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Standard of cheating depressingly low in undergraduates

post #1 of 166
Thread Starter 

Every now and again I have the unpleasant duty of dealing with academic honesty problems. Todays classic is the student that sent me a final project that was word for word, mistake for mistake identical to another students submission and:

 

The other student was the brother of the first and took the same class with me last Fall

The project submitted was not the project set

The project submitted has not been set since Fall 2009 when the brother took it

 

post #2 of 166

That is mind boggling stupid.  And even lazier.  It's amazing how the kid didn't bother to read what the project was about and do that.  I doubt the student was trying to insult your intelligence but it comes off as insulting.

 

As the eldest, I used to let my siblings and cousins pore over my work to help them get ideas and even lift certain passages, but I would never allow them to take the paper so they could copy it wholly.

 

Personally, if I had to deal with someone this lazy, dealing with this would not unpleasant.  I'd come at that student with fire and brimstone.

post #3 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Region2 View Post

That is mind boggling stupid.  And even lazier.  It's amazing how the kid didn't bother to read what the project was about and do that.  I doubt the student was trying to insult your intelligence but it comes off as insulting.

 

As the eldest, I used to let my siblings and cousins pore over my work to help them get ideas and even lift certain passages, but I would never allow them to take the paper so they could copy it wholly.



It's very possible the older brother just gave him the paper under the assumption that he wouldn't just duplicate it.  This happened to somebody I knew as an undergraduate in a programing class.  His "friends" wanted to look at his project because they were having trouble completing the assignment.  He gave it to them innocently enough, assuming they would just figure out the programming logic he used and write their own program.

 

They literally copy/pasted the whole thing without telling him.  All of them flunked the class.  The person who actually did the work was devastated. 

 

This was actually a fairly common occurrence.  I used to lie to my classmates and say things like "I haven't done the assignment" the night before it was due - for an assignment that needed a week to be done.  If they knew I was done they would start pestering me to look at the code and then copy it.  There are a lot of stupid and selfish @-holes out there.


Edited by odigg - 12/1/10 at 7:56am
post #4 of 166

Yep it happens a lot. I don't know how many people I've had try to steal answers from me. Anything from copying assignments to asking for answers mid-test. There was even one girl who approached me before the final and offered me $20 to sit next to her so she could cheat off me. It's really kinda sad.

 

The MSE department is extremely close-knit seeing as how there are a total of 32 people in my major. I've given papers to trusted friends, received papers from them, and been in multiple study/homework groups. That being said I've never copied the thoughts from those papers or answers from homeworks.

post #5 of 166

Happens a lot in grad school as well. I had one guy literally try to steal my notes after refusing to show him how to do the assignments. Luckily I had a friend with me and after some sort of male on male sizing up, the guy backed down...that was the first time I ever saw someone actually collapse into a blubbering mess in the library. It would have been hysterical if it wasn't so pathetic.

post #6 of 166

As a bigger share of the population goes to college, I think it's normal that cheating tactics become even dumber :)

post #7 of 166

Here is an amazing essay from someone who writes papers for money.

 

"thanx so much for uhelp ican going to graduate to now".

 

post #8 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by JadeEast View Post

Here is an amazing essay from someone who writes papers for money.

 

"thanx so much for uhelp ican going to graduate to now".

 

Read that a few weeks ago, makes me really sad about higher education here, really makes me doubt the value of my degree.
 

post #9 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by odigg View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Region2 View Post

That is mind boggling stupid.  And even lazier.  It's amazing how the kid didn't bother to read what the project was about and do that.  I doubt the student was trying to insult your intelligence but it comes off as insulting.

 

As the eldest, I used to let my siblings and cousins pore over my work to help them get ideas and even lift certain passages, but I would never allow them to take the paper so they could copy it wholly.



It's very possible the older brother just gave him the paper under the assumption that he wouldn't just duplicate it.  This happened to somebody I knew as an undergraduate in a programing class.  His "friends" wanted to look at his project because they were having trouble completing the assignment.  He gave it to them innocently enough, assuming they would just figure out the programming logic he used and write their own program.

 

They literally copy/pasted the whole thing without telling him.  All of them flunked the class.  The person who actually did the work was devastated. 

 

This was actually a fairly common occurrence.  I used to lie to my classmates and say things like "I haven't done the assignment" the night before it was due - for an assignment that needed a week to be done.  If they knew I was done they would start pestering me to look at the code and then copy it.  There are a lot of stupid and selfish @-holes out there.



Oh, I was in no way attacking the older brother involved.  I was expected to be strict with the younger members of the family as the eldest so that's just the way I approached.

 

I used to seeing cheating all the time.  My school had 7 valedictorians.  They all cheated. There's not a single one of them that didn't copy at least a dozen of my assignments during our "study sessions" through the course of high school.  Then again I didn't care so much about it then and the problem with schools that have a high level of honor kids (such as magnet schools) tend to have that halo effect so they don't actually grade the papers.  I once wrote some nonsensical sentence about Moby Dick and Donald Duck thousands of times and turned it in and the teacher merely flipped through it and counted the pages and assigned a grade.   So I can see teachers being responsible for encouraging this as well.  That's why I applaud the OP for doing his job and catching it and then acting upon it.

 

Higher education is even more depressing.  When I went to Columbia, I thought I'd finally be surrounded by intellectual peers and instead found more of the same, just better at cheating/memorizing.  I blame employers for cheapening the bachelor's degree.  Still mind boggling when I see an advertisement for a secretary or a simple clerk and they state that a bachelor's degree is required.  At this pace you're going to need a masters just to flip burgers.

post #10 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khanate View Post

As a bigger share of the population goes to college, I think it's normal that cheating tactics become even dumber :)



This = Truth

post #11 of 166

As a fellow college professor, I've dealt with my fair share of cheating. It's especially distasteful when students cheat in my ethics class. I wish I was kidding about that, too.

 

The university I teach for has very strict plagiarism policy as well. Often times students who get in trouble for plagiarizing weren't intentionally doing it, but as they say ignorance is not an excuse.


Edited by MuppetFace - 12/2/10 at 11:10am
post #12 of 166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

As a fellow college professor, I've dealt with my fair share of cheating. It's especially distasteful when students cheat in my ethics class. I wish I was kidding about that, too.

 

The university I teach for has very strict plagiarism policy as well. Often times students who get in trouble for plagiarizing weren't intentionally doing it, but as they say ignorance is not an excuse.


What makes me even more depressed is that I allocated two sessions for students to work on the project in-class where I could give some help on technical issues, chummy chose not to take advantage of this offer.

post #13 of 166

ive seen worse, a lecturer i was chatting with in her office mentioned it to me.  the student had just duplicated the whole thing from somewhere else leaving all the web referencing and the dates accessed.  the dates were all 2004 and the work was handed in in 2009. 

post #14 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by JadeEast View Post

Here is an amazing essay from someone who writes papers for money.

 

"thanx so much for uhelp ican going to graduate to now".

 


I love it.  A great piece, unsurprisingly well written, though (also unsurprisingly) not stunning.

 

It makes sense that this would happen.I just recently finished writing my own ~100 page masters thesis, and it took me months of agony.  No one will ever read it, unless they are doing so as an evaluation of me personally rather than my subject matter.  I did it myself because it was a subject that interested me, because I couldn't afford to hire someone to write it for me, and because the idea of commissioning a masters thesis disgusts me, but it probably shouldn't.  Ethically, I'm no better than that.

 

If I had been polled as to whether or not I cheated as an undergrad, I would have had to say yes.  I cheated on my Spanish placement exam when I was mistakenly given a copy of the test with answers already written in it, and I cheated on a freshman comp. sci assignment when I borrowed code from a classmate's assignment I discovered saved on the lab computer's desktop.  I wrote more than one paper for profit as an undergrad, though I justified it by telling myself that I was doing it for friends who were intellectually capable of doing the work themselves, should they wish to.  Despite that,  would consider myself an earnest scholar, not a cheating statistic.

 

I appreciate the author's assertion that, in some way, these people's institutions have failed them.  Some people use the service to get an education that is more useful to them, rather than experience writing papers.  Others use it to pass courses they otherwise couldn't pass.  I can appreciate that, too, though I don't like it.

post #15 of 166

I saw a news article about an elementary school principal who was fired for giving out the answers to standardized tests.  What's next, cheating in Sunday school?  

 

When I was in the military, there were required written tests about Marine Corps knowledge. The higher ups gave answer sheets to the sergeants, who in turn gave them to the junior enlisted personnel.  Everyone generally received a score in the 95-100% range.  In a traditional academic environment, I may feel a bit upset when I know of others who cheat, but I take solace in the fact that I was able to learn more than them through hard work and studying.  A lot of the classes had open book tests though, so I also learned how to find answers quickly when I needed to -the best of both worlds!

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