A Ku Indeed!

Facebook Cheaters?

Posted in Pedagogy by Chris on March 19, 2008

facebook-productivityjpg.jpgI’ve got to admit — Facebook holds no interest for me anymore. It pretty seriously “jumped the shark” a while ago for me. There was a time when I thought it was interesting, but it just strikes me as intensely boring now. As a result, I don’t write about it here anymore. But…I saw this article at CNN on a student who was almost expelled due to “Facebook cheating” and I figured I toss up a post on it. It pretty clearly seem to me like an open and shut case of outright cheating to me, but apparently many are debating whether it really is cheating. Read the article — I’m curious to know what you think.

5 Responses

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  1. eyeingtenure said, on March 20, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    This is just high-grade homework copying. It would be wrong to treat it any differently.

    Given that math homework does not ask students to create an original work but instead to follow an established procedure, I certainly wouldn’t put it in the same category of plagiarism, which is the sort of thing that usually inspires the “immediate expulsion” policies.

    Calling it even cheating might be a little harsh, too.

    Given that this is a university, I’m surprised homework is even part of the grade.

  2. Amy said, on March 21, 2008 at 9:01 am

    I’m not sure how the student was cleared of academic misconduct yet still punished. That makes no sense. What exactly is he being punished for if not misconduct? Sounds like some kind of weird compromise. I know that sometimes when I catch students plagiarizing, they’ll be willing to take the punishment but flip out at the idea of me informing the academic integrity council, even though they don’t dole out punishment. They don’t like the idea of a formal accusation or plagiarism being “on their record,” even though it doesn’t show up on their transcript.

  3. Million said, on March 21, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I’m not defending the guy (especially after reading how the Professor stated that no outside help could be given and he ignored it), but there is a tendency by some Professors to give students a book, an assignment, and call that teaching. Especially in the hard sciences. I had a friend at UMR, for example who was repeatedly snubbed by Professors when he came to them for help. They diden’t see it as “part of their duties.” Listening to a lecture and doing what the teacher says may be a required part of college but treating knowledge like it should exist (and be learned in) a vacuum doesn’t do anyone any service. That’s one reason why we go to college and don’t teach ourselves.

    The cool thing about Web 2.0 is that it is creating a lot of unique ways for people to work collaboratively. There is going to be some tension while teaching models, students, and teachers adapt to these collaborative tools but they offer something that the old, lecture driven, European academic model dosen’t; accessible involvement.

  4. Chris said, on March 21, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Eye: is homework copying not cheating?

    Amy: I’m sure that’s exactly what happened. I think you’re right about the “labeling” fear. I’ve had students express worries to me over the years about all sorts of stuff winding up in their “file” (I mean stuff that would never be in anyone’s file). Some students have a real “Big Brother” view of the university. Still, that’s why punishment is no big deal — no one knows about it.

    Million: no doubt you’re right about some professors. But still, there seems to me to be too high a percentage of students who are willing to cheat. Maybe it was always this high, I don’t know. But it seems high to me. And I somehow doubt that this sort of stuff is “collaborating.” I have no problem with working together. But just getting the answers has no significant pedagogical or education function whatsoever.

  5. Amy said, on March 21, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    It depends somewhat on what “the answers” are. You know, most math textbooks have half the answers in the back. But what you’re actually tested on is knowing how to get there.

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