November 29 2022 3:38 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Virtual cheating poses as threat to integrity of online education

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(Photo: Pexels)
AMMAN — Malak Is’haqat, a 3rd year applied English A-student at the University of Jordan, has lost “friends” after she refused to help them cheat on exams because it is against her principles.اضافة اعلان

“Colleagues or friends ask me for help in their exams. I usually try to come up with an excuse and say that I am busy or that I have my own exams and I have to prepare for them but they do not accept ‘no’ as an answer and they stop talking to me.”

But cheaters have other options than asking a favor from a colleague like Is’haqat. In fact, the entire process is developing into a shady business, thanks to online education and the internet. If you need someone to take a test for you, you can easily find them on Facebook! 

“There is a group on Facebook consisting of around 60 thousand members (from Jordan and other countries), most of whom use fake names and fake profiles. They ask or offer ‘help’ in test and academic assignments” explained Mohammed Khatib, a 3rd year civil engineering student at the University of Jordan.
 
Payment usually is split into two, one in advance before the exam and one after the job is done. Students pay “service providers” using electronic payment services like Iban Wallet if they are using international “help”, and Orange Money, Zain Cash, or other methods to pay local ones, Khatib said.

These “experts” initially offer to help you with the material for financial compensation, but negotiations, normally via WhatsApp, develop into “taking the test” on behalf of the customer and that would cost something around JD150, Khatib said.
 
Not all cheating students get away with the dishonest behavior. A fourth-year engineering student, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that he and three other colleagues were stuck with a question.

An Indian man was online and he answered the problem and they all copied it.

Their professor was suspicious and interrogated them all. One of the young people confessed and the four failed the course.
 
Fakher Daas, general coordinator of “Thabahtona” student advocate movement, believes that the exams are the only way to evaluate the validity of online education. “Unfortunately, online exams in Jordan lack integrity, as the professor is not always sure who answered the questions,” said Daas.

Head of Interior Design Department at the University of Petra Nizar Haddad said that instructors at the university are allowed to call students to re-do the exam if there was any suspicion of cheating.
 
The Ministry of Higher Education stepped in about a month ago and issued warning to businesses that allegedly write papers for students in return for money.
 
The ministry announced in a statement that legal action had already been taken against “hundreds of suspects”. The ministry said it has also been in contact with the administration of the social networking site, Facebook, through the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship to close the pages and those of groups because  include ads that promote academic dishonesty.

But for now and until an effective solution is found to eliminate the phenomenon, students like Is’haqat will keep losing “friends”.