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  •  As a student, I can say it's often hard to tell (4+ / 0-)

    I've actually been questioned about academic dishonesty twice. In both cases it was quite obvious which direction the copying went. The first was a math exam, where the cheater in question actually copied my solutions exactly, including the scribbled-out mistakes, but some lines were glaringly wrong because they misread my handwriting; the second was an essay test where once again the person copied one of my answers verbatim but with some misspelled words and some nonsensical lookalike words.

    I was lucky that both cheaters at least had the integrity to admit that I had nothing to do with it. Either could have dragged me down with them. But I really had no idea in either case. When you're sitting in an overcrowded room, shoulder-to-shoulder with other students, and you aren't cheating yourself, you tend to studiously avoid even glancing in the direction of the people next to you - which means, unfortunately, that you have absolutely no idea where their eyes are. (I have to be very careful not to take my eyes off my paper. I can't see text without reading it.)

    Now, I do find it rather unlikely that two students would just happen to copy off a single third student. But if it were just a pair, I'd be more concerned about giving the benefit of the doubt.

    "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

    by kyril on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:40:13 AM PDT

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    •  Guess I'll be talking to all 3 tomorrow, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, FloridaSNMOM, foresterbob

      separately. Of course in their emails to me they are astounded they could be thought to be cheating...  hmmm...

      When they see how similar their papers look, I don't think they will wonder why it looks that way.

      •  now what happens (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Melanie in IA, kyril

        if someone cheats off someone but cites the other persons work?  hehe ;)

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 09:54:45 AM PDT

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        •  I've actually had a professor address that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Melanie in IA

          directly. It was a computer science class, so academic dishonesty was a bit broader than plagiarism in most other fields.

          Basically, he made 2 points:
          1) A correct citation is an ironclad defense against academic dishonesty;
          2) You earn no credit for any part of any assignment that isn't entirely your own work.

          So if two students collaborate and then turn in clearly distinct assignments, citing each other, there's no issue. But if the cited portion of the assignment would raise red flags without a citation, both students earn no credit for that portion (but are not subject to any disciplinary action).

          Of course, I think cheating on tests would have been a different matter. I don't think citing your neighbor's exam would go over very well.

          "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

          by kyril on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 10:10:01 AM PDT

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          •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Melanie in IA

            My undergrad CS program had a very simple way to delineate between cheating and legitimate collaboration:  there was no such thing as legitimate collaboration.

            According to my alma mater, no students could work together or help one another on any programming assignment.  Even so much as looking at someone else's code was sort of taboo, like peeking at someone else's exam.  If they needed help, they could only consult a professor or T.A.; nobody else was supposed to help you debug your program, because debugging was considered part of the assignment.

            I think it made much better programmers than I see coming out of CS curricula today, along with other departmental policies like teaching everything in assembler and having very strict late submission policies.

            Linking to a news article is journalism in the same sense that putting a Big Mac on a paper plate is cooking.

            by Caj on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 01:47:02 PM PDT

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            •  Well, ours tried to draw a finer line (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Melanie in IA

              Looking at each other's code was taboo (I think that's very standard, never had a CS class where that warning wasn't given) but collaboration in the sense of talking about the assignments, coming up with ideas and strategies, helping each other with conceptual stuff, etc. was encouraged.

              The citation 'out' was given for students who felt they were legitimately collaborating but were concerned that maybe they went into too much detail about their strategy for the assignment and were worried their code might look too much alike. It also applied to anyone who slipped up on the 'looking at other people's code' thing. The policy was "It's not academic dishonesty if you're honest about it...but you're still not getting credit if it's not entirely your own work."

              "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

              by kyril on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 04:23:38 PM PDT

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            •  I do software development for a living (0+ / 0-)

              cheating goes on all the time in college in these course, its how they test.  

              Instead of writing a full program over the course of weeks, in which of course the kids will collaborate.  They need to test other ways.

              Give the kids code that doesnt work in the class.  You have 50 minutes to spot it, tell me why it doesnt work, and how you would address fixing it.

              Thats real world. Thats show understanding and application.

              Writing code out of class leads to people like me writing code for my neices and nephews so they can get an A in a computer class, They arent their majors anyway, so personally I think its dumb from them to even have to take such classes.

              Bad is never good until worse happens

              by dark daze on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 12:28:53 PM PDT

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              •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
                Give the kids code that doesnt work in the class.  You have 50 minutes to spot it, tell me why it doesnt work, and how you would address fixing it.
                I once took a course from Brian Kernighan, who assigned us to take the source code for ed and throw away whatever was necessary to make it the source code for grep.  It was a challenging and illuminating exercise.

                That being said,

                Instead of writing a full program over the course of weeks, in which of course the kids will collaborate.  They need to test other ways.
                The problem is that a "full program" should not take weeks.  When program assignment deadlines are more than 1 week apart, it leads to less writing and less understanding.  

                When I provide code examples in senior-level classes, I make a point to write all my code on the spot, in lecture, with no notes.    I just plug the laptop into the projector, open a blank editor window, and type for 5 minutes.  Then I compile and run and say, "now we have a program to display a histogram."

                I do this because kids have this bogus idea from their programming class that a computer program takes weeks to plan and write, even simple little one-shot programs.  Nobody ever tells them that a simple program is supposed to take minutes instead of days, and be a few lines rather than a few pages.

                Linking to a news article is journalism in the same sense that putting a Big Mac on a paper plate is cooking.

                by Caj on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 01:22:53 PM PDT

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