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


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  1. identicon
    Alexander McDonald, 21 Jan 2010 @ 5:14pm

    This is Relatively Hard to Believe

    It seems like a bit of overreaction is taking place here.

    The University, and their professors, have every right to dictate conditions for their homework assignments. Unfortunately, dictating students may not work collaboratively is a practice that does not support learning. The purpose of practice (aka homework) is to learn. If a summative assessment is required, a test in class is a more appropriate way to proceed.

    I doubt the university has been working to stop the on ground study groups that likely exist. It might be time for them to rethink their instructional practices instead of making a hasty over reaction.

    As I read about this situation, I found myself wondering what the real issue is here. A warning and new instructional practices might be more in order. Just think, encouraging students to work collaboratively on the practice assignments might allow professors to assign more challenging tasks!

    Which practice best supports overall student learning?

    Cheers

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