Is College Worth It?

Posted on December 29, 2009

Would you spend over a hundred grand for a degree in Bowling Management? Some kids do and we are sure a few of these other statistics are just as shocking!

Click to see the graphic!

On a more serious note, some degrees are worth the time and enrolling in the top online PhD programs isn’t a bad way to spend five years!

Cheating in Your Online Class: Why You’re About to Get Caught

Posted on December 19, 2012

Cheating is perhaps as old as education, and while students were once limited to the information they could scribble on their hands, online students now have the entire Internet at their disposal. Still, cheating in online courses is only slightly higher than live classes, with 32.7% of online students admitting to cheating and 32.1% of students in live classes admitting the same. But it's been more difficult to catch online students in the act: 4.9% of students in live classes are caught cheating, while less than half of that, 2.1% of online students, get busted.

Schools aren't letting these statistics get them down, though. They're fighting back with new technology and different approaches that not only make cheating more difficult, but make it easier to sniff out dishonest students. There will, of course, always be ways for students to cheat, but if you're up against these new tricks, you're likely to get busted.

  • Many online programs are removing opportunities to cheat

    Many students are tempted to cheat and make online quizzes open book, even when they're not. In response, lots of schools are simply doing away with these quizzes altogether. In their place? More difficult assignments that can't really be gamed, like writing portfolios. The new assignments typically require independent thought and can't be just copied from a book. They may even require multiple revisions, which aren't typically offered by online essay-writing services.
  • Every test may be different

    A popular way for online students to cheat is gathering together on test day to take it together, pooling knowledge for the best answers. Or, one student will take the exam earlier than the rest, sharing all the right answers after completion. Although there's nothing to stop students from taking exams together (yet), most schools are now changing up questions or answers in their online system so that no test is the same, making it more difficult and time consuming to cheat. The systems are also no longer revealing test answers until every student in the course has finished the exam. Some schools are even considering setting up testing access centers that students would need to visit in person.
  • Nearly everyone scans for plagiarism

    There's no shortage of material to copy online, and much of that material makes its way into the essays and papers of online students, even accidentally. Although some may purchase papers or scrape Wikipedia with malicious intent, others plagiarize by accident because they don't really understand how to paraphrase or cite. No matter what the intention, plagiarists can be easily caught, with sites like Turnitin.com scanning each piece of student work for red flags that may indicate the material has been copied.
  • Schools may implement remote proctoring

    Although traveling to a test taking center isn't always an option for online students, remote proctoring is. Through remote proctoring, students will flash their passport or ID in front of their webcam, show their face, and take their test while watched by a human proctor. Sound creepy? Yeah, we think so, too. But it practically eliminates the opportunity for students to have others take their exams for them.
  • There are tougher identity checks

    In the early days of online courses, cheating students would just log in and leave their computer running, getting credit for being "in class" whether they were actually there or not. These days, most courses require frequent participation, but students have found another way: paid course takers. Websites like wetakeyourclass.com will assign people to actually take courses for students, but schools are working on putting them out of business. New online precautions like IP address verification, personal history questions, video interaction, and more are making it much easier for fake students to get busted.
  • They're implementing tougher audit policies, too

    Few cheating students fly under the radar of professors without any suspicion. Although professors may not always be able to prove it, they will raise eyebrows when students speed through tests, change their writing style overnight, or dramatically increase their test scores. That's why many online classes now have tougher policies, with professors auditing up to 50% of students in a particular class, random or not. When a student finishes a test unusually fast, professors may require that student to come back and take the test under supervision. Score 10 points lower than you did before, and you're busted.
  • Professors are using varied assessments

    The practice of recycling exams and quizzes from year to year is not unique to online school, and neither is the student practice of using these materials to cheat. But in an increasing effort to stop online cheaters, more professors are mixing it up each and every semester to discourage sharing and subsequent cheating.
  • Schools are taking advantage of new technology

    Cheater busting is going high tech these days with new programs. These programs can analyze typing style, and use facial recognition software to make sure that students are who they say they are. Soon, it may feel like Mission: Impossible to get into your course.

No Limits: America’s Binge Drinking Habit

Posted on February 11, 2013
If you're a student, or just around college student age, you're probably all to familiar with the phrase "binge drinking." Whether you partake in a little excessive imbibing yourself, or you just know people who do, the term "binge drinking" tends to be overused and completely saturated in the minds of many of those who are at or around age 21. While the college student demographic may find the term binge drinking—and all the cautionary tales surrounding the concept—to be almost devoid of meaning now, the fact is that, with more and more kids overusing alcohol at younger ages, even the most seasoned drinkers would do well to learn a little about the phenomenon. "Binge drinking" really refers to how many drinks someone has consumed over a certain period of time; for women, bingeing is consuming four or more drinks in two hours or less, for men it's five drinks over the same time period. And while the immediate risks, such as blacking out, vomiting, or passing out, are generally known and accepted among binge drinkers, some of the related effects aren't always as apparent. Binge drinkers tend to have higher incidence of drunk driving, STDs, and accidental pregnancies, to name just a few. The following infographic takes a peek into the world of binge drinking, as well as what some of its lesser known repercussions are.

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Binge Drinking Infographic

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