Students with Slader: A Fine Line Between Studying and Copying


Photo by Jenny Won

With the rise of homework help apps like Slader, some students may rely on online services to finish assignments.

Jenny Won, Business Team

Nowadays, simply taking a picture of a complicated math problem on your phone can get you a solution. Apps like Photomath utilize artificial intelligence to solve equations automatically. Another student favorite is Slader, an app that contains databases with entire textbooks’ worth of user-uploaded homework solutions. And that’s not all: HwPic, Wolfram Alpha, Socratic, MathWay, MathPapa — the list goes on.

Homework apps can be a highly useful tool. Though many textbooks include answers to select questions in the back of the book, these usually do not include every problem and fail to explain the steps taken to reach the answer. When students get stuck on a particular question, having a resource like Slader provide the solution with a detailed explanation can be helpful.

“With apps like Slader, you can check how one problem is solved and then apply that knowledge to similar problems,” junior Jimmy Kang said. “The alternative would be to just stay stuck on one difficult question when you could have been spending that time solving other questions and getting more practice.”

Homework apps allow students to correct their answers before submitting an assignment. By catching their mistakes beforehand, students can check their understanding and fix any misconceptions they have.

On the other hand, students can easily abuse Slader and similar apps as a way to complete homework assignments without any work of their own. Because teachers have no way to regulate whether students are using an app to find answers for entire assignments, some teachers may consider using homework apps academic dishonesty.

“If you use Slader for entire assignments, it’s essentially just copying,” math department chair Shelley Godett said. “There’s certainly a benefit to being able to immediately get help when you can’t ask your teacher or compare answers with a friend, but apps like Slader make it easier for students to give up on a question too quickly.”

When used as a tool to supplement one’s learning, homework apps can save time and provide an immense benefit to students. However, if not used in moderation, students run the risk of crossing the line to cheating.