Online sources leave fine line between cheating and resources for students

Students+use+websites+such+as+slader+to+get+help+with+homework.+

Megan Neal

Students use websites such as slader to get help with homework.

Megan Neal, Print Editor

As technology advances, it is becoming more common to look answers up online. With a quick search online, students can easily find photocopies, answer keys and summaries of almost all worksheets and homework they receive, some even with step-by-step explanations. Though this may seem like plain cheating, since answers can be copied down without needing to do any thinking, some students find these websites to be helpful to check a problem or two to make sure they are understanding the concept, or to explain a difficult problem. With the way students use these websites, it can be hard to decide if they are a way to enable cheating or a resource for students.

Sophomore Gracie Petzoldt defines cheating as not doing one’s own work and looking up answers.

“To an extent, it’s cheating,” Petzoldt said. “If you’re just writing down answers, then I think it’s cheating.”

Petzoldt sees the positives and negatives of using these websites, such as Slader, which is a free website that shows step-by-step explanations and answers almost every problem in textbooks.

“If you’re just checking your answers or you don’t know how to do something, it shows you exactly how to do it and is helpful,” Petzoldt said.  “I’ve checked my answers on there before to get help.”

Petzoldt said the main difference between cheating and using resources it that there are no educational benefits from cheating, while when a student uses something for a resources they typically learn to do something. Petzoldt thinks teachers would disagree with her.

“Teachers think you have to do everything yourself and you can’t get any outside help,” Petzoldt said.

Though freshman Devin Rice personally doesn’t use these websites, he still thinks using answers from online is not cheating.

“I don’t think using online stuff is cheating,” Rice said. “Cheating is when you have your phone out during a test or something.”

Rice agrees with Petzoldt on the difference between the two.

“If you use it to get all the answers, then it is kind of cheating,” Rice said. “If you only check your answers and do some of you own work, then it’s fine.”