Online Exams and Cheating: An Empirical Analysis of Business Students’ Views

January 18, 2009

Academic integrity has been a perennial issue in higher education. Undoubtedly, the advent of the Internet and advances in user-friendly technological devices have spurred both concern on the part of faculty and research interest in the academic community regarding inappropriate and unethical behavior on the part of students. This study is designed to (a) gauge the attitudes of business students toward various issues and behaviors when taking an examination ‘online’ and (b) obtain an estimate of the extent of cheating in traditional versus online coursework from the perspective of college students. The results, based on a sample of 121 undergraduate business students from a university in the South, indicate that respondents felt quite liberal in their views of potentially cheating behaviors when there was no test-taking policy set by the course instructor. In addition, 73.6% of the students in the sample held the perception that it is easier to cheat in an online versus traditional course. We believe that, based on prior research, the current results would be applicable to general student populations in other academic disciplines. The findings are discussed in light of prior research on academic integrity issues and recommendations for future research are noted.

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