Is An Online Study Group Cheating?

from the once-it's-on-facebook,-it-must-be dept

Vincent Clement writes in to let us know that that a student at Ryerson University in Toronto is facing expulsion for setting up an online study group for his chemistry class using Facebook. The school is saying it wasn't so much a study group as it was a place for 146 students to cheat and share answers (though, it's only blaming the student who ran the group). Students at the university are reasonably up in arms over the matter, as they don't see how it's any different than a traditional study group. Of course, the whole thing seems a little bit silly. As we discussed almost exactly a year ago, people working together to collaborate is an important skill in the real world, and what some people consider "cheating" these days seems a lot like the type of collaboration that kids are quite used to doing online, and which should serve them well later in life.

Filed Under: cheating, collaboration, college, facebook, online, ryerson university, study groups


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  1. identicon
    VX, 15 Oct 2009 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Finding the people who have the answers

    I am an answer giver, and all of you "find the resource" people can be quite annoying. My group has about 9 people in it, two of us create the answers and the other 7 basically have a series of steps they follow until they are directed to one of us. I don't have any special knowledge about their problem or system, but neither does anyone else, so I figure it out and explain it to them.

    You can have 1000s internets but sometimes a solution requires a novel idea, not just some regurgitation of a previous solution (which was also novel at some point). It seems people just don't realize that the information on the web is put there by someone who had to figure it out, if you teach everyone to search and noone to problem solve (not the same thing) you will end up with all questions and no answers.

    That said, this whole story is ridiculous. If you are worried about collaboration on homework then don't count it in the grade. If you give students work to do outside of class they will leverage all resources possible to finish it quickly and correctly (especially if it's assigned on Friday night).

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