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Suspicious questions on some of the forums

  1. Sep 26, 2005 #1
    Sometimes I read a question someone has written on one of the boards here at PF. It might be a one liner, from someone who has never expressed interest in that area before, and never seems to express interest in that area again afterwards. They get a nice concise and usually correct answer, they say thanks, and that's the end of it.

    I am always suspicious that what is going on in these cases - is a student posting a homework question (because they don't feeling like researching the answer on their own). So they basically repeat the question here, then take the answer they get, then hand in their homework.

    And then a few weeks later they come back with another homework question.

    Do you think this is a valid suspicion? What is your opinion of this sort of behavior? My opinion is that such behavior amounts to cheating, and I think it's terrible. Education isn't happening - the only thing happening is someone using the internet to get someone else to do their hoemwork.

    ?? Your thoughts?

    edit: I'm not talking about the "homework" forums.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2005 #2

    I've never seen physics problems that were one line, so if they can get all the info they need from a one line question, it doesn't sound at all like they're having someone else do the problem.
     
  4. Sep 26, 2005 #3

    Evo

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    Your suspicions are probably correct. Any specific forum that you are seeing this in?
     
  5. Sep 26, 2005 #4

    honestrosewater

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    I sometimes ask questions in forums that I don't frequent. It happens when something I'm working on spills into another field and when I just become curious about something or decide to check out a new forum. This could explain what's happening in some of the cases you're talking about. None of my questions were homework (I don't think they sounded like homework either). Someone may also be reading posts in a forum and discover a question that way. I read posts in Cosmology and Astronomy but haven't asked any questions there yet; I've started to ask questions there several times, but couldn't even figure out how to ask them. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Sep 26, 2005 #5

    Chi Meson

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    I tell my students to use this forum as a resource. If a student asks one of my assigned homework questions, they will usually get an answer similar to what they could have read in the book. Often they get answers that are WAY over the scope of the class (e.g. a simple electromagnetism question gets a response involving Maxwell's eqs), so often the response is no help at all.

    I don't give a lot of weight to homework. They can copy from far too easily. Whichever way they do it, if they learn it, that's what's important.
     
  7. Sep 26, 2005 #6

    wolram

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    I ask questions, some times the answer is obvious and a little more thought
    on my part would have negated the question.
    Other times the answer shows i need to learn a lot more before asking it again.
     
  8. Sep 26, 2005 #7
    I guess this gets into different teaching styles. A significant portion of my students claim "test anxiety" and tests are a somewhat artificial way of assessing competence in any event (i,e, in the "real world" problems don't come out of a textbook, and people troubleshoot together.) (Edit: Tests still make up 50% of the final grade. Other areas that contribute are lab skills, class presentations, etc.)

    So I tend to weight homeworks marginally more than you probably do, but the questions wouldn't have answers that you get straight from reading a book. There'd be synthesis involved in getting the right answer, application of ideas from one area to another, etc.

    I don't mind students working through problems together on homework; provided this means they are doing some collaborative work. SImply posting a question and taking the answer given by someone else looks like no work on the part of the sutudent, and *that's* what I'd have a problem with.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2005
  9. Sep 26, 2005 #8

    Evo

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    I have to agree with Patty, a student posting a homework question on the internet and copying the answer is unlikely to have learned anything. I would urge members to think about a question before blurting out an answer, if it seems it could be a student fishing for an easy answer, you might want to lead them towards working on an answer as opposed to just handing it to them.
     
  10. Sep 26, 2005 #9

    Moonbear

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    Patty, if you see a question that looks suspiciously like a homework question and it doesn't meet the same criteria of a student showing their work/attempts first, as is required in the homework section, sometimes a quick response such as, "This looks like a homework question; tell us your thoughts first and we'll guide you to an answer," is all it takes...if nothing else, it alerts others who might respond that it's likely homework so they don't just give away the full answer without drawing some effort from the person making the request.

    I think the difficulty we still have is those other students who have just learned the material themselves who are eager to demonstrate their new knowledge and jump in to answer another student's question quickly without the insight a teacher has of the need to guide a student to their own answer.
     
  11. Sep 26, 2005 #10

    Chi Meson

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    In my classes, the easiest answers are never the ones that my students ask about, and the tougher ones (involving synthesis of concepts)...
    well I am always aware of a student trying to regurgitate a difficult response that they don't really understand. They give themselves away if they copy word for word (their responses sound far too knowlegable) and in trying to paraphrase, then they do either learn something, or demonstrate the extent of their misunderstanding.

    In short, I would agree with Evo that we should not too quickly blurt explanations; use your best judgments, but I would not worry about it too much either way.
     
  12. Sep 26, 2005 #11

    Chi Meson

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  13. Sep 26, 2005 #12

    Evo

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  14. Sep 26, 2005 #13

    matthyaouw

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    Hahaha! Did you ever find out who it was?
     
  15. Sep 26, 2005 #14

    Chi Meson

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    I did know who he was due to a previous question he asked. He had no idea that his own teacher gave him the answer. When the homework was graded, he was the only one whose answer included the particular phrase I used.
    https://www.physicsforums.com/search.php?searchid=253500
     
  16. Sep 26, 2005 #15
    Hey, wasn't this question on an ethics exam I saw once? :tongue: :biggrin:

    Yeah, I've seen that too. I think is is cheating. If they state up front it is a homework question, we can tailor our answer to help without giving them the answer.
     
  17. Sep 26, 2005 #16

    FredGarvin

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    Chi...that is priceless!

    The sure fire giveaway that someone is here for homework only is the post count. Also, most times I will look at the poster's other threads and usually they are all asking very "homework-esqu" questions. I know I have been guilty of spoon feeding answers from time to time, but I think for the most part, we make them work for the help they get.
     
  18. Sep 26, 2005 #17
    Its not cheating! Its research!!
    :wink:
     
  19. Sep 26, 2005 #18

    Moonbear

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  20. Sep 26, 2005 #19

    Tom Mattson

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    I remember another one like that from last year. Some kid posted something a question and a couple people helped him with it. Then there was a post in the thread that said something like:

    "This is your teacher. This assigment was supposed to be done ON YOUR OWN. I know who you are, and you are going to get a zero for this term."

    If I find it, I'll post a link here.
     
  21. Sep 26, 2005 #20

    Moonbear

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    :rofl: Maybe those should be put at the top of the homework help forum as warnings that teachers actually do sometimes check up on their students here. :biggrin: :devil:
     
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