Academic Cheating and Restitution?


I’ve recently recollected a morally questionable scenario from my past and was hoping for some moral guidance on this point.

Basically, in my last semester of junior college I was taking an online course and as part of this course we had short weekly online quizzes. I wasn’t entirely sure if these quizzes were “open book” or not, but judging by the specificity of the questions it seemed the only reasonable explanation was that these quizzes were intended to be “open book” because without being told what was on the quiz beforehand it seemed absurd to expect people to essentially memorize entire chapters per week. Having open book online quizzes wasn’t unusual at this college so I didn’t bother asking the instructor. In addition to this point, on some quizzes I remember simply looking up answers on the internet to save time rather than go through the book.

In retrospect however my conscience seems a bit troubled by this, thinking that maybe I was in the wrong here and this could be considered cheating. Afterwards I graduated and transferred to a 4 year school to get my Bachelors. And I’m just wondering now how that class might have impacted things for me. What if I was actually cheating and I didn’t deserve to pass the class, graduate, and move on to my transfer school? Would this scenario mean my degrees are illegitimate? Is there any restitution I have to make for this? I have the tendency to be scrupulous but I’m finding it hard to reason through this moral scenario and would appreciate solid guidance on this.


If you believed that they were open book, there was no cheating, no sin, no restitution needed.


Agree with the above poster. I’ve always believed (and been told by teachers) that they are online for a reason. If the teacher didn’t want you to cheat, they could force you to install an internet blocker to make sure you only stay on the webpage, or even just print out the quizzes and do them in class.


I can’t imagine how it could be cheating, unless of course you were **told **that such quizzes were not open book.



Sounds like it was not cheating. Online courses tend to be open book quizzes, unless you were to come on campus and attend a proctored exam that was not open book.

But let’s say it was cheating. You’d be motivated to do restitution if your conscience is bothering you like that.

OK, how would you do restitution?

Maybe ask to retake the quizzes and have your grade re-graded based on the new quizzes. Do you remember everything from that class? You’d fail the quizzes.

So this is not a reasonable expectation.

But wait. Let’s say your conscience pushes you to ask.

Contact the professor, who most likely is an adjunct professor. Adjuncts only work for that semester on a course by course basis.

So first, the professor probably doesn’t work there anymore and you can’t contact the professor, so you can’t even do this.

So, not only is it not cheating, you have no idea on how to do restitution, and even if you could, you could not even do it.

So why the guilt?


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