Monday, March 10, 2008

Face(book) off

The scenario is as follows:(article link here)

- Last semester Student at Ryerson University starts a Facebook study group for his first year Chemistry course.
- Students sign on and exchange ideas and ask questions about homework assignments.
- Professor gets wind of Facebook group, gives student who organized group an F and charges him with academic misconduct. The argument is that the homework assignments are supposed to be done individually with no assistance from fellow students and that the Facebook group is facilitating cheating.
-Student goes before committee today facing 146 counts of academic misconduct (one for each member of his Facebook group) to determine whether he will be expelled. As I write I haven't heard the outcome.

What do you think?

My thoughts, given the available info, are that this study group is the same as a bunch of students hanging out at the library exchanging thoughts and knowledge and doing homework (except they are doing it online). Only difference is that the Professor can go online and see how they talk to each other and exchange ideas and hence charge them with cheating cause he has a paper trail.

PhotobucketIf this is against school rules then if you've ever been doing a homework assignment gotten stuck and called your buddy at 11 o'clock to ask if he understands question 3 and ask how did he do it or what the final answer is supposed to be then you too are guilty of cheating. Way I see it that means that a lot of folks are guilty of cheating at University on homework assignments if there is to be no interaction amongst students when doing homework that they individually hand in.

Actually to go even further I think that idea goes against one of the fundamentals of what a University is really supposed to be ... a place to share knowledge. As the accused student says in the newspaper article "But if this kind of help is cheating, then so is tutoring and all the mentoring programs the university runs and the discussions we do in tutorials,"

Talking about and sharing when doing homework helps all parties involved in my opinion. Just going over the ideas and explaining them orally or in this case writing them out can open your eyes to concepts you might have missed making you a better student and more knowledgeable on the subject. Plus God knows some of these Professors cant teach worth a damn anyways.

Way I see it too, if you really don't want students talking and discussing the subject in an online forum, or by extension to my mind any sort of forum at all, the only way to deal with it is to not give homework for marks and just make the entire course's mark be based on exams, tests and quizzes done under supervision within class time.

13 comments:

Leon said...

I agree with the kid. He's probably in trouble because he used an unorthodox method of getting assistance.

Crankyputz said...

This is plain old Silly, and someting you would expect from UFT, not Ryerson.

Your absolutely right, the overall point of a university is a place of higher learning, where people gather to learn from each other.

This proff has something stuck up his behind, and obviously doesn't want to grow with the times. Hopefully wiser heads will prevail.

aquababie said...

this is so dumb. that teacher is an ass! i hope that kid doesn't get expelled.

bajansistren said...

And you know what makes it even more stupid? Ryerson is all about group work. I can guarantee that 95% of my courses involved some sort of group project. Even courses that I was convinced they could not find a way to make you do a group project, they did.

Mad Bull said...

You make some good points, I agree with you. Let us know the outcome nuh?

Mad Bull said...

You make some good points, I agree with you. Let us know the outcome nuh?

Amadeo said...

I hope he comes out on top and gets to laugh in their faces.

bakannal said...

i tried really hard to see the prof's side. i couldn't. deduction: he's an ass.

Campfyah said...

I think they should all carry the professor to court. What makes the assitance unorthodox? This is the 21 century and the students were using 21st centry methods of studying

Guyana-Gyal said...

Uh...so when students sit under the trees, in the library, sharing info, holding discussions...that's cheating?? I thought that was what tertiary institutions were all about.

Unless the fella had other people writing his work for him, and he submitted what others wrote, word for word.

GC said...

what was the teacher doing snooping on facebook anyway?

r-dean said...

i agree with the you and the student. it is exactly the same as sitting with your friends discussing and helping each other out. In the end, if you aren't really learning and just trying to cheat your way through, off your friends, your test marks and exams will show it. Learning is about discussing and sharing ideas with others AND helping others figure out what they can't on their own.

m said...

I wonder sometimes if (especially older) teachers are just plain old intimidated by the internet in general and Facebook in particular.

Another interesting yet decidedly different Facebook horror story:
http://nymag.com/news/features/45592/