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.
If 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.