Cheating vs. Checking

Is the use of online programs infringing on cheating?


Infographic by L. Chandler

Responses from a survey held on the Norse News Instagram page reflect how to most students, homework-helping sites are seen as more of an opportunity to learn than an opportunity to cheat.

In the modern era of online learning, there is a blurred line between using resources wisely and cheating. Websites such as Chegg are considered by some to be dishonest and on the verge of cheating.

Chegg is a program where one can type in a question and receive step-by step solutions within an hour as well as an online source for tutors. While this may be used as a study tool to receive the right solutions and learn from mistakes, people are taking advantage of Chegg and copying the answers for assignments.

Chegg describes itself as “a way to finish homework faster.” This statement could be interpreted as the program encouraging users to quickly receive answers to homework problems. This site has a more brief way to comprehend the material rather than a step-by-step guided lesson. 

“Chegg’s homework help, study and note services are available as merely informational and study aids and should not be considered substitutes for applicable coursework, homework…you specifically agree not to use, claim, or submit as your own any portion of the help materials,” Chegg’s terms and conditions said.  

While Chegg and sites similar to it can be used for plagiarism, they also have benefits to the average student. Rather than using these sites to purely get homework, one may use them for understanding concepts better when seeing the full, easily explained solutions displayed in front of them. 

Eliza Hammett (10), believes that these programs can sometimes be considered useful to a student. 

I don’t see it as cheating if you use it for the right reasons,” Hammett said. 

Other students seem to agree, with 83% of students having used a site like this before and 91% who don’t consider it cheating. In the online learning environment, students don’t get one-on-one feedback with their teachers as easily. Programs like these, when used correctly, allow students another resource to comprehending the material. 

However, some teachers seem to disagree. Math teacher Jim Lamb believes that if the work is not one’s own, then it is considered cheating.  

“Any graded assignments should be your work and only your work. Using these programs to get answers on how to do the work is not your work,” Lamb said.  

Other programs such as Khan Academy are more comprehension based rather than a resource for finding answers simply to complete an assignment. Khan Academy has online lessons taught by professionals along with self-paced quizzes and activities. It takes a more noticeable amount of time but is a much more trusted by teachers and students alike.