Toward the end of the fall 2020 semester, Texas A&M University announced they are investigating what they called a "large scale cheating" situation that reportedly was uncovered by professors who noticed some online students were answering test questions too quickly, among other issues.
The university confirmed to ABC13 that their cheating numbers have increased year over year, but did not provide specifics.
This is their statement on the current situation:
"While we obviously cannot and will not comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, we are committed to administering a fair process as outlined in our Student Rules, while upholding the integrity of the degrees awarded by the university," then-Provost Carol A. Fierke said.
RELATED: Texas A&M investigates 'large scale' cheating case in era of online classes
TAMU isn't the only institution reporting increases.
University of Houston reports that they saw 204 reported cases of cheating in fall 2019, compared to 489 in fall 2020.
Texas State University reports that investigations that resulted in sanctions were 138 in fall 2019 and 162 in fall 2020.
"It didn't become easier or less easy [to cheat] than before," said Victoria Mrosek, of Scribbr, an online academic support services platform. "I really see no connection. I just see students being under a lot of pressure these days."
Scribbr is a global company that focuses on providing students around the world with virtual academic support services.
Editing, proofreading and checking for plagiarism are some just of the services they offer.
Mrosek tells ABC13 that their company isn't out to catch students cheating, but rather the opposite. It aims to provide students with the tools needed to do honest work.
For their plagiarism services, the company uses an algorithm to check the student's work to see if any phrases are flagged, Mrosek explained. The process, depending on the length of the paper, can take as little five minutes.
The students they serve are looking for extra assurance that the work they've done is solid. Mrosek adds that it is unfair to assume all students would cheat when given the opportunity.
"We also provide a lot of content and material to learn from and you see [the students] understand a similarity, per-say, is not a problem," she said. "[The student] just has to make sure to deliver the reference or that [they] re-phrase it."
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