Avoid cheating! Advice from the student ombudspersons

Increased number of students suspected for cheating in remote online exams

The number of students reported for suspected cheating has increased a lot since Chalmers started using online remote exams due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In most cases, students have been reported because their exam answers have been very similar in both structure and content. When a teacher notices that the answers are unusually similar, or if there is any other reason to suspect that a student has cheated, they are obliged to report this to the Disciplinary Committee. When the report is followed up, the students will be able to comment on the suspicions, for example why the answers are similar. In the end, the Disciplinary Committee decides whether the students have cheated or not.
 
During the Covid-19 pandemic all aids are allowed during online remote exams. For example, you are allowed to access the internet and use any course material. However, this does not mean that you may copy text or figures from those sources. You are not allowed to plagiarize, but you are allowed to use the information you have found. Plagiarism is another reason why the number of suspicions reported to the disciplinary committee has increased.

The student ombudspersons​, together with the university, would like to give you this information to help you act in the best manner while writing your online exams. 

Major consequences for students

A student that is found guilty of cheating by the disciplinary committee will normally be suspended from education, examination and web resources at Chalmers for a period of six weeks including an exam period. In principle, the student loses a study period. The student also loses the right to support from the CSN. Also scholarships and stipends may be affected. 

Regardless of the decision made by the disciplinary committee, it is both psychologically and emotionally demanding to be suspected of cheating and to go through the investigation and disciplinary meeting. 

What is important when you do an online exam and all aids are allowed? 

Here is some advice which will help you show that you have written your online exam answers yourself, and that you have not collaborated with another student or plagiarized:

  1. Prepare and study for the exam as if the exam had been given in an exam hall. Do not count on having time to find the answers on the internet during the actual exam. 
  2. Read all instructions carefully before the exam, and check the instructions carefully on the exam itself when it starts.
  3. Turn off all social media during the full time of the exam. 
  4. Even if you submit your answers early, do not contact your friends in any way until after the full time of the exam. 
  5. Sit separately from other students so you do not accidentally start talking. 
  6. It is good to study together, but if you write common notes, you should avoid using them directly in your answers to the exam questions. Instead, write the solutions in your own words. This makes it clear that you yourself have the knowledge that is tested. 
  7. Do not use shared documents, such as google docs, during the exam. If you edit the document and someone else uses what you wrote, the conclusion will be that you both collaborated, even if you did not intend to share the text. Instead, save the documents that you think you will use locally, before the start of the exam.
  8. If you use information that you found on the internet or in the course literature (that is, permitted aids) it is good to refer to the sources. In many courses this is required. Interpret the information and express your knowledge in your own words. You must show that you know and understand what you write. 
  9. If you are not sure what the rules are in your particular course, please ask the responsible teacher. 

More information about all the rules relating to courses and examination can be found at the Study Portal pages about Policy Documents – Education and the Disciplinary Committee​
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Published: Fri 16 Oct 2020.