Behavioral methods focus on affecting the attitudes of students toward online assessment. Shaping and managing student perceptions does not require investment in expensive technology. Encouraging student participation in the creation of academic honesty policies requires efforts that go beyond individual course design but may prove effective in shifting student attitudes toward assessment in online as well as in face-to-face situations. Students may take assessment more seriously if they perceive it to be closely related to their career or life goals; thus, relating an assessment to a professional exam or certification test may reduce the inclination to cheat since this may jeopardize future performance on a real-world exam (Underwood 2003).
On the other hand, changing attitudes can be time-consuming, often requiring broad institutional support. Lack of campuswide policies on academic integrity may hamper efforts to change student attitudes. Individual course policies are only effective if students read them, learn them, and agree to abide by them for the duration of the term. In this case, including strong academic honesty statements in the course syllabus as well as an acknowledgement immediately prior to every online quiz did not seem to limit cheating behavior. Northwestern University's School of Education has taken this approach even further by requiring students to pass a quiz on the handbook before allowing them to register for classes (Stock 2004).
Establishing trust and affecting perceptions in an online environment raises important questions that deserve the attention of researchers.
Stock, E. 2004. Colleges attempt to draw the fine line between collaboration, cheating. Daily Northwestern, May 21. http://media.www.dailynorthwestern.com
/Colleges.Attempt.To.Draw.The.Fine.Line.Between.Collaboration.Cheating-1914998.shtml (accessed July 6, 2008). Archived at http://www.webcitation.org/5Z5vlwQJg.
Underwood, J. D. M. 2003. Student attitudes towards socially acceptable and unacceptable group working practices. British Journal of Psychology 94 (3): 319-337.