO representatives as fictitious students at 15 different colleges in order to observe their procedures for handling several areas of interest, including “substandard academic performance”. GAO's students engaged in substandard academic performance by using one or more of the following tactics: failure to attend class, failure to submit assignments, submission of objectively incorrect assignments, submission of unresponsive assignments, and plagiarism. [1]

The results showed that eight of the 15 colleges appeared to follow existing policies related to academic dishonesty.

However, at a couple of the other colleges, instructors failed to take action against GAO students who repeatedly submitted plagiarized work; and several students received credit for plagiarized work (having blatantly copied and pasted from the school’s website and peer student discussion sites). At one college, a student received a passing grade for submitting photos of celebrities and political figures for an assignment that called for a written essay.

What do you think are the best ways to handle plagiarism in online classrooms?

Citations

[1] “For-Profit Schools: Experiences of Undercover Students Enrolled in Online Classes at Selected Colleges” October 31, 2011. U.S. Government Accountability Office. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-150

[2] Jan, Tracy. “GAO report finds cheating, plagiarism and other violations in for-profit colleges’ online classes” November 22, 2011. The Bost Globe. http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2011/11/22/gao-report-finds-cheating-plagiarism-and-other-violations-for-profit-colleges-online-classes/IjaWF9wOvLBO6WV2uGF4gN/story.html

Current Events online class plagiarism, online classroom, Plagiarism, plagiarism checker, substandard academic performance

Published on by jessicag.