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The purpose of this study was to explore the ways students have cheated in online courses. Ten students who had either cheated in online courses or knew of others who had cheated in online courses were interviewed for the study. The participants’ responses to the interview questions were analyzed using qualitative methods of data analysis. The results show that the majority of the participants had cheated or knew of someone who had cheated in online courses. Working together with other students, referring to class notes, textbooks, and other useful course materials while taking online tests and quizzes, and using Internet resources were some of the methods students used to cheat in online courses. One student reported that she was paid to complete an entire course for another student. This unique finding of the study can be labeled ‘paid impersonation.’


Originally published in the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning.

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