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How do you feel about cheating in school?

  1. Sep 28, 2014 #1
    Just curious to find what others think about cheating in school. Whether it is ethical or just totally wrong or somewhere in between? For instance if your struggling to catch up in school and you know you don't have time to finish a homework assignment do you think it would ok to cheat in that circumstance? As for me personally I've used sites like School Solver and Chegg to help me out when I'm really up against the wall but overall I feel that cheating will hurt you in the long run. Maybe some of the older members can say how valuable their time in school really was.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2014 #2


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    Get thee to the headmaster's office right now, and bend over to receive your caning.
  4. Sep 29, 2014 #3
    I was retarded when I went to school. So no, didn't care. Average C student. I am in uni now, so I have to care. In fact, I don't have to care, I simply do care. It's a matter of attitude.
  5. Sep 29, 2014 #4
    Cheating is doing something against the rules that gives you a competitive advantage. It's never ok. It hurts the person doing it, and it can hurt that person's classmates too. Asking for help is just fine, as long as you put the effort in before you ask, and as long as you don't turn an assignment in without understanding how you solved the problem.
  6. Sep 30, 2014 #5
    Cheating is never acceptable. In the short run, you have taken a shortcut that leads someone else to believe that you understand the material covered when in fact you do not. In the long run, when you finally become responsible for said material, you do not have a clue and further, by then you have forgotten that you never knew it. Bottom line, if you have to resort to cheating weather in school or in life you cut yourself short. Do the work or don't do the work but take responsibility for what you have or have not done. Cheating is never acceptable
  7. Sep 30, 2014 #6
    Anything but uni, cheating is fine. No one really cares about it. In uni, though, one probably should realise that cheating will only make them fall behind even more.
  8. Sep 30, 2014 #7


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    It's not about morality, but about compromising your own education, and your own integrity. It's getting used to autodestructive behaviour.
    Sure, it's easy to fool oneself into thinking you'll catch on with the material later on, but it never really happens.

    Also, this:
  9. Oct 2, 2014 #8


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    Cheating in school: You're cheating yourself. You may as well not have even attended the class.

    Cheating in life: Like Bandersnatch said. You have a good chance of actually killing people.

    Unless you're an English major. Given your future prospects for financial stability, you're probably cheating yourself by becoming an English major in the first place. And I'd have a hard time imagining a scenario where something an English teacher could do professionally that would actually kill someone.

    And unless you're an engineer in weapons development. In that case, it's probably the students that don't cheat that will kill people later.

    If you have teachers that grade on a curve (a very bad idea, by the way - so bad that I'd consider it "cheating" by the teacher), then cheating actually hurts other students' grades.

    There's actually a point to the first point. I admit I once completed every single one of my sister-in-laws geology labs in one arduous week. I didn't want to, but wound up being convinced to do it because:
    a) She wasn't a geology major. She needed one more elective in her very last semester and, given that one of her core courses were very difficult, her adviser recommended she take a very easy course for her elective. Somehow she misinterpreted "interesting" and "easy" as being synonyms.
    b) She was a mother of five kids living on welfare and her attending college on student loans was part of the revisions to the welfare program instituted in the late 90's. Helping get her off welfare was good for the country!
    c) I never took a geology class. Is asking a person with less knowledge about geology than you to do your labs really cheating?
    d) And the main reason I did this is because she fed-exed me a box of rocks. No one had ever done that to me before (or since). Once I opened the box (and the lab book), I couldn't quite stop myself. I would have done it no matter what and found a reason to justify it later (in fact, not just "would have" - I actually did it).
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
  10. Oct 2, 2014 #9

    Doug Huffman

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    I directed nuclear power plant testing based on fundamentals I learned in Navy Nuclear Power School, now accused of pervasive cheating. To be sure, it's the Goose Creek unit and forty years later, but now characterized as a mud-pump that will pass a bag-of-rocks that gets to the intake. 1970 NPS Vallejo was likened to a filter passing only the finest. ZERO TOLERANCE

    One of my very best bosses had worked in weapons aerodynamics and aerospace weapons. His aerodynamics story was of the empirical design of a 40 mm grenade nose ogive, of sending the sketches to a machinist and an hour later shooting it out the back door. In aerospace he worked on a throttling solid fuel motor controlled by a reactive screen/mesh driven against the reacting surface of the fuel.

    As to the effects of cheating in the trivium, it is just as deadly only slower and broader, illiteracy is killing society and culture.
  11. Oct 2, 2014 #10


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    One other comment about this picture:

    In one of my EE courses, intended to be one of the "weeding out" classes, we started with 24 students. Towards the end of the class, I suddenly realized the entire back of the room had disappeared! It was as if a sniper had been steadily picking off students one by one, and without anyone at the front of the room realizing it! Seven students finished the class, with six of us passing the class.

    This was the third time taking the class for one of the students that passed. Having finally overcome this seemingly insurmountable hurdle, he immediately went and changed his major. There was no way he was going to get through two more years of this!

    I felt that was a very mature decision. Sometimes, you're pursuing something that just wasn't meant for you. Accepting that and finding something you actually can accomplish makes life better both for you and for anyone else that might someday depend on you.
  12. Oct 3, 2014 #11


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    When I worked as a tutor I really didn't care and I still don't. The act of cheating itself is quite insignificant to me, but it is a sign of poor resource management and/or attitude. If those problems aren't fixed, they will come bite you harder than getting caught cheating ever will.
  13. Oct 3, 2014 #12


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    I honestly don't see how the situation described on that piece of paper could even happen. A well-designed technical interview should quickly reveal the cheater and their lack of knowledge. If it doesn't, whose fault is that? Shouldn't a company be held responsible for hiring decisions and any subsequent responsibilities given to said cheater?

    Also, I don't understand how someone could even pass exams if they don't do the homework. In all the courses I've taken, failing exams meant failing the course. If you fail your courses, you don't get a degree. If you don't get a degree, you don't get to work in a position that would enable you to endanger people's lives as a result of cheating.

    I believe cheating is wrong, but I don't think cheaters will ever get to a place where they'll be designing bridges/elevators/etc. Even if we assume they somehow make it there without anyone noticing, we then have to assume that all of the work this cheater produces goes un-checked, which is another scenario I find highly unlikely.
  14. Oct 4, 2014 #13


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    I was going to say something like you said. The smarter employers will test the applicant through a spoken/oral quiz. This will show the candidate's competence related to the questions. The testing conditions are excellent and the candidate will have no opportunity to cheat. Sometimes the employer will also test the candidates in a written form of testing. This also is a situation in which cheating is extremely unlikely.

    In a classroom, best practice should be that nobody other than the teacher knows what are the questions ahead of time.
  15. Oct 4, 2014 #14
    The first time I was caught red-handed while copying the text I had hand-written in my flashcard so as to fill in the blank in a chemistry test really shamed me. Later I couldn't resist the tempt to wide-open my eyes into the answer of a classmate sitting right next to me in the final math test and even though I failed the exam and had to take it again next semester, I felt indifferent. You see, from the second time on, I've become like a worn-out tire which is still useable :DD. Years later I luckily got into a local college and had to learn the same stuff again at an advanced level. I almost lost the basics while most of my friends did so well, heck if only I had learned them harder. Even when I went to work I also felt ashamed of what I couldn't do. But I was accepting of the fact that all things come and go naturally and I was ready for any bad news to come.
    I used to correct my years of experience in my CV and was caught by HRers (they said the guy who would interview me knew I was lying). I was blushed and accepted I was wrong, I said I did it for job to live and they said they'd consider. But you know I didn't hear anything from them again.
    You know, shaming people for whatever reason is a childish behavior.
    You know, mixing truths and lies is also an art. The higher social position you possess, the more artistic your everything (speeches, behaviors) must become.
  16. Oct 4, 2014 #15
    The ethics of cheating are based on context. Is it ok to go grab the smartest kid in the class, who happens to be smaller than you, and threatening him with violence to write you paper for you? No. Is it ok, if you are a single mom with three kids and a job, and you have a hard time finding time to study, and so you sneak a peek at your neighbors paper to reassure yourself that you got the right answer? Yes. But both fall under the category of cheating. and there are infinite variations that fall inside those two margins. But I do know that schools see no difference, and will kick you out for either.
  17. Oct 4, 2014 #16


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    So, if this woman with kids saw her answer was wrong, she would not correct it? Well, that's ok, she didn't cheat if she made no corrections. Otherwise, she's cheating. If she cheats her way to a degree, it's wrong. Is she going to continue to cheat if she manages to get a job? When is the cheating no longer ok? I have to disagree with an "ethics of cheating"
  18. Oct 4, 2014 #17
    I believe its a HUGE no-no. If you are serious about your profession, the first thing you should do is master the basics. Sometimes I encounter these old ladies trying to type on the keyboard with a single finger of each hand. All they do is type, typing is their job, and they are terrible at it. Only because they have failed to master the basics of proficient typing. It probably would have taken them less than 2 months to learn it and faster typing skill would have saved them hours and hours each day, not to mention pain of seeking each letter every single time. What really hit home for me about the importance of fundamentals and constant practice to master them is what Michael Jordan did. He never failed to practice the fundamentals, even when he had reached the apex of the sport. That is what set him apart. Cheating in irrelevant tasks is fine, even necessary and productive sometimes. But cheating in subjects that are fundamental to your profession is recipe for total ineptitude.
  19. Oct 4, 2014 #18

    D H

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    I beg to differ. There are a number of ways that engineers can and do kill people. Sometimes it's just ignorance, incompetence, or ineptness, but other times it's misconduct, misbehavior, or malfeasance. Reviews and such might be able to detect problems caused by ignorance, incompetence, or ineptness. Catching misconduct, misbehavior, or malfeasance is a much, much harder task. This is why honesty and integrity have to be central parts of the work ethic, from the very bottom of the workforce to the very top.
  20. Oct 4, 2014 #19


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    I certainly agree with everything you've said and don't think our positions really differ. I do believe engineers have the opportunity to kill people. However, the OP was referring to cheating in school, and the paper sign refers to engineers killing people because they cheated in school, not due to misconduct, misbehavior, or malfeasance on the job. I think they are two different cases, but also realize that someone who cheats in their classes is likely to cheat at their job.

    In other words:

    Will cheating in school cause you to kill people? Probably not, since you probably won't pass enough classes to even get a degree.

    Will cheating/misconduct/malfeasance on the job cause you to kill people? If the person isn't caught (as you mentioned), then eventually, yes.
  21. Oct 4, 2014 #20

    D H

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    Look to the sad history of scientific discoveries that were only discoveries thanks to completely invented data, the sad history of engineering and industrial failures that resulted from malfeasance from bottom to top, the sad history of economic scandals based solely on cheating, and the sad history of political leaders who rose to power solely based on lies.

    The sad fact is that cheating can be extremely gainful, at least until you're caught. I suspect the people who prosper by cheating didn't learn these skills in college. They learned those skills much earlier than that.
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