Is cheating in college the new norm?

It could be time for the idea of “homework” to end because let’s face it, even pre-ChatGPT everyone cheats. GroupMe chat rooms, screenshots, etc.

The only way around this is in-person proctoring examinations (considered to be “homework”) that requires students to lock away cell phones.

Otherwise, these AI technologies are inevitably going to be able to answer any question that ever exists.

I don’t think any of this is really new. I mean, all of my assignments were online a decade ago at UH. WolframAlpha was already a thing, and Chegg was directly advertising to us through the bookstore. Groups of students in my classes unabashedly took exams together in the library. Even with essays, you could always just pay someone to write it for you. All ChatGPT really does is make that faster and more affordable. (Let the record (here meaning my garbage-tier GPA) show that I personally did not cheat, but only because I didn’t care enough to.)

I think it’s important for professors to realize that (especially for in-major college courses) the old model of exams and homework is pretty badly outmoded, and has been for a while now. It’s hilariously easy to “cheat,” but even beyond that, if you can “cheat” to get the homework done within reasonable time constraints, is it really cheating? Students are going to have access to WolframAlpha and ChatGPT for the rest of their lives; nearly every job that require a college degree is performed sitting at a computer where they can Google whatever they need, whenever they need it. In that regard, I think it’s critical for the modern student to be skilled in asking questions, rather than answering them. In my experience, that’s better-facilitated by project-based learning, presentations, etc., rather than by more traditional exams and homework.

Even in my time at UH we had open book tests. How much easier can they make it?

See, in my experience, open-book/open-note exams were always way harder than their closed-book equivalents. It meant the professor could throw whatever they wanted at you, and the answer usually required synthesizing information in the book rather than just recalling it.


I see a lot of issues with moral compasses. Not just the young.

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At the engineering college ALL of my exams were in person and many were video recorded to prevent cheating…

Also, I had profs that ran our code assignments through parsers to see if people used the same logic, coded the same throughout each line, same variable names, etc…

Many people were expelled/put on probation through the EE college when I went there…

When I went to school the professor would leave the room while we took the exam. Still no one would cheat.

“CHATGPT, write me a 1500 word essay about the annexation of Puerto Rico.” Take that and tweak it some to make it less likely to trigger some kind of cheating algorithm your professor might be using. There you go A level essay with 25% of the traditional effort. If I’m in college today I’m probably looking into something like this. Market efficiency. Yes, it appears cheating or more broadly shortcuts from traditional methods aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. In the end I’m a huge fan of in person, essay/long form style testing. Here’s a topic or math problem- write out in class everything you know about it and/or write out the solution for a math problem. Can’t cheat that so easy and knowledge is easily assessed with some effort by professors and TAs.

Tried that, actually – it’s hard to get ChatGPT to spit out more than about 300 words.

In American History they had long form essay along with multiple choice. My girlfriend copied off me for multiple choice but I prepped her every which way on Federalism which I knew would be an essay question. She got a B after failing it before meeting me.

3 years later Ronald Reagan was running for President with the slogan "The New Federalism ". She asked me “what’s Federalism?”

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Well, I mean, you still had to study for the test, its not like you could just go in cold turkey. I think it was even open note tests.

I certainly do not think everyone cheats; many may, but many don’t. I would certainly hope my doctor didn’t cheat. The closest to cheating I ever did was buying used books that were already highlighted.