Prevent Cheating During Online Learning

Because of the pandemic, different sectors have taken their own actions to adapt to the circumstances while still rendering the necessary operations. The same can be said of the education sector with now opting for Home-Based Learning and blended education. However, home-based learning has become a challenge not just for the students but also for the teachers. One of the most common issues presented is the increased risk and instances of students cheating during home-based learning.

It’s pretty common knowledge that sometimes students do tend to cheat. This can be seen in classrooms even before the pandemic. But with remote learning, it can even become more prevalent. And as such, it can also be more challenging for teachers to eliminate these unfair actions.

Cheating in online learning

With the shift from classrooms to online classes, many would assume that there can be a way to lessen cheating between students. But that isn’t always the case. Students sure can’t peek into another student’s answers during exams, but there can be a high chance they look up the answers online. In some instances, they can even ask someone else, a friend or another, to take the test for them.

There can also be a variety of reasons why students may cheat during their lessons. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean they want to get into trouble and jeopardize their studies. Some students would cheat because they find the coursework too difficult for them or they are too overwhelmed with the amount of school work they have to do. In cases like this, it’s better to suggest to parents to engage in home tutors for their children to help them deal with their school work. Home tutors are specially trained to help struggling students by making sure their learning needs are met. They also provide supplementary learning and can even help students with effective exam-taking techniques.

Minimizing cheating during online learning

While it can be challenging for teachers to fully eliminate cheating during online classes, there are also many ways for them to do this. Here is a list of the tips and strategies they can use to help in minimizing cheating during online learning and exams.

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1. Encourage critical thinking

While identification questions and multiple-choice questions have become quite the staple for test exams, it can be challenging to make sure that students won’t cheat since the answers can easily be found on the Internet or even in their study materials. With this, it can be a good idea to avoid those types of questions of plain theoretical content and instead opt for the approach that promotes critical thinking and creativity from the students.

Making the students reflect and analyze the theories and concepts they are learning will make it easier for the teacher to check the genuine level of their understanding and skills they have gained, not just with their knowledge. As such, promoting tasks which require them to stretch their creative muscles and make use of their critical thinking skills will help them develop their abilities and help them in performing better academically and in the long run.

It should also be noted that this suggestion doesn’t mean abolishing multiple-choice questions, filling out the blanks, or identification questions altogether. However, by lessening these types of questions in exams, possible cheating may be avoided or lessened and teachers will also know how deep the level of understanding the student has retained of the lesson.

2. Apply positive classroom culture

Creating a positive classroom culture can also help in lessening instances of cheating from students. Teachers always aim to cultivate the values of honesty and dignity in their students and in creating a positive classroom culture, they can help in the process of doing so. Teachers can start by talking openly about cheating and not treating it as a taboo topic. The teacher can also discuss the consequences if a student is caught cheating, not just inside the class but also with its results on the student in the future. Students should be made aware and be able to understand that cheating will only play against them and not in their favor in the long run.

Talking with the students about cheating would also inspire them to behave fairly and refrain from doing so. As such, teachers should also emphasize that exams aren’t meant to burden the students and just to grade them but it helps in improving the quality of education and making sure which parts they have understood and which they may need to go over with.

Once the students start to understand this point, they may be more inclined and interested in teaching methods and materials to be developed based on their exam performance rather than cheating their way through their exams. However, even if they do understand the sentiment, there is still no guarantee that they will not cheat at all. And so, it is still better to incorporate the positive and correct classroom culture.

3. Set strict rules

As much as teachers would want to completely trust their students, as we’ve mentioned before, there is no guarantee they will not cheat for any reason. And so, teachers can also implement strict rules regarding students’ behavior during the online learning process. There may also be a code of conduct that the students are aware of coming from their schools so the teachers should also remind them occasionally about the riles and consequences of cheating, especially when the class is still preparing for the exam.

Students need to understand the repercussions that come with cheating and that they will get punished eventually for any cheating or cheating attempts. When the consequences are dire such as suspensions or expulsion, they are more than likely to keep the code of conduct in mind.

It should also be noted that teachers should also implement the rules well and stick to them. Setting strict rules and carrying them out are two different matters and teachers should always follow through with the rules they have set. When students see their teachers being lax with the rules they have set, they may tend to not take the rule to heart and continue breaking it habitually.

4. Peer feedback

Aside from checking your students’ work, why not try a peer feedback approach as well? This can also be used to minimize cheating during online exams as students are encouraged to check on their classmate’s answers rather than seek the chance to cheat. Additionally, peer feedback also helps students with developing their assessment skills, which are also vital to gain for their future.

5. Make use of technology

Technology should be used as an advantage during online learning. While teachers can take measures to prevent cheating from their students, there is still no guarantee that students will not cheat when online cheating can be so easy to perform. Teachers wouldn’t be sure that when giving out essay homework, students aren’t using AI writing services or when students look up answers for their exams using a search engine. Despite knowing and understanding the consequences of cheating, many students may still do it. and s, teachers should also make use of the available technology to combat this problem. However, it can also help for teachers to consult a specialist or for the latest technological means to make sure online learning is transparent and fair on both sides. Here are some examples of what teachers can do.

• Restrict the number of tabs and/or windows

As mentioned, students can still look up answers for their exams using a search engine or even their notes on a different tab or window. However, there are tools that teachers can use to prevent them from using too many tabs or windows during exams. There are also tools that will invalidate their answers once they close or switch tabs or windows. This will help ensure they are only focused on their exam.

• Turn on cameras

While teachers can restrict the number of windows or tabs, students may still have other devices they can use and so, requesting them to turn their cameras on can help with this. during exams, teachers can spot any attempts to cheat once the students have their cameras on. Additionally, it also lets the teacher see that it is the student taking the exam and not someone else.

• Different sets of questions

Another cheating tactic can be students sending each other answers for questions they already have finished answering. To reduce the instances this may occur, teachers can opt to give students sets of the same questions but in different orders.

• Time limits

This can be tricky but it does work best for multiple-choice questions. Enforcing time limits can also help in reducing the risks of cheating. Students have to answer the question in a given time and thus, they will have to focus on answering the question rather than looking for the answer elsewhere.


Cheating isn’t something that can be eradicated overnight. It can be a problem for the teachers and for students themselves. However, it’s best to help them understand that they will not benefit from cheating in the long run and will instead have to face consequences for their actions. And as teachers, there are also many options for you to help prevent cheating in online learning. Technological tools can be combined with a personal approach to eliminate cases like this can help students understand lessons without relying on cheating.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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