succumbing to peer pressure

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Academic Integrity

So two of my students (allegedly) cheated on last week's homework assignment*. And I got all worked up and cranky about it, but what's made things even worse is the number of my colleagues who've responded with, wow, I'm glad you're not my TA, you're a hardass, you're totally overreacting. And yes, it's 'just' a homework assignment. But cheating is cheating and I find it deeply offensive. Not to mention incredibly troubling how many of my colleagues are not bothered by it. In high school I was taught that cheating and plagiarizing were like the 8th deadly sin and my freshman year of college I had a 'plagiarism scare'** which resulted in me thinking that I would lose my scholarship and maybe get kicked out of school. So, yeah, I take these things personally. But shouldn't we? When my students cheat it offends me as their TA because they thought I was too dumb/careless to notice and it offends me as their colleague because it means the degree we will one day have in common is worth less to them than it is to me, thus devaluing mine. We're in fucking graduate school people! Supposedly, we're all grown-ups here, and we can make decisions. So if an assignment drops too low on the priority list, just don't do it! Or do some part of it! But take responsibility for your own work! Care enough about the thing you're pouring $35,000 a year into not to print out some other student's work and slap your name on it!

*the homework assignment was a computer program, and two students handed in, literally, the exact same program. down to the typos and formatting. even if you're going to work together, which is allowed, you should turn in your own work, featuring your own commenting and coding style.

**freshman physics lab, my labmate turned in my lab report with her name on. claimed she didn't know that was 'wrong.' We both got zeros on the assignment and letters in our files for the remainder of our time at Case saying we'd been caught cheating.


Blogger blithering moron said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:16 AM  
Anonymous Sid said...

Happy birthday. There, now I have proof I remembered.

~El Syd

5:00 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I got into trouble because there was no way to prove that I was the one who had done the work.

Thanks Sid! And thanks for the phone call too! Very sweet. :-)

4:49 PM  
Blogger bionicjam said...

saw your blog on cheating and i got to say nothing pisses me off more. i go to uga and got expelled from grad school because i didn't cheat (i'm back in now). the others that did cheat in my program have all graduated from now. so when i catch a cheater in one of my undergrad classes i TA, well there isn't even a word for it in hell what i put them through, since our university turns a blind eye to cheaters.

good to see ethics and morals haven't been copmpletely tossed aside

have a good one

8:58 PM  

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