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Academic misconduct

  1. Apr 14, 2006 #1
    This has been on my mind most of this semester due to an incident that I was involved in the first week of school. Long story short, I helped a fellow student by using my work as an example, they handed it in as their own, I lost points on the lab because of it. I've attended 3 different colleges in my life, 1 community and 2 small state funded, there defiantly seems to be something a little off at my current school.

    If I could get some responses from people to the following questions, it would help me decide if I should consider adding a fourth college to my list.

    1. How is cheating usually detected at other schools? Not so much the writing notes on your hands during tests, but mainly plagiarism.

    2. If 2 identical copies of work are handed in by 2 students and it's a he said/she said kind of situation, wouldn't test scores, quality of other work, testimony by students that know either or both students be relevant?

    3. If one lab partner gives away some individual work or group work for the lab to another student with out the knowledge or consent of the rest of the group, and that student hands it in as his own, would the rest of the group be in trouble also?

    4. Are you automatically assumed to be guilty?

    5. Are grad students given awards for spotting cheating? Maybe not monetary, but earning brownie points would count also.

    6. How are academic conduct comities conducted? Are students allowed to call witnesses, have council, and present evidence?

    7. If one member of a group assignment cheats, is the rest of the group automatically punished also?

    This whole semester at this school has left a very bad taste in my mouth. It's been a learning experience, that's for sure.

    Things that I didn't know were cheating at the start of the semester.

    If another student gets his hands on any test of yours from the current or any previous semester, you will be accused of cheating.

    If another student copies from you in any way, you are guilty of cheating.

    If you are caught in possession of any test or homework assignment from the current or previous semester that does not belong to you, you will be accused of cheating.

    If 2 students are whispering during a test and the teacher feels that you were close enough to hear answers, you are as guilty as the other 2.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2006 #2
    Do accused students have the opportunity to defend themselves in an Honor Court that decides the student's fate (that is how my university handles these things), or does the instructor play both judge and juror?
  4. Apr 14, 2006 #3


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    Grading chores sensitize people to repetition --- see the same thing twice, and it's an annoying coincidence --- three times, and there's a fish market open --- see something twice on couple different occasions with one or more names common to both occasions, again, "fish market."

    In other words, it's ignored until it becomes an insult to faculty and staff.
    How much extra tuition you willing to cough up for personalized service, protection of your intellectual property, and other parenting chores?
    "Communal" study, learning, ignorance wasn't part of the curriculum in my day --- same principle applies --- "it's your work, you better take care of it."
    Anything odd enough to catch faculty attention pretty much covers the "habeas corpus angle, and the student associated with "attention getters" is "in the spotlight." You wanta take it to SCOTUS, go for it, but the student-institutional contract does not usually include a full civil due process clause.
    No. "Brownie points?" Anything blatant enough to require action is one hell of a drain on already insufficient time. Grad students carefully avoid catching cheating problems about 90% of the time.
    That's gonna be institution dependent.
    Again, institution dependent.

    Last edited: Apr 14, 2006
  5. Apr 14, 2006 #4
    This is a gray area. Some professors are very lazy and reuse the same exam year after year.
  6. Apr 14, 2006 #5
    Yea, my school tends to make great use of gray area. Its only allowed if the professor says it's allowed? Yet, none of the professors actually make any effort to ensure their tests don't survive semester to semester. When I was at EMU, some professors let you walk out of their class with your test and a complete key while others had campus security on hand to ensure that the same number of tests handed out were collected at the door. There was no gray area there. The professors that collected tests had on their syllabus that possession of previous tests was a violation of the rules and disciplinary action could be taken if found.

    UofM is starting to look better and better, it would cost me a ton and the drive would suck, but I doubt I would have to live in fear that every time I assisted a classmate or formed a study group I could get kicked out of school.
  7. Apr 14, 2006 #6
    Your school has no backbone. They should either kick you out of school or shut the hell up. That's what I'd tell my teacher. Kick me out or don't. But don't accuse me of something I didn't do. He'd fold in a New York minute.
  8. Apr 19, 2006 #7


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    The better students never need to cheat.

    People who do cheat are usually academically average and, if they can get away with it, will make fine desk-jockeys...

  9. Apr 19, 2006 #8
    I disagree. I felt that way the first time I found plagiarism in the astronomy lab I taught. It turned out, however, that 3/4ths or so of the class didn't understand what plagiarism was. Ignorance is not a defense, but I believe that giving out zero's was instructive and fair for a first offense.

    I have little pity for kdinser; you take a grave risk giving someone a copy of your work for any use, and it gives the person you gave it to a way to harm you. However, I don't think it deserves expulsion at all.
  10. Apr 19, 2006 #9
    A friend of mine is asking me for my labs for the class he will be taking next semester.

    If the intructor knows that he is using my labs from previous semester, will I be guilty? :uhh:
  11. Apr 19, 2006 #10
    I would say its in the gray area. Better not try it.
  12. Apr 19, 2006 #11
    I know that in my department, the graders and TAs are emasculated with respect to cheating, because they have to have an inordinate amount of evidence to accuse someone. For example, the fact that many people have the exact same answers wouldn't be good enough. One prevalent cheating mechanism on homework is just copying solutions that had been available in the past. One time, the grader of this class I was taking noticed that the past solutions were actually incorrect, so he decided to grade as harshly as possible (i.e., on a right answer full credit / wrong answer no credit scale). Unfortunately, on that homework, I myself had a numerical mistake early on, and though my solutions were nothing like the incorrect ones which people were cheating from, I still got something like a 33% on that homework. Essentially, what it boiled down to is that I was punished for the cheating of others.
  13. Apr 19, 2006 #12
    Thank you for the response, that's what most people say to me. My school however feels that if one student cheats off another, they should kick them both out or suspend them during some mock trial where the defendants are not allowed to call witnesses, present relevant evidence, or have any console. The way that students are advised that action is being taken against them is to have a hold placed on their account, when they call about the hold, they are told that they have to come in for a meeting, but not told what the meeting is about. When they show up for that meeting, they are then informed of the charges and a trial immediately takes place. I'm sorry, but WTF is that? I want to point out that I have not personally been through this yet, but since the incident that I was involved in at the start of this semester, I've sought out students that have been through this in order to talk to them, the whole system seems way out of wack. I'm trying to find out if this system seems a little nuts or if it's normal for schools to act this way. If this school seems a little obsessive about cheating, I should seriously consider moving to another school because I do tend to help other students out as much as I can. I'm worried about showing another student how I solved a problem and some TA deciding that my solution is a little to close to another persons solution, or to an internet solution. I don't want to become a hermit and I don't want to be paranoid that a fellow student is looking at some of my work a little to closely.

    Quick story, a lab partner from last semester in thermo dynamics had to retake the class. I never met this guy before this class and I know he had a lot of health problems last semester. Despite the health problems, he always turned in what he was supposed to. We always broke up the lab, one person was the leader who was supposed to put the lab together, one person wrote the abstract, one wrote the data, one wrote the results...... His was work wasn't always great, but it was always acceptable. While retaking this class, he accidentally turned in part of a lab from last semester ( he was using the same folder to store files). He has been kicked out for this semester and suspended for the next semester. The TA didn't talk to him before handing things over to the academic conduct committee. His lab leader obviously never even looked at what he had emailed because it clearly didn't match the new lab assignment. When he realized that he had sent the wrong lab, with out any knowledge that it had already been reported, he tried to turn the correct version in. The TA told him that it was already to late and he had already been reported and not to bother. The guy tried to argue that he had gone to school there for 4 years without a single incident, why would he suddenly start cheating now, he was told that it's just that he hadn't gotten caught yet. Granted, this is his version and I hardly know the guy, but I've heard the same kind of thing from at least 12 other students, and they were not hard to find. Again, my question is, is this how it's done at other schools? I find it hard to believe that the TA's don't have some kind of incentive to find things like this.

    I'm looking for information here, I would never ask for pity in anyway. I now realize how stupid my action was and how naive I was. My questions are, If I'm stupid, do I deserve to be kicked out of school if I can prove that someone plagiarized my work? Second, should I face disciplinary action if someone in my group gives our work away to another group without my knowledge or consent? How are these situations handled at other universities? Frankly, so far the response have been that it needs to be pretty obvious at other schools to get any attention.
  14. Apr 19, 2006 #13


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    dishonesty, even letting other people use your work, is the worst form of breach of contract in academics. All of academics rests on strict honesty, and especially science.

    We have all made such mistakes, but it is time to stop making them now.

    Never do this agin, and never even think about it. When I was an undergraduate, plagiarism was essentially the only violation bringing automatic dismissal as a result.

    you made a mistake. forget the details. never do it again, and accept the price.
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