Saturday, January 23, 2010

Academic Integrity, uh-gin

Yet another academic integrity violation, but in this case, the student has agreed to meet with me. Stu turned in two extra credit assignments that were lifted off Stu's web sources (that Stu DID cite). Now this is extra credit, so it costs Stu NOTHING if I give them a zero on the assignment. Our academic integrity policy says that for the first violation we are to meet with them for some "restorative" stuff. And if they get caught by me again, THEN I send it to the dean's office. I am irritated by this because 1. most students who cheat are trying to get away with as much as possible and stop once they reach a boundary (get caught). They have probably cheated several times before this and slipped under the radar. and 2. This means they can cheat until they get caught by every single professor once and one professor twice before they get a report at the Dean's office. You get to change professors every semester, so you get a fresh start every 4 months.

In this particular case, Stu may be getting caught for the very first time, and I can serve in some "restorative" function. But I have no misunderstanding that I am going to set the ethical guidelines straight for Stu and they will ever be on the narrow, righteous path hence. Please. If you cut and paste, and then go back and change a few words, then you knew what you were doing was wrong (and you aren't smart enough to do it more extensively!!!).

Since this was two papers, I will treat this as a double offense, and send it upstairs. Then I will prevent Stu from having to decide whether to cheat again in my class AND all the other Prof's classes too. Sorry, Stu. I will speak to you respectfully and firmly and then have you sign the paper that goes to the Dean.


  1. I have to deal with something similar - except that it is a graduate student. And it was a final exam. No idea what the student could possibly have been thinking - the exam wasn't even particularly difficult. I would find it much easier if it were an undergrad. It's a big hassle either way, though. At least you might get the reputation for taking such infractions seriously, and when word gets out perhaps it'll dissuade some of the would-be cheaters.

  2. I had the same issue...and the student truly did not understand that it was wrong because he SITED it. Good luck...stick to your guns!

  3. Today is a faculty meeting about the academic integrity policy. I will have an opinion to express. :)

    K- You are right! Students do seem to think that its ok to lift if its cited. I say in the first day of class, write in HUGE letters across the whole board "YOUR OWN WORDS", and put it explicitly in the syllabus. I even explain that if you use the copy and paste buttons, you are cheating, no matter how much you rearrnge the words.

    Anon- that is a much more serious issue. Perhaps that student didn't get caught enough as an undergrad!