As long as there’s been formal education, students have been looking for ways to cheat. While many students will do their best and honestly engage with the materials, some will always look for the easy way to get good grades. That means cheating, copying answers, and doing whatever they can to avoid learning the material.
The internet has made this much more straightforward. Dozens of websites offer students fast access to everything from study guides to entire filled-in tests. Some can be used for honest studying, but they can also be used to cheat.
Chegg is the best-known of these sites, but it’s not alone. Here’s what you need to know about Chegg and its competitors, how they help students cheat, and what you can do to prevent them from impacting the academic integrity of your classes.
What Is Chegg?
Chegg is intended to be a 24/7 homework help website. It’s built to act as a kind of digital tutor. Its original purpose was to be an accessible and inexpensive way for students to get help studying and understanding their homework. The site offers many services, including:
- Homework help
- Exam prep and practice
- Topic breakdowns
- Textbook rentals
- Paper proofreading
Students can use all of these services in perfectly legitimate ways. However, the first two tools are also ripe for abuse.
Your students can go to Chegg and search or ask questions straight from your homework or online tests. They can use the answers they find as their own. Many Chegg “homework help” pages are simply answered homework sheets.
If you reuse your tests and homework assignments, your students may be able to search your exact questions and find answers from your past classes. Why? Because Chegg offers students money in exchange for homework sheets and answers. Yes, Chegg will pay your students to help your future classes cheat.
Of course, Chegg does offer anti-cheating tools for faculty, too. The site tracks IP addresses, emails, and account names to monitor who has accessed what materials. You can contact Chegg to determine whether your students have been accessing materials to cheat. Still, being able to track cheating after the fact is only necessary because Chegg enables it in the first place.
8 Sites Like Chegg That Students Use
Chegg is nowhere near the only site that offers students homework “help.” Plenty of other sites take advantage of the perennial student desire to study as little as possible. Like Chegg, many of these sites can be used to study honestly, but not all. Some of these sites are specifically built to help students cheat.
Knowing the different study “help” sites and how they work allows you to monitor them for leaked material. It can also help you spot and prevent cheating among your students, making it easier to maintain your courses’ academic integrity. Keep reading to discover the eight most common study “help” sites like Chegg and why you should care about their content.
Course Hero is a subscription-based service that offers 24/7 homework tutoring, just like Chegg. It also provides “Textbook Solutions & Explanations,” including step-by-step walkthroughs of homework problems in most common texts.
The tutoring element of Course Hero is valuable for any student that needs help. However, the step-by-step explanations make it difficult for professors to assign graded homework questions. Students can simply go on Course Hero and search for their textbook to discover the answer and turn it in as their own work.
Quizlet is a study website designed to help students quiz themselves on their courses. The site offers everything from flashcards to quizzes and multiple-choice tests. It’s an excellent way to memorize facts, such as dates, names, and medical terminology. Students can create their own Quizlet sets or use other students’ public sets.
The public sets are where problems with cheating arise. Students using standard textbooks, or even pupils from your previous courses, may put up entire Quizlet sets that include answers to homework questions and common definitions. Students can use Quizlet to quickly cheat on digital quizzes for classes like medical terminology.
OneClass brands itself as a personalized coursework help site based on community. It offers everything from homework help to class notes, study guides, textbook solutions, and more. The site actively offers current students “revenue” for uploading their notes and homework assignments.
Students can search the site to get help with their homework, but they can also get answers to any homework assignment that’s already been uploaded. They can even reach out to other students who’ve taken the class to get answers from them. OneClass is a one-stop shop for pupils who want someone else to do the work for them.
Bartleby is another textbook solution and homework help site. The platform brands itself as a way to study the questions professors haven’t assigned in a textbook. Still, students can absolutely look up answers to any questions in the books uploaded on the site.
Like other homework help sites, students can access tutors, homework helpers, and even an online writing center. However, the primary benefit of the site’s subscription service is the textbook solutions portion. Students who use Bartleby can access answers to the most common textbooks used by introductory courses nationwide.
Socratic is an app designed to help students study everything from math and biology to poetry. The program is an app powered by Google AI. The student takes a picture of the homework problem they’re struggling with, and the AI recognizes the subject and problem. Then it walks the student through the solution or explanation.
While Socratic is a helpful tool for learning on ungraded assignments, it presents problems on graded work. Students can use the app to solve their homework for them and use its explanations to “show their work.” That makes it difficult for teachers to identify that Socratic was used to do the homework unless the student uses a solution method different from what they were taught in class.
Photomath is specifically dedicated to helping students “learn” math. It’s both a digital platform and an app, so students can access it just about anywhere. Photomath allows you to upload a math question and walks you through the process of solving it. However, this also makes it a quick way for students to solve their homework problems without doing the work themselves.
Photomath is particularly tricky because it doesn’t rely on someone having uploaded answers to questions. The app can simply do the math itself. It even demonstrates how the student can show their work. The only way to genuinely prevent students from using Photomath is to require them to solve equations in a proctored environment without using their phones.
PaperCoach is specifically a homework completion service. People can use the service to have someone else write everything from essays to dissertations for them. The service allows lazy students to pay another writer to do their homework on their behalf. The tagline is even “We do your homework so that you don’t have to.” Obviously, this completely violates the concept of academic integrity.
School Solver is an online tutoring website that markets itself as offering help, not solutions. However, the platform doesn’t monitor how tutors and students interact. Students offer an amount of money for help on a question, and tutors will answer depending on whether they think the pay is worth it. Students who are willing to pay more for “help” are more likely to find a tutor who’s willing to simply do the homework assignment for them.
Talking to Your Class About Homework “Help” Websites
It’s almost impossible for you to prevent your students from accessing so-called homework help websites. Furthermore, many of these sites do offer valuable materials for students who simply want to study. The best way to manage these sites is to talk to your students about academic integrity and how these sites violate it, then follow these tips:
- Address academic integrity in your syllabus. Your syllabus should include a clear definition of academic integrity. Explain why cheating is bad: it prevents them from learning, so they won’t be prepared for future courses and are more likely to fail. You can also cover the social consequences of academic integrity.
- Define cheating. Next, explain what you consider cheating as opposed to using provided materials. Include an explanation of plagiarism, too.
- Set clear expectations. Once you’ve explained what you will treat as cheating, explain the consequences: automatic fails, a report to the Dean of Students, expulsion from the course, or anything else that you consider fair. Setting expectations early can help discourage pupils from considering cheating in the first place.
- Don’t name cheating sites, but explain that they aren’t worth it. Your students may take homework “help” sites at face value. Explain that copying answers from them is plagiarism or cheating just as much as copying an answer from a book. Don’t name any sites — they don’t need the advertisement — but make it clear that you can and will check to see if any students use answers from those platforms instead of doing the work themselves.
- Talk about cheating in class. Talk about everything mentioned above in class, too. Some pupils will simply ignore your syllabus. By going through these details during class time, you ensure that everyone is aware of your expectations, and no one will have the excuse that they “didn’t know.”
By including information about academic integrity in your syllabus and going over it in class, you reinforce that cheating is unacceptable. While you’ll never prevent it entirely, you can make sure that fewer students consider it a safe potential option.
Working with Students You Suspect Are Cheating
Even after you’ve had a class discussion about academic integrity, you’ll still run into students who prefer to cheat. When these people crop up, you’ll need to take steps to maintain the integrity of your courses yourself. Here’s how to manage students you believe are cheating through these sites:
- Check their work against different “help” sites. Many students will copy work word-for-word from homework sites. If you receive an answer that doesn’t match a student’s typical writing style, you can google their answer. You may see it pop up word for word, proving that they plagiarized it.
- Reach out to the sites you believe they used. Some students are canny enough to change the wording of copied assignments enough to pass plagiarism checks. If you still think someone’s cheating, you can reach out to the sites you think they used. For instance, Chegg will help you double-check to see if your students have been accessing their practice resources to copy them.
- Implement proctored tests. If you can’t find evidence that a student is cheating, you have another possible solution. Either bring the student on-campus for their tests or implement proctored online exams. A proctored exam prevents students from using other resources, so they can’t simply copy and paste answers. If a student’s grade drops dramatically after proctored tests, you can trust that you’ve prevented cheating successfully.
You can also work with platforms like Caduceus International Publishing to generate unique homework assignments for every class. This helps you avoid having your materials leaked online in the first place. As a result, students are less likely to find easy answers with a simple Google search and more likely to put in the work and learn the materials.
Keep Your Course Integrity Safe From Homework “Help” Sites
Sites like Chegg and others are a permanent part of the internet. Even if some of these sites are closed, others will arise in their places. Having a plan to address sites that aid cheating is critical for educators both online and in person.
By talking to your students about academic integrity, implementing unique content, and proctoring exams, you can reduce the impact of cheating on your courses. By understanding the sites they use, you can also identify cheating after the fact. In combination, these actions let you protect your students’ education and your institution’s reputation at the same time.