Online courses offer an opportunity to enhance student-athlete experiences
We regularly read of cheating scandals in college athletics. While the spotlight seems to be focused on the problem, the system continues to hand out punishments instead of focusing on implementing actual solutions. The current athletic system attempts to force student-athletes, with unique needs and expectations, into the slot of a traditional student. Or as the old saying goes, a square peg through a round hole.
Online courses appeal to student-athletes, who often have extremely busy academic and athletic calendars. The flexibility of online courses allow students to keep up with their course work while traveling to road games or juggling practice and meeting schedules. Online courses also offer the convenience of testing at any time, from any location. The problem is that athletic departments are tasked with policing themselves without the resources or tools to adequately do so. While at first glance it may appear that online classes afford greater opportunity to cheat, when well executed, the technology and structure of an online class can make cheating more difficult for students and interested parties.
Schools can utilize impartial third parties to monitor participation, identify plagiarism, track a student’s location, verify student identity, and act as exam proctor. All of these resources empower the student-athlete by enabling them to pursue distance learning while preventing cheating. If the NCAA wants to make large strides against these continually rampant cheating behaviors, they will need to begin considering these systems as a preventative measure, instead of functioning as a reactionary organization. Further, the NCAA can, and should, provide guidance and resources to help their member schools implement these valuable tools.
By pursuing this course of action, the NCAA can begin to repair the image of its programs as being plagued with cheating, as well as encourage their student athletes to make the most of the educational opportunities.
Read more about the NCAA’s latest investigation here