Watch Out for the Cheater Chasers at Online Schools

When it comes to writing papers and taking tests, the temptation to find a shortcut…or maybe cheat just a little…can be almost overwhelming.

According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, the temptation is even stronger for many students attending school online – no one is standing right in the room with them when they study or take a test, after all.

For international students, there can also be cultural differences that promote plagiarism (considered cheating in the U.S.) that lead students to make authenticity mistakes.

At Bottega University, we have tools in place that not only help to catch “cheaters” but also help us more accurately identify errors (like citations) so we can provide needed support.

Many of these tools are outlined in this article.

For example, Bottega employs online proctoring services for exams.  In fact, there have been instances when students mouth words and the proctor raised a red flag because it appeared the student was talking to someone else. The student verified that no one was in the room by panning the camera around the room.  He was reading aloud to himself.

Content/plagiarism checker:

Before students submit their written assignments for evaluation, they are required to submit their work through  It compares every word written to most everything on the world wide web, AND to all student work submitted to the site.

It generates a report showing all matches!  And yes, the evaluators look at those reports.  And if a paper has more than 30% matching other sources and/or does not properly cite the sources, the student’s work will be rejected.

As the article says, most of the time when there is a problem, it is usually inadvertent and a little bit of training on paraphrasing and citations will do the trick for the rest of their college writing career.

Sometimes, it takes a lot more training. And, though rare, sometimes repeat offenders require more severe consequences.  (Students don’t want that and the university does not want that. )

Human evaluators:  Live people are grading the written assignments.  Many times it is the same person who grades all the assignments for a given course.  They will know when they have seen the paper before.

There are even staff tasked with chasing down cheaters…and they search beyond the confines of the school’s systems.  I promise, you do not want them investigating you.

The main tip from this article?  Just do your own work.  It not only will cause fewer problems as you get through school, but also leaves your integrity and dignity in tact.

And those characteristics will have more power in your career than any diploma ever can.

Think you might be a good fit for an online degree?  Check out our programs at

Bottega University. Your degree. Your way.