Is it cheating?

On Thursday, March 6 the Toronto Star wrote:

First-year student Chris Avenir is fighting charges of academic misconduct for helping run an online chemistry study group via Facebook last term, where 146 classmates swapped tips on homework questions that counted for 10 per cent of their mark.

I think that in their quest to establish themselves as a proper University, Ryerson is being way too hard on this kid. I agree with their defense that the facebook group is no different than any other tutor or study group that exists in the real world (as opposed to the virtual world). As it says in the article, no full answers were ever posted in the facebook group forum, only discussions of ideas for solutions from students taking the courses. Not to mention, the assignments given to each student were different from one another which means that there was no issue of cheating in the first place. Yes, I realise that the reason for the individually different assignments is so that each student would complete the assignments individually and not as a group – but then why wouldn’t they issue the same charge to any students that conducted study groups in real life? I feel bad for the kid, and I hope he gets a break. He has a hearing this coming Tuesday to appeal the recommendation for expulsion.

What’s your take on it?

responses to “Is it cheating?” 6

  1. Thanks everyone, I just feel like if they’re going to target the online group they should be consistent and target those groups that do the exact same thing in the library or where ever… I’m so glad I’m no longer a student!!

  2. In the “real world” it’s rare that one is required to do their job or find solutions in isolation. Learning how to work in a team environment is essential to the college experience. If these kids were just bouncing ideas off one another — brainstorming, as we call it out here in Big Business — then I’d say that’s exactly what they should be doing.

    Yes, it’s a fine line. But study groups that sit around the library or the quad have the same temptations, so it’s unfair to target the “virtual” group and not the others.

    Kelly’s last blog post..Community Art

  3. i dont really know reg. i probably would have joined the study group as well and would not think it would be cheating in any way…but then again, if the professor thinks it is cheating, i dont think there is anything else anyone can do.

    mahryska’s last blog post..alone in the sun?

  4. I saw this article on CBC’s website and read through it. It’s just the one side of the story, but to me it does sound like a lot of drama over an effective way of studying.

    Periapex’s last blog post..Is EntreCard a Metaphor For Sex?

  5. This one is tricky and I can certainly see why what he did can be called cheating. The Professor did stipulate the work should be done independently, and if you want to join their “study” group you are informed to post solutions in the comment section. And they keep saying that joining this group is no different than a “real life” study group… which might be true, but if you are supposed to do the work independently wouldn’t that also prevent you from attending study groups of any kind, online or otherwise? Brainstorming and getting help from fellow classmates is not working independently. Can

    But, I DO think he is being punished far too harshly. I would say a stern reminder is in order at best. Perhaps the Professor should be clearer as to what he or she thinks constitutes as cheating so there won’t be any misunderstandings.

    Jillian’s last blog post..It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, but Now I Don’t Know

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