Fischler College of Education: Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler School of Education


Gordon Doctorow

Committee Member

Michael Simonson


Cheating in Online Classes: A Preliminary Investigation, Mirella Baker Bemmel, 2014: Applied Dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Abraham S. Fischler School of Education. ERIC Descriptors: Cheating, Online, Academic Integrity, Community College, Safeguards

This applied dissertation was an inquiry into the phenomenon of cheating among students who take their classes online. There is a common perception that cheating is rampant in online classes and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the accreditation association in the South, implemented policies, which mandate stricter monitoring of students. In turn, colleges have reevaluated or implemented integrity policies, but there is inconsistent enforcement of said policies.

Online faculty at three Florida community colleges were invited to complete a modified version of the Academic Integrity Survey, which provided insights into their perception of cheating, their awareness and enforcement of institutional policies regarding cheating and safeguards used or desired. The survey was followed up with an eight-member focus group discussion, and the results were triangulated.

An analysis of the data revealed that faculty is uncertain about the extent of cheating at their college, but most take action once they discover an instance of cheating. Their reaction to cheating may not necessarily be in line with the institutional policy although they are aware of the required steps. Different safeguards are used to protect the integrity of their courses, but there is an apparent lack of knowledge about available safeguards and their use.

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