The Impacts of Technology Integration

11 Technology and Unethical Use

Annie Singh

Annie Singh (
University of Ontario Institute of Technology


This chapter attempts to come to terms with some of the ways cheating has transformed with the use of current technology tools. Academic dishonesty is not new, but the new ways students are looking to cheat is a lesson for educators to be aware. Looking at digital citizenship and community centered approach in teaching pedagogy to help instill ethical practices in adapting moral behaviors and to prevent academic misconduct; specifically in digital learning. Also included in this chapter are some modes of evaluation educators may include to prevent cheating, additionally, a review of current policies and tools in place to prevent academic dishonesty. And finally, a look at some technology tools used for academic dishonesty.

Keywords: Academic dishonesty, Digital Plagiarism, Technology tools,


Technology is an integral part of education with its various uses to help motivate and engage the learner. Game based learning, Gamification, maker-spaces, YouTube just to mention a few. Another view of technology shows other uses have evolved along a parallel pathway – namely cheating. This chapter showcases academic dishonesty and the need for instilling moral conduct in teaching pedagogy for on line education.

Background Information

Using the internet for research and information is a simple act of cutting and pasting (CP). This affordance has brought about other misrepresentations for digital education. As students use the internet to research and obtain information, credit is not given where it’s due. Students continue to garner information and pass it off as their own. Yang (2011) states; students may not be aware of the need for citations as most information is cut and pasted and readily available making digital plagiarism convenient, effortless and accessible.

Cheating Characteristics

Jones (2011) lists the following inherent characteristics of cheating:

Percentage Grades—want or need to make better grades 92%
Procrastination 83%
Too busy, not enough time to complete assignment or study for test 75%
Lack of understanding or unable to comprehend information 58%
No interest in the subject or assignment 50%
Workload/schedule: too many classes 33%
Everyone does it and get away with it 25%
No big deal; does not matter to professor 17%
Peer pressure 17%


Academic Dishonesty, Plagiarism

Academic dishonesty –cheating and internet plagiarism is on the rise, according to a 2003 nationwide research study of 23 public and private colleges and universities, conducted by Donald L. McCabe (Jones, 2011). Academic dishonesty –cheating: includes copying from another student’s work or allowing one’s own work to be copied, submitting another person’s work as one’s own, fabrication of data, consultation with an unauthorized person during an examination, or use of unauthorized aids. Plagiarism – the act of presenting the ideas, words, or other intellectual property of another as one’s own.

Absent from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s (n.d.) definition of plagiarism and academic dishonesty is a clear definition of digital plagiarism as a breach in academic misconduct.

Table 1
What do students consider to be plagiarism/cheating? (Jones, 2011)

Behaviour Percentage
Percentage Turning in another person’s assignment as your own assignment. 100
Cutting and pasting a paper together using online materials without appropriate citations. 92
Purchasing a paper from a research service or downloading one from the Internet. 75
Delivering an oral/digital presentation based on information copied directly from the Internet without appropriate citations. 75
Changing the words around in a quote and using them without documentation. 67
Copying information directly from a source document, documenting the source but leaving out the quotation marks or indenting five spaces to indicate the information is a direct quote. 67
Taking ideas from someone’s writings and citing it without appropriate citations. 58
Paraphrasing the ideas of others without documentation. 50
Lifting more than 10 consecutive words from a document without proper acknowledgment. 50
Taking media from the Internet, including images, pictures, music, videos, and so on. 25
Using information that you consider common knowledge without citation. 17
Turning in an assignment previously submitted for another class. 17

Copyleft, Copyright

Copyleft is the practice of offering people the right to freely distribute copies of a work, document, art, while allowing modification and use of works but still covered under licensing regulations (Wikipedia, 2018)

The difference between copyleft and copyright lies in the rights of the copyright holder. A work under copyright generally uses the disclaimer ―all rights reserved for distributing, performing, and modifying the work, belong solely to the copyright holder (Frantsvog, D., & Franstsvog, J., 2012).  Copyleft license, the work is still under copyright, but the author gives up most or all of these rights, copyleft often bear the slogans all rights reversed, no rights reserved or, some rights reserved, depending on the specific terms of the license in use (Frantsvog, D., & Franstsvog, J., 2012).

Copy and Paste

Copy and paste is an easy click to obtain information on the web.  However, citing this information is not usually done.  A study reported 83% of interviewed students considered cutting and pasting information directly into academic work form the Internet was permissible and cutting and pasting one or two sentences from the internet without appropriate citations was not a serious issue (Yang, 2011).  Yang (2011) continues to explain, the rapid development and nature of academic dishonesty has expanded to include “digital cheating” digital forms of cheating may not be different in kind, but could be less effortful, particularly with the ease of using a copy-and-paste function to incorporate others’ digital text into one’s own (Yang, 2011).  This potential “epidemic” of cheating has transformed to a “digital” phenomenon in terms of academic integrity in the 21st century (Yang, 2011)

Frameworks: Digital Citizenship, Community-Centered Approach

A proactive approach is to teach students ethical responsibilities for internet use in digital citizenship and social cognitive theory pedagogies. Instilling ethical values at an early age will help promote positive and responsible citizens in a digital world.  Looking at two teaching theories to help cover moral behaviors and impart ethical responsibilities for internet use: Digital citizenship and Cognitive social theory.

Digital citizenship includes everyone having internet access, while morally practicing these rights in a humanistic way to encourage honest behavior as a norm (Mossberger, Tolbert, & McNeal, 2007).  Having this as an outcome for all mobile learning classes will set a foundation and hopes of producing students and future citizens in having clear understanding of academic honesty and morally correct behaviors.  Teaching about plagiarism, copy &paste and copyright and copy left licensing and about academic policies in place for educational institution and student code of conduct will also foster a sound understanding of expectations and rights students must abide by.

Learning is influenced in fundamental ways by the context in which it takes place.   A community-centered classroom approach requires the development of norms for the classroom and school, as well as the connections to the outside world, that support core learning values (Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, 2002).  This approach is a combined effort from all parties: the student, school and community, one is not left out, but all have the same core learned values.  This learning structure is necessary for distance learning and helps learners to hold the same core values in each aspect of their education and outside lives, making it easier to have reputable behaviors and moral conduct as a continued thread in distant learning.

Existing Policies and Processes to Prevent Academic Dishonesty

Instructors must hold up their end of the bargain, and clearly indicate in their course contract what constitutes cheating and which behaviors (Bemmel, 2011)

Evaluation methods, change from test taking to papers for on-line education. Include a copy of the written academic integrity policy or honor code as part of the course syllabus, with links to the student handbook highlighting the detailed steps for how the university will address academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty policies should be explicitly written, and the student must know how each professor will handle the issue.

Jones (2011) provides the following tips:

  1. Online students must know everything a specific professor considers cheating because work will be completed in a virtual environment.
  2. Review the academic integrity policy during initial course orientation, ask students to write a paragraph that includes their philosophy about academic dishonesty issues, especially cheating and Internet plagiarism.
  3. Give students a quiz, such as a treasure hunt, on the university’s academic integrity policy.
  4. Include an interactive, entertaining learning activity or game. Software tools such as SoftChalk or PowerPoint make this easy to do so. Games, such as the Lockheed Martin’s Ethics Challenge Game (Gray Matters Ethics Game) provide an effective “means for introducing workplace and applied ethics”
  5. Incorporate hyperlinks to some of the popular Internet tutorials. For example, “How to Recognize Plagiarism,” Indiana University Bloomington, School of Education at; “Plagiarism Court: You Be the Judge,” Fairfield University at; or “You Quote It: You Note It,”
  6. Use plagiarism detection software, such as SafeAssign, Turnitin, PlagiarismDetect, these online resources enable users to compare their documents against other stored databases for plagiarism.
  7. Require students to cite sources for digital and oral presentations, as they would for written research projects. Also, require students to submit a written copy of their oral presentation, which can also be submitted to SafeAssign.
  8. Use the Internet to teach about plagiarism and how to avoid it. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of using Internet sites such as Wikipedia.
  9. Teach students how to use citation tools such as Easybib, Son of Citation Machine, or The Citation Generator. These tools enable users to automatically generate a reference or bibliography list based on the information provided.
  10. Encourage students to always consider ethics by adding a “Do the Right Thing” scenario to each of the course learning modules.

Table 2
Plagiarism detection services (adapted from Garner, 2011)

Company/organization Product Crosscheck (powered by iThenticate) eTBLAST, déjà vu
iParadigms iTheniticate
Applied Linguistics Grarmmarly
Indigo Stream Technologies Copyscape

The “Honor System”

Photo and/or government identification.  Fingerprinting and palm vein scanning, Commercial security systems. Cheat-resistant laptops. Computer-adaptive testing and randomized testing. Banning/controlling electronic devices (Howell, Sorensen, Tippets, 2009).

Some Technology Tools Used for Academic Misconduct

Mobile phones and iPods. Students record answers and crib notes on their phones, text each other answers to questions with their phones, and then take photographs of exams and transmit them to others using their phones. Mobile phone wristwatches from examination centers because of an earlier cheating incident (Jones, D.L.R., (2011)

Braindumps come in many styles, all of which are variations on the questions and answers that have been stolen from the actual exams, Braindumps, they were merely questions and answers or Q&A with explanations. They have since evolved into a much more complex way to and almost convincing form that many individuals would find hard to believe are Braindumps (Jones, 2011).

Wireless earpieces and high-tech radio transmitters and “Bluetooth technology [is] being used to cheat turning a soda bottle wrapper into a cheat sheet (“YouTube tests,” 2008); “long-sleeved shirt method” they are also hidden in calculators, caps of pens.  (Jones, 2011).

Conclusions and Future Recommendations

Academic integrity is a learned skill that faculty members can teach and model. We must infuse ethics in everything we do. Ethics are “the principles that define the boundary between right and wrong” (Thill & Bovée, 2011, p. 24) and “personal choices and standards of conduct Jones, D.L.R., (2011, pg. 147).

Other factors that affect academic dishonesty were not a consideration for this paper they include: environment, agent, and student interactions, spatial considerations – lack of face-to face interactions.   Moreover, educational intuitions lack the clarity to define digital dishonesty in their definition of academic dishonesty.


Bemmel, M. (2014).  Cheating in Online Classes: A Preliminary Investigation. (Doctoral Dissertation).  Nova Southeastern University.

Donovan, M.S, Bransford, J. D., & Pellegrino, J.W. (2002). Key findings. In How people learn: Bridging research & practice (pp. 10-24). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Frantsvog, D.A., J.D., (2012).  A Study of Copyleft, Open-Source, And Open-Content Licensing Contemporary Issues. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 5(1), 15-22.

Garner, H.R., (2011) Combating unethical publications with plagiarism detection services. Urologic Oncology, 29(1), 95–99. DOI:

Howell, S.L., Sorensen, D., Tippets, H.R., (2009).  The New (and Old) News about Cheating for Distance Educators. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 12(3). Available from

Jones, D.L.R., (2011). Academic dishonesty: Are more students cheating?  Business Communication Quarterly, 74(2). Available from

Mossberger, K., Tolbert, C. J., & McNeal, R. S. (2007). Digital citizenship: The Internet, society, and participation. MIT Press. Available from

UOIT (n.d.). Student academic integrity guide. [PDF file]. Available from

Wikipedia (2018, July 6). Copyleft. [Web page]. Available from

Yang, Y., (2011), Digital plagiarism as digital cheating: The influence of achievement goals and copy-and-paste function. Computers in Education, 83, 44-56. Available from


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Technology and the Curriculum: Summer 2018 by Annie Singh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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