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Something funny I saw while grading

  1. Jul 11, 2014 #1
    I'm grading for integral calculus this summer, and I saw something pretty funny. This most recent homework is just like 40-50 integrals basically. There were homeworks where there were literally no steps given, just solutions. Obviously just plugged into Wolfram Alpha.

    There was one homework where besides just writing down the answer, under it was a series expansion of the integrand like given in

    I thought it was pretty funny. Not only did the student just plug the integral into Wolfram Alpha, they blindly copied down anything it said. I can't believe they actually copied down the series expansion.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2014 #2


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    Shouldn't the students be showing their work?
  4. Jul 11, 2014 #3
    They were just being thorough :)
  5. Jul 11, 2014 #4
    Obviously. I didn't give them points of course.
  6. Jul 19, 2014 #5
    What foolish students you have at your school. Everybody here knows you have to click on the "step by step solution" button first, and THEN copy everything.
  7. Jul 19, 2014 #6
    My mom is an English and humanities teacher at a couple of the local community colleges in the Sea-tac area. At the beginning of every semester, she tells the student's point blank, do not plagiarize because I will find you out. Which is pretty easy because all she does if she suspects plagiarism is cut and paste a sentence or two of the prose and run a google search on it. Sure enough, something typically shows up. The crazy thing is that, even though she announces this at the beginning of the semester, students still try to pull that crap, and she catches them (almost) every time.
  8. Jul 19, 2014 #7
    How do you know that? This seems something that you can't possibly know.
  9. Jul 19, 2014 #8
    40-50 integrals as homework? Isn't that exaggerated?
  10. Jul 19, 2014 #9
    What do you mean? You'd be surprised with the brazenness of of many of these students. A good number of them just cut and copy text from the internet, print it, and submit it as their own work. At least at the community college level, I'm not sure about Universities. It's a big issue with my mom, it really pisses her off, she calls me all the time and asks if she should fail this or that student.
  11. Jul 19, 2014 #10
    No, I counted forty something integrals. It's a summer class. That one homework was the only homework they'll have on integration techniques.
  12. Jul 19, 2014 #11


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    Sounds about right from what I remember.

    Typically, the graders don't grade every problem. They randomly select a few as a spot-check.
  13. Jul 20, 2014 #12


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    What is the college's official policy on such cheating? I would have expected it to attract heavy sanctions, e.g., expulsion.

    I.e., "grade" the student with an "X", instead of merely an "F". :devil:
  14. Jul 20, 2014 #13
    I don't really get that far into it with her. My mom's not really a snitch, so she doesn't turn them in, as far as I know. Plus, these are community colleges. These pay well, she's got a quarter million dollars in her retirement portfolio from these part time gigs. She doesn't want to rock the boat. She basically calls the students out with the evidence of their plagarism, and, even faced with the evidence before them, they still deny it. These kids are unbelievable. But my mom cleans house indoors, you don't want to get the admin involved unless it's absolutley necessary.
  15. Jul 20, 2014 #14

    D H

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    This is not new. I saw plagiarism amongst students almost forty years ago when I graded for an introductory computer science class. We had algorithms for detecting duplicate programs on assignments and for detecting duplicate answers on exams. At that time, that intro computer science class was mandatory for all engineering, mathematics, and hard science majors. It was the premier "bust out" class for that university: Fail it and you were gone. Cheating was rampant, but easily caught.

    I suspect that even my forty year old experience is nothing new. College students most likely started cheating when the first college was created.
  16. Jul 20, 2014 #15


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    If you want a fancy/sort-of-pretentious equivalent name for " bust- out" class, use http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pons_asinorum
  17. Jul 24, 2014 #16
    He means you have no way to compare the number of caught students to those that cheated and were not caught, because you don't know of those who weren't caught (by virtue of them not being caught).
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