COMMENT: Looming cheating crisis | Opinion
Teachers in our country have a lot to do. Whether you are a middle school or kindergarten teacher, the pressure to instill values ââand knowledge in students is not a task to be taken lightly.
As an educator, I understand the importance of integrity in the classroom and I work hard to make sure my students know the same. That’s why it discourages me to learn that companies in Silicon Valley are looking to take advantage of this vulnerability.
The pandemic has challenged the world of education more than ever and made students and teachers more vulnerable to this exploitation. One company, Chegg, has made particularly egregious decisions that threaten the foundations of the education system.
This for-profit Silicon Valley educational company was first known as a textbook publisher who saw an opportunity in tutoring services. As schools moved classes online during the pandemic, Chegg saw a logical extension of the line in education services. But this new ed-business has taken a dark turn.
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Many members of the educational community increasingly see Chegg’s online tutoring service as a tool to cheat. In her recent editorial, Karen Gallagher, former dean of USC Rossier School of Education, said, âAmong her many services, there is a way for cheaters to overcome the barrier of problem-solving questions, in which students are invited to show how they got their answers. Chegg On-Demand Experts can personally answer the subscriber’s unique test or duty question.
As Timothy Powers, director of the Texas A&M Aggie Honor System Office, said, âThere is a difference between students who use online tools to prepare and learn things. It’s completely different for a student to take an exam and have seen the same questions with the same multiple choice answers before.
And that’s what Chegg offers students – and more. This “cheat deal” is a full-service provider selling textbooks and “support” – with a bonus offer of test answers. In fact, textbook publisher Pearson Education sued Chegg for this specific issue. But they continue to try to undermine the foundations of our education system and future graduates.
Even with educators calling out Chegg for these actions, the company continues to create more troubling offerings for students – except now they’re going after teachers for doing their dirty work.
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Through the company’s new curriculum, dubbed âUversity,â Chegg encourages teachers to submit their material, including exam questions, which will then be used by other students to shorten their way around the classroom. As if that weren’t enough, Chegg is offering teachers compensation for this material, and according to their income, they have “already paid educators over $ 4 million” through the program.
It’s a teacher’s job to make sure cheating stays outside of a classroom, but how can they do it if they are given financial rewards for doing the exact opposite?
Shortcuts do not help a student learn long term. Rather than pulling direct questions and answers from an online service, students should be encouraged to use study partners and resources such as writing centers and math tutors to collaborate on homework. In fact, it’s rare that an academic institution doesn’t already offer their students legitimate services for which Chegg charges $ 180 per year. To put it simply: Chegg is not worth the risk.
Business Ethics Professor Max Torres of the Catholic University of America talks about teaching good habits. “Our business students are made aware of the personal and social consequences of virtuous or vicious behavior.”
It’s not always popular in these troubled times. Torres continues, âVirtues and vices are habits developed and reinforced by decision making in business and throughout life. “
Chegg is a problem. Not only should educators address institutionalized cheating before the problem escalates, but they absolutely should not play into this business by selling their hard work that will be used by another student to cut corners.
Teachers should make it their mission to help students take virtuous action throughout their lives and to avoid companies that bypass education.
Jack Yoest is a consultant and assistant professor of leadership and management practice at the Catholic University of America in Washington. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.