Academic Dishonesty during Distance Learning

Academic integrity is officially defined by the IBO as “the foundation for ethical decision-making and behavior in the production of legitimate, authentic, and honest scholarly work.” It is valued by the IB to an extent that they have a full-length, 54-page policy booklet mostly discussing its implications and importance across the whole curriculum. Distance learning has posed many challenges to our community, as either a student, teacher, or a staff, with many challenges. Without a doubt, the management of academic dishonesty is one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome.


To be direct, it is definitely indisputable that the academic honesty of students in UNIS Hanoi is not guaranteed to its full extent. I’m fairly convinced everyone has either heard or experienced academic dishonesty in some form. Listening to accounts of cheating from classmates, utilizing unallowed resources during exams, discussing the answers to questions from tests among different blocks, and so on. As mentioned, there is no one definitive solution to resolving the academic disintegrity present in our community. Instead, all the stakeholders involved in the community – students, teachers, and parents – could do something to minimize the impact placed upon other students under the risk of unfair opportunities.  


Students should, at all times, remember the emphasis the IB places upon protecting academic integrity throughout the whole community. We should also be reminded that all tests and assessments have a common purpose of preparing us for the final IB exams – if you know you can’t cheat in the finals, why would you do it for an in-class test? In-class tests are provided to us as opportunities for our teachers to give us additional assistance if required. Students engaging in cheating should remember the fact that they’re ruining such fair opportunities provided to all students. 


Even though teachers have been working hard to provide students with the fairest opportunities possible, whether the use of internet platforms such as is effective enough is debatable. Many students in the school have more than two devices: locking students’ laptops only isn’t a method that could prevent cheating. Instead, the teachers could request for a wide-angled view of the working space of the students while utilizing at the same time. It would be most important for teachers to constantly monitor their students during the exam sessions as well. Furthermore, parents could act as additional supervisors to their children during the exams, communicating along with the teachers so that they are ensured their children adhere to the rules provided. 


With such multidimensional efforts to minimize classroom misconduct, our community will hopefully secure academic integrity despite online learning environments. Of course, there will always be students who will still choose to cheat in exams despite such group efforts. If you are one of those, do remember that your act of ignorance indubitably distresses many students, teachers, and staff members: it makes easy things hard.