How Can My Professor Tell I am Cheating with Online Resources?

Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, students and professors have all had to adapt to online teaching and learning. Among the many challenges that this adjustment has presented is the increased specter of online cheating.

As the opportunity for students to cheat or plagiarize has increased, so too has the opportunity for professors to accuse their students of cheating without proof. But sometimes, professors can tell when their students are cheating.

At DC Student Defense, we represent students who have been accused of all kinds of offenses, and we know how this works.

Here are 4 common ways for professors to monitor their students during exams, and what to do if you find yourself accused of cheating.

4 Ways Professors Monitor their Students


Many of these programs have been around for years, but have seen increased use because of the increase in online teaching and learning during the pandemic.

All of them have their pros and cons, but they all provide professors with the opportunity to accuse their online students of cheating.

  • Online proctoring: This method can either involve automated proctoring programs that monitor your behavior through your webcam, or a live proctor who watches the class through their webcams in person. Automated programs can be unreliable, and often identify innocent behavior as signs of cheating.
  • Identity authentication programs: These programs can range from sending in a picture of yourself, to keystroke recognition, and even to scanning your fingerprint before taking an exam. These tend to be effective deterrents against impersonation, although they do little to prevent other types of cheating, and they can be costly for the school.
  • Secure exam browsers: One of the most common deterrents against online cheating involves the student downloading a software onto their computer that will control what windows they can open and what they can access through their browser. These programs can also monitor the student’s computer activity.
  • Plagiarism detection software: This is the most universally-used method of monitoring students for online cheating, and is often used for in-person classes as well. These programs scan the students’ essays or written work and compare it to data from the internet to see if any sections of the students’ work were plagiarized. These softwares are also notoriously unreliable.

What should I do if I am accused of online cheating


Despite your best efforts to comply with all of your professors’ rules, you may still find yourself in a situation where you’ve been accused of cheating.

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself against academic consequences.

  • First of all, read through your official accusation carefully to make sure you understand everything that you’re being accused of, and that you’re familiar with your school’s guidelines for pursuing cheating accusations.
  • Next, make sure you don’t talk to anyone at your school about the accusations– especially the professor. Don’t try to argue with them or defend yourself without first talking to an attorney.
  • Finally, you’ll want to contact a student defense attorney who has experience defending students against accusations of cheating. These attorneys will know exactly what evidence you’ll need to gather to support your side, and how to defend your rights from being violated by your university.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC | Attorney Advertising

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Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC

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