Reports of academic misconduct increased at the University of Oklahoma last year as the state's largest college implemented a new system that allowed students to make reports of suspected cheating.
At Oklahoma State University, the state's second-largest university, reports of cheating or other academic misconduct fell sharply.
According to OU, there were 380 reports of academic misconduct during the 2011-12 school year, nearly 100 more than the previous year.
Of the 380 reports, only 171 were turned into actual cases that can be shared with other universities. The other 209 reports resulted in warnings for the students involved, meaning they can't be reported outside of OU.
Jillian Lundie, an OU student and chair of the university's Integrity Council, said warnings were issued beginning in the fall of 2003 “for cases that do not meet the level of a full violation.”
Lundie said the increase in reports of possible cheating likely can be explained by the change in protocol at the university's Office of Academic Integrity Programs.
“In fall 2011, we transitioned to a new student-run system, which made reporting easier and less time-consuming for professors, and also gave students the ability to report instances of misconduct,” she said.
Lundie said the university is “pleased” with the new system, adding that cases are resolved faster and more students become involved in the process.
At OU, cases of cheating and academic misconduct rose sharply as use of the Internet became more widespread.
In the 1990s, most of which was Internet-free, cheating cases were usually held to less than 100 per year at OU.
But that changed as more and more students became familiar with finding information online, including websites that assisted them in cheating.
Gregory Heiser, director of OU's academic integrity programs, said that as students “who had been using the Internet as a tool all the way through high school” began enrolling at the university a decade ago, the reports of cheating and other misconduct reached a “high-water mark.”
Indeed, by the end of the 2003-04 school year, reports of academic misconduct reached 290, a figure that had grown by more than 300 percent in just five years.