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Cheating in Higher Education

The high cost of higher education has left many graduates with tens of thousands of dollars in debt from student loans. However, while many students are upset at the high costs of a college education, other students seem to take their expensive classes for granted, and don't bother to show up. Generally, failing to attend classes will result in a lowered grade for the students, but at least one class found a loophole to avoid attending their course. The only problem is there ploy was discovered by the teacher. 

As many as 64 students of Dartmouth College are facing allegations of cheating, ironically, in an ethics class. Initially, the number of suspected cheaters was 43, but other students came forward to admit their involvement. The college's judicial affairs office investigated the matter. Now those students could be facing suspension, or other disciplinary measures.

The undergraduate course, titled "Sports, Ethics & Religion," used a system of electronic hand-held devices assigned to individual students. The "clickers" were used to answer questions in class. Some students gave their clickers to other students, instead of going to class. The other students used the clickers to answer questions in the place of the absent students. Those students involved have allegedly violated the college's honor code, and will be suspended for a semester.

The clicker swapping finally came to the attention of the professor, Randall Balmer, who noticed that the number of clicked responses was much higher than number of students sitting in the classroom. Balmer, who is also chairman of the religion department, called the situation, "very sad and regrettable on many levels." Balmer continued, "a level of trust that is so necessary for students and teachers has been betrayed, and I feel sad about that."

Back in 2000, Dartmouth faced another alleged scandal over students accused of cheating in a computer science class, but all charges were dropped after the university found it was unable to prove who had cheated. Dartmouth is not alone in its exposure to cheating scandals. In 2012, more than a hundred Harvard University students were accused of cheating related to a take-home exam. The students appeared to have worked in groups, in violation of the no-collaboration policy.

In Canada, cheaters facing more than suspension. Criminal charges are pending for two Ontario university students for forgery after one student allegedly paid a doctoral student $900 to sit for her math final. The University of Waterloo first-year student gave the older PhD student a faked student ID to perpetrate the fraud. However, university officials were tipped off that others may be sitting in for student exams, and discovered the students' scam.

As a result of the tip, the university increased secutiy exam, and developed a mandatory student card scan to identify false student IDs. After the imposter became aware of the enhanced security measures, he tried to flea the exam room. Police soon caught up with the young man, and arrested him for forgery and personation. The absent cheater is facing similar charges.

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