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Honor Code violation.

  1. Sep 26, 2006 #1
    Recently, I was looking for extra help on thermodynamics and had "Googled" for "thermodynamics problems and solutions" or something similar. After looking through the results, I realized one of them was the website for the publisher of my textbook and I clicked on it. I managed to get some extra problems that weren't included in the book with solutions to them included.

    There was also a thermodynamics calculator on the website that when I clicked on it, said I needed to register. I went back because I wanted to look at the website more and found that my fluid mechanics book was also on the site, only the problem was, I need to register to view any of the files. So I did, that being my toughest subject.

    Today, I recieved an email saying that I was not registered as a professor at Georgia Tech and a confirmation email was sent to some of the staff to verify that I was teaching. Now, I have another email saying I have violated the honor code by trying to obtain the solutions manual, and that the Dean has been notified. I had seen that the manual was on the site, but I was not too interested as my professor posts the solutions after we turn the homework in anyway.

    In short, what is likely to happen to me? Expelled? Some kind of probation? I realized it will look as if I was trying to impersonate a professor and trying to cheat on my homework, so I am a bit anxious. :frown:
     
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  3. Sep 26, 2006 #2

    shmoe

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    When you registered, did it ask you if you were a professor? Was there anything to indicate that you needed to be a professor to access that portion of the website?

    Even if they are convinced you tried to lie your way into a solutions manual, expulsion is probably unlikely. Even students who get caught cheating in the middle of a final exam don't get punted for a first offence (schools I'm familiar with at least). it's impossible to say for sure though, it depends on how damning the evidence is and your schools policies.
     
  4. Sep 26, 2006 #3

    chroot

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    Well, this begs the question -- did you actually register with the intention of trying to get the solutions manual, which you know is not intended to be available to students? Did you provide falsified information that would be considered "impersonating a professor?"

    You make it sound as if you had no idea what you doing. If this is really true, and you registered as a student and provided honest information, I don't think there will be any repercussion. If you actually intended to impersonate a professor, however, I think you can probably expect at least a semester or two of probation, and perhaps suspension.

    - Warren
     
  5. Sep 26, 2006 #4
    It's interesting the differing policies at schools. Several professors at both the universities I've attended have encouraged students to obtain textbook solution manuals, especially in preparation for studying for the graduate school comprehensive exam.

    Your intentions were not to impersonate professor, so that claim should be thrown out. Were you specifically told as a class, department, or university policy not to use solutions manuals or the internet? Is it written in an Honor Code? If so, they have cause. If not, they have no justification to punish you at all.

    You have every right to use all resources available to you which are obtained legally and ethically. However, the presence of an honor code policy against students obtaining solutions manuals would make your actions unethical, even if you didn't know about such policy.

    Best of luck to you!
     
  6. Sep 26, 2006 #5
    How do you know that?
    He has not answered shmoe's question:

    "When you registered, did it ask you if you were a professor? Was there anything to indicate that you needed to be a professor to access that portion of the website?"

    The issue hinges on the answer of those two questions.
     
  7. Sep 27, 2006 #6

    J77

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    I'd come clean with your professor - tell them that you obtained the solutions from the site without reading the terms.

    Shows a bit of initiative.
     
  8. Sep 27, 2006 #7
    I was in the instructor section of the website, but I thought the registration was universal. I thought some of the fields I had to input were a bit weird, but I filled them out honestly. I was not aware I was registering as a professor.
     
  9. Sep 27, 2006 #8

    Astronuc

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    I would recommend that you talk to the head of your department, show him the emails, and discuss the matter. You may wish to demonstrate to the Professor how you used the website, that solutions to problems are normally accessible, and that registration is unclear. If you are honest and straightforward about this matter, I don't see how they could suspend you, especially if you did not violate the school's honor code.
     
  10. Sep 27, 2006 #9

    ZapperZ

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    Be VERY careful here. There are MANY textbooks that offer "solutions manual" intended for the students! This is NOT the same as the solution manual intended for the instructors. These cannot be distributed by anyone, and the publisher will certainly penalize any school or instructor that distribute them.

    Zz.
     
  11. Sep 27, 2006 #10
    Is there some sort of violation to selling instructor solution manuals? I know for a fact if you check ebay you will find several instructor manuals being sold. Can the seller of the solution manuals get in trouble (if he's not in a university) or is it just a university violation?
     
  12. Sep 27, 2006 #11
    For all those concerned about the situation, I talked with both the head of the engineering department I am in and another professor who job was to report to the dean. I told them my story and they were both kind enough to hear me out and understanding of my position. The dean was never notified of this so I did not get to meet him.

    All I have to say, is watch what you are registering for on online help sites.
     
  13. Sep 27, 2006 #12

    chroot

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    There's no law against possessing or selling such material. If you're out of school, there's really no way the school you used to attend can penalize you for buying or selling them -- they're not out scouring ebay to find alumni sellers (and there's no way they could prove seller was an alumnus anyway).

    - Warren
     
  14. Sep 27, 2006 #13
    Yes there is, it is copyrighted material, therefore one cannot distribute this without permission. Copyright holders are cracking down on half and ebay against such sellers.
     
  15. Sep 27, 2006 #14

    chroot

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    Sure, it cannot be duplicated without permission, but it can certainly be sold.

    - Warren
     
  16. Sep 27, 2006 #15
    There is a rule that a student cannot posses instructor's solution manual. It is exclusively for instructors only. Therefore, selling never comes into the question.
     
  17. Sep 27, 2006 #16

    chroot

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    This is a rule, not a law. Copyright law does not distinguish students from professors from airplane mechanics. The selling of a solutions manual (to anyone) breaks no law.

    - Warren
     
  18. Sep 27, 2006 #17
    It is a rule enforced by the copyright holders. They do not give the rights to sell it or distribute it. So, they can take action.
     
  19. Sep 27, 2006 #18

    chroot

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    Violation of an end-user license agreement is not the same as the violation of a law. I'm sorry, but your continued use of the word 'copyright' is incorrect in this situation.

    - Warren
     
  20. Sep 27, 2006 #19

    chroot

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    For those interested in the minutia of the copyright law, the clause which permits one to resell an instructor solutions manual (to anyone) is the first sale doctrine.

    http://www.copyright.com/ccc/do/viewPage?pageCode=cr10-n#saledoctrine

    It is not illegal to buy or resell an instructor manual, regardless of your status as a professor or student. It is not illegal for a student to own such a manual, or even to use it to cheat. The possession or use of such a manual is only a violation of your school's honor code, not copyright law.

    Furthermore, it is not lawful for a publisher to assert that its instructor solutions manuals cannot be resold, or resold only to instructors. It is lawful, however, for them to pursue other means of enforcing their wishes, such as notifying schools of potential honor code violations.

    - Warren
     
  21. Sep 28, 2006 #20

    J77

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    Well done!

    (I'm surprised the Dean didn't find time in his schedule for a meeting - is he busy, or something? :wink: :biggrin: )
     
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