Online Cheaters Are Good Little Spinmeisters

from the cheat-away dept

Online cheating is an old, old story by this point. Everyone knows that lots of kids go online to cheat. However, when one professor discovered that a large percentage of one of her colleague’s students were cheaters, she decided to do some research and get their opinions on cheating. What she and some other colleagues found was that the cheaters are “good little spinmeisters.” That is, they’re great at rationalizing away the cheating. Some point out that they were still learning — and that the “cheating” helped enforce learning the material. Others blamed the “system” for making the answers available. Of course, it’s easy to laugh off this rationalization, as kids trying to talk their way out of being in trouble. However, there is another way of looking at it as well. As we’ve discussed in the past, the it’s often important for students to learn how to research and how to use information, so perhaps it’s time to figure out ways to make tests that are impervious to cheating. Perhaps it’s time to recognize that, for many subjects (perhaps not all), memorizing a bunch of facts and figures aren’t what’s important, but figuring out how to answer a question. In that context, the rationalization makes a bit more sense — and doesn’t seem quite as bad.

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Comments on “Online Cheaters Are Good Little Spinmeisters”

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Mark says:

Cheat proof tests are possible

When I was in undergrad, one of my physics professors was famous (or possibly infamous) for his brain-busting take home mid-terms and final exams. We could use anything we liked on the exam, our books, notes, a graphing calculator, laptop computer, etc. Ultimately, none of it was useful unless we had learned to think and reason like the physicists we were studying to be.

For me, that sort of exam will always be the gold standard in truly testing how well the student has learned the subject being taught.

I, for one says:

Re: Cheat proof tests are possible

Mark you are right. But your prof must have been a very smart and efficient person because it’s such hard work for the teacher to do it that way. Not in setting the question, but in marking it.

I used to teach undergrad CS, but I also had a group of private students I taught to boost my income. The guidelines for the department were very tight so I’d set “stock” problems like the ones Lisa speaks of… “Write a program to implement a quick sort”. As expected I got a dozen answers that were the same thing with the variable names changed.

A more open ended question might be “Write a program to justify some text” which has enormous scope for different solutions. But I would still get 3 or 4 that cheated by collaborating it was obvious to me when seeing the same algorithm presented in a number of ways.

For my private students I would start with “Tom invites 10 people to a party, there are 4 forks, 5 knives, 6 spoons… ”

They would have to work out it was a discrete maths problem, work out that the pigeonhole principle and optimisation were needed, and not fall into the idiot trap of mistaking it for the “dining philosophers” and going off on the wrong track entirely.

Those assignments highlighted the brilliant and the hopeless students with no uncertainty, but they were really hard to mark because I had to sit down with each completely unique one and work

through the methodology, development, pseudocode and executable solution. Good teaching is costly, in time. For 10 students I had to spend 10 hours going through their work in order to be fair and balanced. I never awarded a distinction, not even for a good solution, but I weighted about 90% of the marks on good, well documented reasoning. In the end it is reasoning, not access to textbook information that I was testing.

Many courses I see today are just rote exercises in buzzword bingo, which is maybe why there are so many awful programmers and so much bad code out there.

Derek (profile) says:

thinking is more important

I think that they should be teaching the kids how to think and solve problems rather than rote regurgitation of facts. I work in the tech field and am amazed that people call me for things they could have gotten from the help button in about 1 minute but are willing to wait 30 minutes for me to get back to them because they don’t want to think. its kind of sad, really. even after we show them how to get help; it requires thought and they don’t want to think.

Lisa says:

Re: Not quite sure

I seem to be confused by this. I am a senior in college and would consider myself an intellectual student/adult. But i can not deny the fact that me and my peers have grown up in a rapidly changing TECH world. As a matter of fact that is what i am in school for–computer science. But my teachers, even those who are not comp. sci. professors, are smart enough to know that the internet is ready and waiting to be used. Do i call it cheating? Not really. It is very rare to type in a question on Google or Ask and have the answer you are looking for be right there.

Nowadays teachers are using and encouraging the use of online classrooms, Blackboard or WebCT. If teachers do not understand that their students are not using the internet for REFERNCING rather than “cheating” they have another thing coming. You cant put a carrot in front of a horses face without it biting. My generation has become adapted to the WWW and the internet and the plethora of knowledge right at our very finger tips, literally. Internet is the new library. is it cheating to go to the library and check out a book with relavent info? I sure as hell hope not.

Do i believe that some people are cheating, buy essays, paying people to do their own work. YES, but its less than you think. Students use the internet as a resource, a helper, a guide. I dont know i single php programmer who has not gone to to help them out.

Pongidae says:

Re: Re: Not quite sure and by Anonymous Coward

There is a large difference between using the internet for research and for cheating. If you are using a site or multiple sites to discover how to do a task it is research. Now, if you are copying directly from a site that is either cheating or plagiarism. I am currently a university student, work in the school system and my wife is a professor and this problem with cheating from the internet is rampant. My wife had failed many seniors for plagiarizing large portions of their papers from various internet sites, something this stupid delayed graduation for these students and why they would risk expulsion when nearly done with their undergrad is beyond me. Students get a clue! There are programs that will quickly compare a paper or program code against the internet and published works. It is simple to verify the validity of your work, it doesn?t even need to be done individually it can be done in bulk so it isn?t even time consuming for the teacher or professor.

In response to the statement/question: The ?Internet is the new library? and ?is it cheating to go to the library and check out a book with relavent (note spelling error) info??. The internet is not the ?new library? sure it is a new information source but is perceived differently by students, credit is not often given to the original author and by not citing the source the student is claiming the work as their own. And it isn?t cheating to check out a book with relevant info from a library but it is cheating and plagiarism to take excerpts from said book without citing the source in your work. Don?t be confused there is a right way and a wrong way to use both the internet and your library for research, writing an essay, or coding a program.

The statement that ?It’s interesting to note that as a professional SW Engineer, when I go online to look up how to write a bubble sort routine in C++ it is considered research, but if I were a student tasked with writing a bubble sort routine in C++, it would be called cheating.? Is just ridiculous. As a student it is completely reasonable to look up how to write a bubble sort but it would be cheating to copy the code for that bubble sort into your program and turn the work in as your own. In the same way it would be considered cheating (and potentially illegal) to do the same thing professionally. There are still differences here between the two: as a student the point of the exercise is to learn how to design the sort and to be able to work out code logically to develop your skills so ?borrowing? code goes against the intention of the assignment. Professionally you can utilize open source code if you don?t have the knowledge or skill to do it on your own just to keep your job but if the program is for commercial use there may be licensing, patent, or copyright infringements to deal with, which could cost the company money and you your job. Either way in the ?real world? it is still considered cheating.

Sorry, this post is so long.

charlie potatoes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Not quite sure

Lisa, no offense intended…but trust me on this one…an intellectual you ain’t. The spelling and grammatical errors in your letter are scary.

Perhaps we should get back to the basics. A student standing in front of the class with a piece of chalk in his hand, deer in the headlights stunned…trying to think of how to diagram a sentence, has a difficult time cheating…

And the last time I heard ‘plethora’ used, it was in a Steve Martin movie. It was funny then as well.

Ryan (user link) says:


When I was in college we had a problem with students cheating too.

One professor found a great way to stop it. After the first assignment he announced “3 of you cheated on this assignment, 2 of you will fail this class. You’ll find out at the end of the semester and you will be expelled.”

It put a really quick stop to the sharing of code assignments.

Raj says:

Cheat This!!

Computer Science students are experts in cheating online, so the professors at my university got even smarter. The professor made a fake website that looked like a legitimate course website and he posted wrong answers on it. He caught 35 students this way and made them come to his office and cry! But he did not fail any of them.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s interesting to note that as a professional SW Engineer, when I go online to look up how to write a bubble sort routine in C++ it is considered research, but if I were a student tasked with writing a bubble sort routine in C++, it would be called cheating.

Perhaps the real answer here is to sue Google for making it possible for people to cheat 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:


The point here is not the simple regurgitation of the answer to a question. By looking up the answer on the internet, most students (younger rather than older) are not going to pay attention to the answer, or how it was derived. Instead they will write down the answer (or cut and paste), and move on to the next question, never learning anything.

I have no problem with getting help on the internet, but its a different thing to get the answers off the WWW.

Steve says:

As a student going into my last year of undergrad and actively persuing graduate school for communication research the internet has been the key component in allowing me to research and write successfully. My classwork and exams are all application based, there is no regurgetation of ideas or information. I can research a communication theory for hours online, but if I do not understand what it attempts to explain I will fail the exam miserably. More instructors need to find ways to make their students apply the knowledge they recieve in class to real world situations; not only does this allow them to learn more while taking the course but better prepare them for life and work after college.

Mark says:

TechDirt ==

Hey, why not change the name of this site to, since that’s the most prominent and consistent theme?

Software Piracy? Commercial developers are too rich anyway! Music “sharing”? If I am able to do it, it must be alright! Cheating? Hey, they aren’t doing enough to prevent it, so it’s their fault!

Lisa says:


I couldnt agree more. One of the main reasons why students HAVE to go to the internet is because the teacher ISNT teaching. How is a class with over 50 students condusive to learning? At that point the teachers dont care if the students learn it, and the students dont care about the class, they want the passing grade and the credits. I know many many people who have taught themselves what they know today throught the internet and are working at Fortune 500 companies. Is that cheating? They rely on the internet.

I give props to the teacher who took the next step with the websites. But as i stated before when teachers use online resources such as WEBCT or Blackboard or use online examples, those teachers must be living under a rock to think that the students are expanding. When did research become cheating?

I agree that there is a lack of SOME younger students that are not understanding internet is a tool not a solution. That is where teachers should be helping the students, have more office hours, be present on the campus.

“but if I were a student tasked with writing a bubble sort routine in C++, it would be called cheating.”

This is SEVERLY wrong. First off a sort isnt the easiest thing to write as a beginner C++ programmer, we all did start off somewhere. Those who dont understand seek the easiest form of help=Internet. Of course i dont think a novice programmer should copy and paste the code for many reasons one of which is that it WILL NOT work. But when you realize its not working you have to finagle it. Thats where the learning happens. And as a programmer Mr. Anonymous, you should be the first person to admit that you do not have chunks of code, bubble sorts, pointer syntax, or switch statements (sure those are easy) and after PRACTICING you learn it, not memorize it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Research

Apparently, you cheated your way through English grammar and spelling.

When did research become cheating?

When the “research” amounts to little more than copying and pasting the work of others work and passing it off as your own, and not even understanding the content of what you’ve copied.

Trampas says:

Re: Research

Better yet, don’t make a stupid assignment like telling your students to write a bubble sort.

Implementing a particular algorithm in a particular language is surprisingly useless. You’re better off introducing them to a broad spectrum of languages and general concepts.

Teach them design/planning (on paper even, or a whiteboard).

Anybody can write a basic sorting algorithm, if they can write a program at all and most sorting algorithms are already written (and faster). Instead teach them how to use existing already-written code whether source or in libraries. Teach them how to design, plan and implement their own algorithms.

Also, don’t make them write code with paper and pencil and take points off if it won’t compile or the syntax is wrong. The fucking compiler will let you know these things. Better yet, don’t require actual code on paper. It’s stupid. Either let them use a computer to write the program on or don’t require anything beyond pseudocode.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Research

Better yet, don’t make a stupid assignment like telling your students to write a bubble sort.

I think it’s a reasonable assignment in a course on Data Structures and Algorithms or some such. As another poster pointed out, there may be better sorting algorithms, but such an assignment may be part of a path to truly understanding what makes one algorithm better than another.

And, true, many sorting algorithms exist in library form, and code re-use is a good lesson for Software Engineering, but not for understanding sorting algorithms.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is just a parallel of business outsourcing, right?

Company workers feel cheated when their company outsources.

U.S. workers feel cheated when America outsources to India.

Using an online reference should be considered a parallel to business outsourcing. But it should be embraced and used to the student’s advantage. How are we going to put this student out into the real world? I hope the students have learned to use references to get knowledge faster and solve problems quicker… then we have the edge in the real world.

Bob (user link) says:

Cheating is still cheating

The way I see it if your playing poker with a buddy and he accidently tips his cards do you look? IMHO it’s cheating. Your going against the spirit of the game. same thing here. Yes, education should be about learning how to think, but if you get kicked out of school all your excuses won’t fit on your resume. If I’m trying to hire someone I don’t want the kind of person that can rationalize cheating, becuase they can rationalize stealing as well.

Ryan says:


I just want to know why any of you programmers are still using bubble sort in the first place…

If you’ve ever implemented bubble sort into any application that you were paid to develop, it’s time for a job change.

Bubble sort is the WORST sorting algorithm their is.

Matter of fact we DID use it once.. in college while coming up with examples to show that using threads is faster.. we needed some process that took longer than a few seconds so we could show a measurement… bubble sort was the answer.

Ric says:

Old proverb.

When you steal from one, it’s plagerism. When you steal from lots of people, it’s research.

And for tests etc… why don’t you make tests that require thinking, independant reasoning, and logic. hell, open book isn’t going to help the idiots schools pump out these days. The day of my highschool graduation it took my class a hour and a half to alphabetize itself for the procession.

Air says:


Here is a helpful hint to all college students.

If you professor asks you to turn in an electronically copy of your paper, the professor is going to check and make sure you work is legit. SO, in order to make sure you do not get kicked out of the class, or worse the school, make sure you know how to take advantage of the system properly (Cheat).

You will need to break up the paragraphs and change the wording, about one of every seven words to be safe, mispeelings count. This will be enough to disguise your paper as original work. And for all the NEWBS out there, do not site the source you ripped your paper from, that is a dead give away.

Air says:


Here is a helpful hint to all college students.

If you professor asks you to turn in an electronically copy of your paper, the professor is going to check and make sure you work is legit. SO, in order to make sure you do not get kicked out of the class, or worse the school, make sure you know how to take advantage of the system properly (Cheat).

You will need to break up the paragraphs and change the wording, about one of every seven words to be safe, mispeelings count. This will be enough to disguise your paper as original work. And for all the NEWBS out there, do not site the source you ripped your paper from, that is a dead give away.

Drama2sell says:

Fundamental Problem with Education

I believe that this problem is really just an effect of the wrong approach we seem to take these days to education.

I would say that the majority of students in HS and College, and just taking classes “to get through it” and get a degree. They aren’t there to learn.

I was the same way in my college days–what did I care about the “Morality of Macbeth”–I spit out the essay and moved on.

However, these days, as a .net programmer–When I take classes, I take them very seriously. I would never cheat–since, well, I really am just cheating myself–I need to learn from classes to keep my income flowing.

Maybe we need to examine our approach to education–instead of going right into college after high school, let people go work for 5 or 6 years, and then go to school—they would get so much more out of it, and cheating would be non-existent.

nathaniel says:

memorization is important

Now you can choose to use the internet as a replacement for memorization, or you can choose to use the internet to augment memorization. Either you can let your capacity to memorize diminish and offset the loss by learning how to Google well, or you can memorize just as much AND learn to Google well. I know that I’m always forgetting math formulas and quotes and having to spend time finding them online. If I had them memorized I’d save time and be able to do more in-depth research.

So I think the whole “memorization vs. thinking for yourself” is a false dichotomy. Yeah – you need to be able to think for youself, but the more pertinent facts you’ve got memorized, the more efficient both your thinking and your searching for additional information is going to become.

I think in American schools now we’ve got this aversion to memorization but also this tacit understanding that there really isn’t much learning if you don’t memorize anything. So we kind of have a muddled mix of minimal memorization but we spend so much time memorizing badly that we don’t have time for demanding “think for yourself” tests.

I’d rather see memorization embraced as stage 1 of learning. You’d have tests purely on your capacity to regurgitate relevant information. Each question is right or wrong, there’s no interpretation.

THEN, and only then, you’d be set loose on creative/think for yourself problems. Those problems would be open book, open web, whatever. They’d be interpretative, and the results would not be “right/wrong” but “effective/ineffective”. It’d be about solutions.

This is, aftera all, a model for the real world. In the real world the more you know, the greater your starting advantage. (Hence – we memorize) But if all you can do is memorize – you haven’t really achieved anything.

Air says:


In reality, if a student is able to overcome all of the safe guards and come up with a good paper which is tailored to the question, it shows critical thinking and in reality you can site up to half of you paper anyway, which is cheating with out the consequences. It’s not as easy as you think, ripping papers from the internet, ok it is pretty easy to do for your general ed. but when you get into your upper division classes most of the teachers ask you questions which require some independent thought and that is what business are looking for.

I would hire someone who got through college using every means possible and used every edge available to get a better grade than their peers BECAUSE it is a dog eat dog world and business do it all the time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Maybe we need to examine our approach to education–instead of going right into college after high school, let people go work for 5 or 6 years, and then go to school—they would get so much more out of it, and cheating would be non-existent.

I’m in the same boat. No matter how much school you have, you don’t really know what you want to do until you start doing it. That’s when you WANT to learn, but no longer have the time to do so.

Abram says:

simple solution

I have a solution to this problem of cheating. DON’T GRADE HOMEWORK. Anything that students are allowed to take home is overwhelmingly more susceptible to cheating. Teachers should only grade in-class assignments, which should be timed (10 mins max) and given on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This forces the students to understand the material and keep up with the course rather than falling behind and then cramming before a test.

Homework should still be given, though, to give the students practice. The in-class assignments could even be a single question pulled from the homework, which, if the student did the homework, should be very easy!

Cheating is a very simple problem to overcome as I see it… are any teachers doing this?

SPAM says:

learning how to think

As a student going into college i have seen the effects of learning something someone has put in front of you. Even with my learning disability i can repeat the process and the work, The problems comes when i need to change one of the variables no matter what kind of variable. I learn better when physically shown and not read to myself from a book. if i see the different variables enough times i can start taking control of what will result from what change. I.E. If you teach me that the mat problem was setup in a standard way and done only one way. i rember it and apply it to what i rember it looking and sounding like. If you gave me the same problem in a different format then i dont reconize the pattern and it looks like a totally different problem. Even if you only change the (-) sign with the word (minus) and turn the problem around it would throw me off. In my opinion getting the answer to the problem shows you the result. The next time you look at the problem you have the answer. I do not think there is a test that can be given that does not either repeat the problem you have learned down to the answer or change the problem up to look different to where it cannot be reconized in comparison to what you have learned. If the problem was put in a real life situation then you have reason, physical evidence, and personal involvement in the product.

anonymous coward says:

an interesting study would be comparing teacher quality against incidents of cheating. would you expect:

a.) quality teachers have MORE incidents of cheating because the teachers don’t let it slide

b.) quality teachers have FEWER incidents of cheating because their teaching skills/effort allow them to avoid obvious opportunities for cheating

BillDivX says:

Ken? Poker?

I know a guy named Ken who plays poker…I don’t suppose you are him…

I agree with both sides of this. I don’t think it’s good for parents and faculty to accept rationalization for dishonest behavior. People are dishonest enough without having their excuses accepted at every turn. BUT I also agree that our school system is a disaster area, and this is probably a major area why. In high school I was a C student. Not because I’m dumb, but because I was bored out of my mind. I’m so smart that this whole “school” thing wasn’t worth my time. I took a grand total of 4 pages of notes, in all 4 years of high school. I studied for a test only twice. I never turned in any homework. Yet I passed with bordering on a B average, because I aced every single test. I remember sitting in Advanced Algebra, not having a clue what to do on a test. I worked out every solution from the basic principles I did remember, and hints from other questions on the test. Even I was shocked to find that I got a B+ on that test, as I knew nothing about the subject that the test was supposed to cover, I derived it all in my head, during the test.

Real intelligence, to me, has always been about the ability to learn new skills and grasp complex relationships, not about memorizing dumb facts, and that is what our education system has become. Part of the problem, I think, is that it has become redundant. I studied the Civil War 3 times before college, and then again in college. Everybody had to, and yet you can walk around the streets and find perfectly well educated people who can’t answer any civil war trivia, beyond maybe “Abraham Lincoln”. The redundancy isn’t helping us remember the facts anyway! So I say, eliminate it, and get back to cultivating minds to do the complex mental work of tommorow, challenging them with art, and music, and sciences, at a much earlier age, when kids still find almost everything fascinating. Doing that at a young age also encourages the brain to continue it’s faster development pace for a longer sprint before it settles into adulthood.

It’s a very accepted fact that a child’s brain learns better the earlier it starts on something, and now we are finding that there are certain ages where the brain specializes in learning a certain skill. We need to take advantage of that, and allow kids to explore hobbies and careers at a younger age, when their brains have the chance to master those skills at a more instinctive level. It’s no big mystery that the worlds best athletes started before they were 5. Same with all the best Musicians. So I have to wonder why we keep going on with an education system that doesn’t allow students to truly diversify until they are almost 20. No wonder we’ve got a country full of unmotivated, unskilled college students, who are bouncing around from 3-4 different majors before they graduate. They are finding what they are good at, and can do as a career. College is way to late to start allowing that kind of exploration. I can’t imagine how many people we’ve lost already by that point. What if we allowed kids to explore careers at any stage of their education, so that they can look into a career, and see if they like it when the first inspiration strikes, instead of waiting for college? If that “slacker” had realized in Junior High that he LIKED particle Physics, he might have found his motviation, gotten his butt in gear, and turned into the next Einstein. Instead, he struggled through high school, decided that he hated school, and went to work at starbucks.

I was almost a perfect example. I almost gave up on being able to write code for a video game company, because I had to teach myself, very frustratingly, until I got to college. I came very close to giving up, and eventually, I did, in college, because I had spent all of high school memorizing crap, and went into college completely unprepared to do real thinking. It was very discouraging, and could have been avoided if Grade school was structured differently. I got lucky, because I got a fortunate job offer doing basic programming. A few years on the job, taught me what the point of college really was…learning to teach yourself.

At first, the act of actually having to study something in order to understand it was literally painful to me, because I was so used to the world of high school, where it was all facts I could memorize in two seconds. I found that I would get completely discouraged if it took me more than 2 minutes to learn something, because that was what high school had taught me – that I was so smart I should be able to learn anything there is without effort! The realization that this is not the case was very painful for me, but now that I have overcome it, I’ve become one of the superstar engineers at DivX. Now I get offers from Gaming companies all the time, and turn them down, because I like it at DivX. I would define that as true success, to be turning down jobs you once dreamed of, because you’re just that happy with where you are. I will most likely go into games when I do decide to move on, but I now know that I can take my time and pick the right situation. The point is, I consider myself a success, careerwise, at least, and have now proven myself as a very capable engineer. Yet I couldn’t make it through college. It had nothing to do with being dumb or unmotivated, but with grade school being too generic and focused, without ever offering any real challenge.

I have had several take home finals. Everybody’s first reaction when they get one is “Yay! this will be easy!” but everybody learns pretty quick that the take home test is a lot harder for those who are used to just memorizing facts. It doesn’t take long for those same people to start dreading the take home test. I think it’s both an excellent example of why the current system doesn’t work, and how we could be doing better. It is, in effect, that “cheat proof” test that was mentioned. The fact of the matter is, I’ve never seen an engineer that doesn’t reference a book on occasion. In fact, good engineers seem to have huge stacks of books, and most are still growing. The real world of intelligent work isn’t about knowing, it’s about learning.

I didn’t get that until after college, when I actually had to apply what I knew, and found that it involved teaching myself more things, things that weren’t ever in the college curriculum. I don’t know ANYBODY that understood that before they started their career – And THAT is the problem with our school system. We need a school system that drills home the idea “we are teaching you to teach yourselves”, from the very earliest stages, instead of having that as the afterthough of people reflecting on college when it’s over. I swear, everyone I know, myself included, was oblivious to the real point of college, until after it was over. My guess is, that’s probably a little too late.

hautedawg says:

Cheatin' is cheatin'

To the students, read the article and realize you are rationalizing your cheating. You are giving yourselves away by your use of rational to explain WHY you used the WWW to get your information/answers. Yes, you too Lisa, drop the “white dress” and admit that you too are cheating, no matter what you call it.

It is important to know where to find the answers, but most important to know what the question is actually asking. There is a HUGE difference in giving the answer and understanding the question.

I know my spelling sucks, my grammer is poor and my sentence structure probably makes some people’s skin crawl, but I did NOT cheat and copy this posting.

Lisa says:

The wrong idea

Let me just say that I never qualified myself as an excellent speller. My mind is moving quicker than my fingers. I apologize to those who are insulted by my lack of adequate typing skills. Another example of how my generation is so tech crazy that I rely on spell checker. Yes it does get my in trouble SOMETIMES and true i blame myself, but that is not the issue at hand, so lets drop it. And i actually DO like the word plethora. I did not get it from Steve Martin, but it was apropos.

I would like to say, responding to hautedawg. I am in no way saying I am cheating. As many other commentors have stated cheating can be considered when you do not quote or reference the correct author. I, unlike some, do. Going back to the bubble sort example, is it wrong of me to go onto the internet to help me study? From some of the responses here, I would say no. Would I take that code and use it in my program? I would say no again. Refer back to post 11. It wouldnt work. I learn from example and then alter it. When you first get a recipe do you follow it exactly to get the hang of it? Sure, and then when you are comfortable with it you add more spices or cook it a little longer. Have i EVER cheated on anything ever, how many people say they havent. Not many, however when it comes to CS, and i have just about all of my teachers to back me up, a lot of the coding is already done. Web programming is not a new art, and those that get into use others code to work off of. Why reinvent the wheel if you do not have to.

I will say it again, as other have as well, the problem isnt the cheating it is the institution and instructors lack of teaching. If students knew the information, they would not have to use the internet as a method of cheating. Now, dont get me wrong i have had some AMAZING teachers, but i have had some pretty bad ones too. There are some classes i will remember the stuff til i die, and there are classes where i just passed. And i agree that there is a dumbing down of america. but i can SAFELY say that i am not contributing to that.

Argue all you want boys, but most of you are just scared that when you are gray and old, i will be your boss or at the least taking over your job!

😉 I kid

Abram says:

Re: The wrong idea

If everyone had your mentality, then grade-schoolers would be using calculators… why bother to learn long division when a calculator can do it for you! (now, here I am hoping that grade-schoolers AREN’T using calculators!) I wasn’t allowed to use a calculator in math class until 7th grade, if I remember right.. even then they were restricted to certain problems.

But now that graphing calculators are so widespread, I wonder if the average 5th grader is using (abusing) them. This is why many teachers do not give credit unless you show your work… how you arrived at your solution.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The wrong idea

I AM GRAY AND OLD, and could possibly be YOUR boss someday, so watch it you whipper snapper.

The programs, code you are copying was originated by someone else, do you give him credit for it? Didn’t think so.

No one came out and accused YOU of cheating, but if the shoe fits… Personally, I think it’s funny when people TRY to use big words, especially appropos and plethora. We should learn to eschew obfuscation.

Pongidae says:

Re: The wrong idea

Web programming is not a new art, and those that get into use others code to work off of. Why reinvent the wheel if you do not have to.

The major issue with your statement is that you are making the assumption that your end task (assignment or job) is not to create a better wheel in the first place! If you start with a current wheel without knowing how to create it on your own you will never understand how to create a better one.

It is the same with coding (any language) you have to understand the basic concepts and how to create the mundane (which you could easily find in a library or snippet somewhere) in order to advance beyond it conceptually. If you are just Frankenstein-ing a web page or program together you will never understand the basics and therefore never be able to become great.

Another example of how my generation is so tech crazy that I rely on spell checker.

Ok, bad grammar aside (again), that is not being tech-crazy but rather just too lazy to learn to spell properly. If you are unable to spell without a spell checker download a plug-in for your browser and use it. Or use a word processing program and the old copy > paste method. If all else fails remember that it is better to remain quiet and have people think you are stupid that to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Lastly with your abhorrent grasp of grammar and spelling there is little concern that you will ever be the boss of anyone here or take over their job, unless of course if they are working at your local McDonalds. You should get really familiar with asking Would you like fries with that?.

I know it will be difficult but you could always print it out from this post and tape it to the palm of your hand.

Lisa says:

Re: Re: Re: You are just pathetic

So then you are threatened! my job here is done. If you must know, i currently do work for a company you only wish you were emplo. I have scholarships and grants from the school i go to, along with NY state. And on top of that work a full time job at a Fortune 100 company. I am in fact a programmer and program the software you most likely are using at this very moment.

Althought i consider myself fairly level headed, i find those who need to attack me, quite insulting. Why make fun of those who actually use intellectual words you dont the meaning of? Wow someone out there is smarter than you!?! Mind blowing, i am sure.

If you are afraid of me and/or the my generation…HAHA you all have another thing coming. Because guess what? Here we come.

If you can take time out of your “busy” day, to pick away at someone’s spelling/grammar, maybe you should get a new job. You are clearly not busy enough. And if you dont have a job…well, i rest my case.

For those who actually looked at what i had to say and not how i typed it…THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

But for the lot of you…

Pick on someone you’re own size…probably that McDonalds cashier you love to belittle. You are pathetic.

Nobody Special says:

Re: Re: The wrong idea

In Lisa’s defense, most of my managers have had absolutely atrocious spelling and grammar. However, being somewhat of an odd case–I changed majors twice and took about 3 years off to work, leading to a total of 10 years to get my undergrad degree–I can say from first-hand experience that the kids in her generation have absolutely no compunctions about cheating… to the point they don’t know when they’re cheating (though that’s been said enough here, too). It seems to me that the average college student today is just trying to game his or her way through the system.

The real problem, as I see it, is multifold. First, you have professors teaching who really shouldn’t be (of course that’s always been a problem). Secondly, partly because the kids have been inadequately prepared in the first place, the professors often have a pretty low regard for the students (that’s always been a problem, too). But the combination of the two leads to some of the professors not caring if the students cheat… enough that you wind up with the kids not being called if they’re caught, or if they are, they go in front of “honor” councils that slap them on the wrist (one of my professors told me about a kid he caught posting his homework on RentACoder… kid told the honor council that he only got advice, and they let him off… despite the fact that there was a record of payment, and that RentACoder won’t release the payment unless there’s a deliverable). This makes many of the good professors who actually care just throw up their arms and give up. Add to that the lax attitudes the kids have towards cheating in the first place, and you end up in a situation where those who are honest and don’t cheat are at a distinct disadvantage to those who do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Web programming is not a new art, and those that get into use others code to work off of. Why reinvent the wheel if you do not have to.

The problem is you never learn how things really work. Then when you need to create something ‘new’ and there’s nothing from which to copy, you’re screwed.

I’ve seen this time and again in various newsgroups, forums and mailing lists — some body posts “Help, I need to get this done right away, but I haven’t a clue so please give me the complete code to do x.”.

Not to mention all the buggy, crap-code that’s out there created by people who copy something off the net and “finagle” it (hack) till they can get it to work.

Her Boss says:


You are obviously writtin’ software, maybe not in NY, but perhaps in the Appalachian range? You try to come back, but it failed due to your piss poor ability to spell and use common punctuation and capitalization.

Oh well, I’m sure you feel vindicated by trying to put down those of us having fun while we sweat away over the deep friers. But, always know we know who you are, and we will belittle you again…as they will belittle me given a chance.

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