Cheating in our careers means accuracy

Let me be clear: I am not advocating for us to start cheating in class. However, does it not seem ridiculous that the use of Google is so frowned upon in the classroom?It looks like, year after year, Georgia State cracks down on cheating more and more. Many professors have outright banned electronics in the classroom. The professional world does not mirror the classroom climate; in fact, our careers will embrace Google as a resource.

During my sophomore year of college, I had the opportunity to intern at a law firm. I accumulated a sizable library of law and legal processes but, of course, I don’t know everything. For what I didn’t know, there was a collection of resources in the office.

Still, my first stop was Google for any questions I had.

Google is its own verb now. “Yeah, let me google that” is something many, if not all of us, have said without thinking. We do it in our personal lives, and we are now entering an era where it is encouraged in our professional lives.

A Google search in a classroom can warrant not only a failing grade but potentially expulsion.

This is not only a flawed system but a backward one. Most tests don’t measure comprehension; they measure retention. They measure how well you remember the information, not if you meaningfully understand it. 

What’s the point of knowing that Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached if you don’t understand why he was in the first place?

Now, I could critique the American education system as a whole, but let’s begin with this bit that we could tackle now, much more easily than other issues. If we are expected to find the answer online at our workplaces, why can’t we do that in the classroom? 

I’m a customer service staff member at Publix, and customers come to my desk or call the store asking about different products, like whether we have it in stock or whether it works well with this product or not. If I don’t know the answer off the top of my head, I’m expected to use online resources to find it.

This is a common practice in many modern workplaces. And yet in our classrooms, we are often told to leave our phones in our bags, laptops closed. As former Georgia State student Tai Jones explained, “Once I graduated, I googled practically everything in terms of my work. My professors really made it seem like using the Internet was the worst thing possible. But even my boss does it.”

If Georgia State was indeed the innovative university it so often likes to proclaim that it is, then it’s time to update the model. Encourage the use of diverse research methods in the classroom so that we do not rely so heavily on Google and Wikipedia for everything. Don’t just teach the material; show us where to find it and why it matters in the grand scheme of things because cheating isn’t what you made it out to be.