UBC investigating allegations of widespread cheating in first-year math exam
VANCOUVER -- More than 100 cases of possible cheating are under investigation at the University of British Columbia, all linked to one Math 100 midterm exam.
The allegations came to light over the weekend after someone shared a screenshot of a message from a UBC instructor on Reddit.
“I am extremely disappointed to tell you that there were over 100 cases of cheating. We are currently investigating these and, if confirmed, the students involved will receive a 0% for the course (not just the midterm) and I will recommend their expulsion from UBC," it reads.
Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs, told CTV News the university is aware of the allegations and is investigating.
"All incidents of academic misconduct or suspected academic misconduct is investigated, and there is a process that is followed and that process is being followed in this instance as well," Ramsey said.
Like most university courses right now, the Math 100 class in question is entirely online. Ramsey told CTV News there are 1,500 students enrolled with roughly 250 in each class.
“These exams in classes that are online, are delivered online and the university has remote proctoring software that enables faculty and TAs that are monitoring those classes to determine whether there is suspected academic misconduct,” he said.
"It’s an additional program that monitors the students as they write the exams, and enables the faculty and TAs to determine whether there’s any suspicious behaviour that’s occurring.”
That technology is being used by many universities across the country. It can monitor students’ behaviour, record any suspicious behaviours and even ask for a scan of the room. Students on campus told CTV News they are regularly reminded by their professors and TAs, there are ways to catch cheaters.
“If people want to cheat really badly, I’m sure they will always find a way to do it,” said UBC student Sartaj Singh. “We don’t have a robust system yet because online school is new for everyone.”
Ben Bouguerra, a Simon Fraser student told CTV News it's hard for professors to police people for cheating, especially with classes being online.
He heard stories of students Googling answers and said it all, “shows a real lack of regard for the honour system.”
Ramsey told CTV News the university takes all allegations of academic misconduct very seriously, but that they are rare.
“UBC is a globally ranked university and we hold our students to a high level of conduct,” he said. "We expect them to be honest and we expect them to be honest members of the community.”
The allegations go to the dean’s office first for a review, and penalties range from a warning to expulsion.