The Academic Integrity Technological Arms Race and its Impact on Learning, Teaching, and Assessment


  • Sarah Elaine Eaton University of Calgary



academic integrity, academic misconduct, technology, text-matching software, artificial intelligence, online proctoring


This essay discusses the technological arms race that has developed in response to academic cheating. The author highlights three technological advances that impact academic integrity, from oldest to newest: a) text-matching software, b) online exam proctoring software, and c) artificial intelligence and Large Language Models (LLMs). This essay argues that there is no “silver bullet” to preventing or investigating academic misconduct and that our ethical obligations for learning, teaching, and assessment must include a human focus to promote student success.

Author Biography

Sarah Elaine Eaton, University of Calgary

Sarah Elaine Eaton is an Associate Professor at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. Her recent books include Plagiarism in Higher Education: Tackling Tough Topics in Academic Integrity (2021), Academic Integrity in Canada: An Enduring and Essential Challenge (Eaton & Christiansen Hughes, eds., 2022), and Contract cheating in higher education: Global perspectives on theory, practice, and policy (Eaton, Curtis, Stoesz, Rundle, Clare, & Seeland, eds., 2022).


American College of Radiology. (n.d.). What is a Radiologist?

Anderson, T., Rourke, L., Garrison, D. R., & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing teacher presence in a computer conferencing context. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5(2), 1-17.

Berkey, D., & Halfond, J. (2015). Cheating, Student Authentication and Proctoring in Online Programs. New England Journal of Higher Education, 1-1.

Bertram Gallant, T. (2008). Academic integrity in the twenty-first century: A teaching and learning imperative. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Bretag, T., & Mahmud, S. (2009). A model for determining student plagiarism: Electronic detection and academic judgement. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 6(1).

Chrysanthos, N. (2020, May 22). 'You’re being watched and recorded, every breath': Students unsettled by exam software. The Sydney Morning Herxald.

Clarke, R., & Lancaster, T. (2006). Eliminating the successor to plagiarism: Identifying the usage of contract cheating sites. Paper presented at the Second International Plagiarism Conference, The Sage Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom.

Dans, E. (2019, February 6). Meet Bertie, Heliograf And Cyborg, the new journalists on the block. Forbes.

Dawson, P. (2020). Strategies for Using Online Invigilated Exams.

Dayma, B., & Cuenca, P. (2022, June 28). DALL·E mini: Generate Images from any text prompt. Weights and Biases.

Dubiansky, S. (2020, October 28). Students speak out on controversial lockdown browsers for online courses. Technician Online.

Eaton, S. E. (2020). E-Proctoring: Understanding the debate about invigilating remote exams.

Eaton, S. E. (2021). Plagiarism in higher education: Tackling tough topics in academic integrity. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Eaton, S. E., Mindzak, M., & Morrison, R. (2021, June 1). The impact of text-generating technologies on academic integrity: AI & AI Canadian Association for the Study of Educational Administration (CASEA), University of Alberta [online].

Eaton, S. E., Stoesz, B. M., Godfrey Anderson, J. R., & LeBlanc-Haley, J. (2022, April 25). Academic integrity through an equity lens: Policy analysis of universities in Atlantic Canada American Educational Research Association (AERA) [online], San Diego, USA.

Garrison, D. R., & Cleveland-Innes, M. (2005). Facilitating cognitive presence in online learning: Interaction is not enough. American Journal of Distance Education, 19(3), 133-148.

Hayden, K. A., Eaton, S. E., Pethrick, H., Crossman, K., Lenart, B. A., & Penaluna, L. A. (2021). A scoping review of text-matching software used for student academic integrity in higher education. Education Research International, 2021, 1-15.

Howard, R. M. (2001). Forget about policing plagiarism. Just teach. The Chronicle of Higher Education, B24.

Lancaster, T. (2022, May 6). Artificial intelligence led threats to academic integrity [online] European Network on Academic Integrity (ENAI) 8th European Conference on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism (ECAIP) 2022, Porto, Portugal.

Lang, J. M. (2013). Cheating lessons: Learning from academic dishonesty. Harvard, MA: Harvard University Press.

McKenzie, L. (2021, April 6). Proctoring Tool Failed to Recognize Dark Skin, Students Say. Inside Higher Ed.

Moro, J. (2020). Against cop shit. Jeffreymoro,com.

Morris, E. J. (2016). Academic Integrity: A Teaching and Learning Approach. In T. Bretag (Ed.), Handbook of Academic Integrity (pp. 1037-1053). Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Mortati, J., & Carmel, E. (2021). Can we prevent a technological arms race in university student cheating? Computer.

Parnther, C., & Eaton, S. E. (2021, June 23). Academic integrity and anti-Black aspects of educational surveillance and e-proctoring. Teachers College Record.

Rich, S. (2022). The new poem-making machinery. The New Yorker.

Rowland Williams, J. (2021, November 1). Rethinking Assessment, Equity and Academic Integrity. Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Seabrook, J. (2019, October 14). The next word: Where will predictive text take us? The New Yorker.

Sharples, M. (2022). New AI tools that can write student essays require educators to rethink teaching and assessment. LSE Blog.

Stoesz, B. M., & Eaton, S. E. (2020). Academic integrity policies of publicly funded universities in western Canada. Educational Policy.

Stoesz, B. M., Eaton, S. E., Miron, J. B., & Thacker, E. (2019). Academic integrity and contract cheating policy analysis of colleges in Ontario, Canada. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 15(4), 1-18.

Swauger, S. (2020, June 7). Taking Back the Narrative of Ed Tech. Shea Swauger.

Talview. (2016). Online Proctoring is Trending: Here is All You Must Know.

Thomas, J., & Scott, J. (2016). UK perspectives on academic integrity. In T. Bretag (Ed.), Handbook of Academic Integrity (pp. 39-53). Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (Eds.). (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments. Athabasca University Press.

Vogt, L., & Mercer, B. (2022, May 19). Getting off the beaten path… Authentic assessments that enhance teaching, learning, and academic integrity [online]. Paper presented at the Academic Integrity Inter-Institutional Meeting (AIIIM) 2022, Winnipeg, Canada.

Weber-Wulff, D. (2016). Plagiarism detection software: Promises, pitfalls, and practices. In T. Bretag (Ed.), Handbook of Academic Integrity (pp. 625-638). Singapore: Springer Singapore.