In the modern era, technology is a part of our daily lives. The average American has a smartphone in their pocket that can answer any question or get directions to the nearest coffee shop by the push of a button. But have we taken it too far? Online classes and degree programs are beginning to take the place of classrooms and professors. Instead of choosing to learn in a classroom with a professor, students are opting to take online classes because they are convenient. Online classes have been beneficial to some students because they are the only option that some people have.
Single parents and people with full time jobs benefit from online courses because they work around their busy lives. However, online courses can be detrimental because there are no proctors to the tests, encouraging some students to be dishonest.
In 2002, Babson surveyors revealed that 1.6 million American students were taking a minimum of one online course. Since then, the number of online students has grown to 7.1 million as of 2014 (Kolowich). As technology becomes more available, the number is only increasing. However, too many students are choosing to be dishonest on their online exams and are not benefitting from the classes. They know that they have a smartphone in their pocket that can find any answer they need and there is no professor there to stop them, so they don’t bother learning or studying for tests. A 2014 study revealed that 72% of online college students admitted to cheating on a quiz or exam (Littlefield). This was only the percentage of students that admitted to cheating. If everyone surveyed had answered honestly, the percentage would have probably been higher. These students cheated instead of actually learning the material, which will only hurt them later on in life. This academic dishonesty could have been prevented if a proctor or professor were present to stop it. There is usually no punishment involved either, because an online instructor has no way of knowing if a student cheated on an exam or not. This will also be harmful to the student later on in life because they will always continue to cheat because they don’t believe they will be caught. Online classes are producing students who think they can get away with cheating and taking the easy way out.
Although technology has given Americans many opportunities, but not all of these opportunities should be taken. Learning belongs in the classroom, not on a computer screen. Many students are succumbing to academic dishonesty when they should be learning the material. Online courses make it too easy for a student to be dishonest without any repercussions. In the future, we will see the consequences of these online courses and degrees. To quote Albert Einstein, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
- Kolowich, Steve. “Exactly How Many Students Take Online Courses?” 16 January 2014. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 17 January 2016.
- Littlefield, Jamie. “Cheating in Online College Classes: A Virtual Epidemic.” 15 December 2014. Distance Learning. 17 January 2016.
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