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Cheating and Chegg: a Retrospective

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Bringing a Different Perspective

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Paper Authors


Eli Broemer Michigan State University

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PhD student focused on soft tissue biomechanics.

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Geoffrey Recktenwald Michigan State University

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Geoff Recktenwald is a member of the teaching faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University. Geoff holds a PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University and Bachelor degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from Cedarville University. His research interests are focused on best practices for student learning and student success. He is currently developing and researching SMART assessment, a modified mastery learning pedagogy for problem based courses. He created and co-teaches a multi-year integrated system design (ISD) project for mechanical engineering students. He is a mentor to mechanical engineering graduate teaching fellows and actively champions the adoption and use of teaching technologies.

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In the spring of 2020, universities across America and the world abruptly transitioned to online learning. The online transition required faculty to find novel ways to administer assessments and in some cases, for students to utilize novel ways of cheating in their classes. The purpose of this paper is to provide a retrospective on cheating during online exams in the spring of 2020. It specifically looks at honor code violations in a sophomore level engineering course that enrolled more than 200 students. In this particular course, four pre-COVID assessments were given in class and six post-COVID assessments were given online. This paper examines the increasing rate of cheated on these assessments and the profiles of the students who were engaged in cheating. It compares students who were engaged in violations of the honor code as primary violators (uploading exam questions) vs. those who were secondary violators (looking at solutions to uploaded questions). This paper also looks at the abuse of Chegg during exams and the responsiveness of Chegg’s honor code team. It discusses the effectiveness of Chegg’s user account data in pursuing academic integrity cases. Information is also provided on the question response times for Chegg tutors in answering exam questions and the actual efficacy cheating in this fashion.

Broemer, E., & Recktenwald, G. (2021, July), Cheating and Chegg: a Retrospective Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36792

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