Academic Integrity During the Pandemic


Sana Haidary

What started as two extra weeks off from school has turned into months of staying at home and attempting to study through laptop screens. This new method of learning is not ideal, but we are trying to make the best of what we are provided due to the circumstances. The pandemic has put a halt on our social life and experiences, and has also changed the way we have had to learn. The pandemic’s impact on our education is drastic, and we all have learned to adapt to a new style of learning. The laptop screens, which are our only form of communication, give us a more lax environment, unintentionally making us procrastinate. Phones near us, the comfort of our beds, and the luxury of keeping our screens and microphones off present us with excuses and reasons to focus on everything other than school. Sure, some extra time to sleep during class seems like a good plan, but the topics we missed and don’t pay attention to are hard to catch up on.

This is especially true when it comes to online classes, where not many people are not comfortable with approaching teachers and asking for help when they need it. As much effort as teachers put in, physically asking for help as opposed to reaching out online is not the same idea. Procrastination and not paying attention hurt us in the future when we miss material we are being tested on. But due to circumstances, even tests are online… with the luxury of so much of the internet, apps, and websites with answers to our tests available. Why even pay attention in class? We could just search for answers to our tests and still score a good grade without learning anything. Without retaining any information, you have scored a 6 or a 7. But how is this going to help you in the long run when the pandemic dies down, and school goes back to normal as it has already been starting?

By putting in minimal effort on learning, tests, and paying attention in class, how are we going to get back on track for actually preparing for tests? Tests where proctors are present and surveillance is much heavier? Websites like Chegg or Course Hero have been more popular since the pandemic provides answers for almost every question. But we can’t blame cheating on just laziness or procrastination. I understand how learning math concepts or chemistry lab experiments cannot be learned through computer screens, but cheating is not an acceptable way of helping yourself in the long run. What happens when we have to write the same thing during physical tests when there is nothing to help us? Don’t be scared to reach out and ask for help when you need it. These are difficult times for everyone, but as things – thankfully – slowly return to normal, the ways we learn must too.