Kids spread cheating methods on YouTube
Posted by morganwrites on October 6, 2008
‘‘Hi YouTube, it’s me, Kiki,’’ the teenager said to the camera as she swiveled in her chair to jazzy background music.
‘‘And today I’m going to show you how to cheat on a test – the effective way.’’
She demonstrates her technique, slipping a small piece of paper with the answers in a clear-tubed pen as she rationalizes her reasons for cheating.
‘‘I know it’s not a good thing to cheat,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s academic dishonesty, blah, blah, blah. But I think everyone has at least done it once.’’
Kiki’s video is one of several dozen on the popular Internet site YouTube that show detailed ways to cheat on tests. Students no longer conceal answers in the sole of a shoe or the underside of a baseball cap’s bill. In the age of continual access to the Internet and laser-precision printers, cheating has gone high-tech.
And some techniques, like Kiki’s, come with a guarantee.
‘‘This is 98 percent effective,’’ she said. ‘‘Hopefully, any of my teachers don’t see this video. It would be very awkward.’’
Elizabeth Losh, writing director of the human core course at University of California, Irvine, knows the cheating videos well.
As a teacher of digital rhetoric, she analyzes how media affects society. The YouTube videos are really a way for people to boast, she said.
‘‘It’s a whole kind of tradition on YouTube – how do you subvert something, how do you break in to something,’’ she said. ‘‘In some ways, I’m not surprised that the genre has evolved.’’
Some of the modern cheating techniques are so time-consuming that students would be better off simply studying, Losh said.
‘‘They take so much time you might as well study,’’ she said. ’’I can laugh about the inventiveness, but it’s sad more than anything else.‘‘
Chris Ciocchetti, adviser to a student panel that determines punishments for cheating at Centenary College of Louisiana, is surprised with the boldness of some of the cheating videos’ techniques.
Much like Kiki in her video, others make cheating look easy and almost acceptable. One such video uses a Coke bottle and photo-altering software to sneak the answers past teachers.
’’The boldness does worry me,‘‘ Ciocchetti said. ’’Students that cheat think that everyone does it. But students that don’t, don’t think it’s appropriate. The Internet reflects back to us, and that’s the worrisome part.‘‘
Universities have different methods of punishing academic cheaters.
Centenary College, a private liberal-arts institution in Shreveport, La., requires students to sign an honor code on all work they submit. An Honor Court consisting of student justices determines punishments for any violations. Sanctions include redoing the work, receiving a failing grade, suspension for the semester or expulsion.
Students cheat for many reasons. ’’It’s an easy way out,‘‘ said Nicholas Swell, a communication major at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.
Students are under great pressure to succeed so some take a chance, Ciocchetti said: ’’They get to the point where they say ’if I don’t, my dream is gone.’ ‘‘
Thomas Harrison III, a biochemistry major at Louisiana State University, said that while he’s never cheated, he’s had friends attempt to pay him to take a test for them online. He refused, he said.
’’Every outlet is available,‘‘ Harrison said. ’’Professors have office hours, and there are tutors. It’s not necessary.‘‘
But if a student is on the verge of cheating, the ease of finding the information on how to do it could push them over, Ciocchetti said.
’’It makes it easy to do it because of YouTube,‘‘ he said. ’’So it makes it feel like it’s OK.‘‘
Cheating, lying, stealing, etc. has become ubiquitous in America – and why is this? Just look to the Democratic Party!