Langara administration seeking new ways to deter cheaters

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Cheating at Langara has more than doubled since 2015. Photo: Chantelle Deacon

Reported by Bonnie Lee La Madeleine

Due to a dramatic increase in cheating on campus, Langara faculty and administrators are exploring news ways to make cheating, and buying papers online less tempting.

Cheating on the rise

At Langara College, the number of students reported for cheating more than doubled in 2015. About five per cent of students are thought to cheat. Maggie Ross, manager of student conduct and judicial affairs, expects incidents in 2016 to eclipse those from 2015.

“The cut-and-paste phenomenon is really real,” Ross said.

For Josué Menjivar, an instructor for the web and mobile app design and development program, said it’s a challenge because students exchange ID numbers and passwords to download and copy assignments.

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Maggie Ross, manager of student conduct and judicial affairs at Langara. Photo: Roberto Teixeira

Menjivar said he puts key parts of the course material in bold so students know what to study for exams, and do not feel they need to cheat.

“I want them to learn,” he said.

Langara’s School of Management’s approach is systematic. It aims to help students acculturate to the program’s expectations, which could take about a year, said Spencer Dane, division chair of business management and international business.

“Some international students come with different expectations and cultural perspectives of how school works,” Dane said.

Kim Lam, student advisor in the computer science program, said reporting a single student consumes hours of his time, so he changed the way he teaches and approaches cheating.

Ross said the teachers complain about how much time it takes to report students, but they still do it, Ross said.

Cheating affects everybody

“It’s all our reputations at stake if we don’t address, and we’re not seen to be addressing, it,” she said. “If Langara became known as a college of cheaters, what does that do to your credentials?”

Over at UBC, where they are also dealing with cheating, Paul Harrison, associate dean of student services said better communication between teachers and students has helped stem cheating at UBC.

“Pay more attention to first trying to help students understand what the expectations are of working in an academic community,” he said.

Check out our related story on cheating here.

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