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Author Topic: Am I cheating?  (Read 6307 times)
kron3007
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« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2012, 10:12:42 AM »

This was a take home assignment, you hit a road block and accessed external resources to complete the answers.  I really dont see how this is much different than meeting with a TA to go over a problem, or joining a study group where they work through the problem together.  In the end, all of these examples have another person work through the problem with/for you and you receive the marks.  I have TAed many students and had them come to me with problems.  I would always try to get them to work through the problem and get to the answer on their own, but in many cases I had to guide them to the answer or show them a book where it is outlined.  In this situation, they didnt really solve the problem on their own, but they received the marks and went through the process.

I may have low moral values, but I think most posters here are wound up too tight.  The point of a take home assignment is to have students go through the problems as practice, find their deficiencies, and seek help when needed.  These assignments are really just practice to develop the skills, which will then be tested during the apply named "tests" or examinations.  I think some of the previous posters should reflect on the purpose of take home assignments and get over the high school mindset that they seem to be in.  If the student does not take advantage of these assignments it will show during the exam; it all comes out in the wash.

As for the OP, what is important here is not how you got the answer, it is that you go through and see how they did it and make sure that you can repeat it on your own.        
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 10:13:55 AM by kron3007 » Logged
zharkov
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« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2012, 10:14:54 AM »

I'm not sure what a "homework helpline" is.  Is it provided by the school, like a tutoring center? Or sponsored or linked to class webpages?  Or something totally outside of the school's purview?

In any case, I'm wondering what happened when you asked the instructor for help.  I always tell students that if they get stuck to email me.  Sometimes a subtle hint is all a person needs.  Look at example A or re-read the definition of B or something like that.  Or is the instructor not helpful?  
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sciencegrad
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« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2012, 11:16:09 AM »

Passing a test is not the same as getting an education. Students who choose not to learn but have others answer their test questions not only cheat on the exam, but more importantly, cheat THEMSELVES out of an education. At the end of the day, if someone does not learn what s/he needs to know for her/his profession, s/he will be bad at her/his job and will always wonder why the "education" s/he got is not worth $hit.

This perfectly explains why some students justify cheating because they don't believe college is actually educational.
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shamu
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« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2012, 11:31:45 AM »

Passing a test is not the same as getting an education. Students who choose not to learn but have others answer their test questions not only cheat on the exam, but more importantly, cheat THEMSELVES out of an education. At the end of the day, if someone does not learn what s/he needs to know for her/his profession, s/he will be bad at her/his job and will always wonder why the "education" s/he got is not worth $hit.

This perfectly explains why some students justify cheating because they don't believe college is actually educational.

They should not be going to college. Plus, these are the same people who b*tch and moan about not being able to land a good job. Half-arsed educations deserve half-arsed jobs.
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daniel_von_flanagan
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« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2012, 11:38:08 AM »

This was a take home assignment, you hit a road block and accessed external resources to complete the answers.  I really dont see how this is much different than meeting with a TA to go over a problem, or joining a study group where they work through the problem together.
A TA should know how much help to give, depending on how much the take-home assignment counts.  People working together is actually a problem in some situations.

Quote
work through the problem and get to the answer on their own, but in many cases I had to guide them to the answer or show them a book where it is outlined.  In this situation, they didnt really solve the problem on their own
I'd thrash a TA who did this to such an extent.
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The point of a take home assignment is to have students go through the problems as practice, find their deficiencies, and seek help when needed.  These assignments are really just practice to develop the skills,
This depends on the instructor and the class.  In my upper-division classes homework counts 50% or more of the grade, so is hardly just "practice to develop the skills". - DvF
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kron3007
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« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2012, 1:03:05 PM »

This was a take home assignment, you hit a road block and accessed external resources to complete the answers.  I really dont see how this is much different than meeting with a TA to go over a problem, or joining a study group where they work through the problem together.
A TA should know how much help to give, depending on how much the take-home assignment counts.  People working together is actually a problem in some situations.

Quote
work through the problem and get to the answer on their own, but in many cases I had to guide them to the answer or show them a book where it is outlined.  In this situation, they didnt really solve the problem on their own
I'd thrash a TA who did this to such an extent.
Quote
The point of a take home assignment is to have students go through the problems as practice, find their deficiencies, and seek help when needed.  These assignments are really just practice to develop the skills,
This depends on the instructor and the class.  In my upper-division classes homework counts 50% or more of the grade, so is hardly just "practice to develop the skills". - DvF

When they come to me with questions I do my very best to direct them to the answer on their own.  In some  cases this fails, and I believe it is better to give them the answer so they can at least reflect on it and think through how the answer was derived.  As I stated, I view take home assignments as exercises intended to provide practice and work through the material that they need to learn.  On many occasions, you can see the light turn on once they see the answer and connect the dots.  I'm sorry that I value the learning process over a couple of marks, but if it makes you feel any better the assignments in which I have given answers were worth almost nothing and my help made no difference in regard to their final marks.

As for your breakdown of the marks, perhaps you have given too many for assignments.  However, this is obviously dependent on the type of course and assignments.  My comments were meant to address the OPs type of course where they are working through mathematical problems and are ultimately responsible for being able to apply the methods to new ones.  In this particular type of course, I believe take home assignments are indeed practice for the tests and tools that will identify your weaknesses.  

Chasing and giving marks should not be the objective.    


 
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 1:07:41 PM by kron3007 » Logged
daniel_von_flanagan
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« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2012, 1:45:11 PM »

When they come to me with questions I do my very best to direct them to the answer on their own.  In some  cases this fails, and I believe it is better to give them the answer so they can at least reflect on it and think through how the answer was derived.
Not if we are using the homeworks as a significant part of the grade.  Moreover, if you are a TA then this is not your call, it is your faculty supervisor's decision.

Quote
As for your breakdown of the marks, perhaps you have given too many for assignments.  However, this is obviously dependent on the type of course and assignments.  My comments were meant to address the OPs type of course where they are working through mathematical problems and are ultimately responsible for being able to apply the methods to new ones.
This is the kind of course I am talking about.  For a genuinely college level course there is not enough time to work a good cross section of substantial problems in an exam situation.  I therefore use exams to test the mechanical operations, and leave the harder and more important exercises - complicated applied problems, proofs or derivations, even multistep mechanical problems - as homework.

Quote
Chasing and giving marks should not be the objective.
Nevertheless it is part of the job, and other faculty - both in client departments, and in the courses with mine as a prerequisite - prefer that I do not give a good grade to someone who hasn't proved to me that they can work a difficult problem without help. - DvF
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usukprof
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« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2012, 3:18:35 PM »

Passing a test is not the same as getting an education. Students who choose not to learn but have others answer their test questions not only cheat on the exam, but more importantly, cheat THEMSELVES out of an education. At the end of the day, if someone does not learn what s/he needs to know for her/his profession, s/he will be bad at her/his job and will always wonder why the "education" s/he got is not worth $hit.

Would you want an accountant who does not know her/his stuff because s/he cheated on exams? Would you want a physician who chose the path of the least resistance in her/his classes? Would you want to hire from the bottom of the barrel? Think about it before you cheat. Once you need the information you never learned for your job, it will be too late. And that time will come.

I don't know if this actually happened or is MyUni lore, but the story is that a civil engineering student appealed an F for plagiarism and was up before our univeristy ethics board.  When the board seemed to be lening toward leniency, the CivE rep lectured the committee on what CivEs did, and asked them if they really wanted to drive their children across a bridge designed by this student.  The F held.
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dirad
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« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2012, 11:57:51 AM »

During my master's, I browsed the internet for an answer to one of my assignment questions. I found someone who had solved a similar problem, so in my assignment I sent in the reply to that question on a separate sheet of paper, telling the profs that I had tried to solve the question, couldn't but found this solution, which if I understand correctly is equivalent tot he problem we were given, however there were a few things I didn't understand about the solution. I detailed what I didn't understand about the solution I had found online, hoping to get an explanation when the assignment was being corrected. I did get the explanation, but the teacher also told me that I would get full points for my solution, since it was indeed the correct solution and they would never penalize honesty. I think you could do something similar.
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tinyzombie
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« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2012, 12:41:50 PM »

I don't think this OP is looking for advice on this anymore, dirad, but maybe your experience will help someone in the future.

Welcome to the fora.
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« Reply #40 on: December 18, 2012, 11:56:34 AM »

As for your breakdown of the marks, perhaps you have given too many for assignments.  However, this is obviously dependent on the type of course and assignments.  My comments were meant to address the OPs type of course where they are working through mathematical problems and are ultimately responsible for being able to apply the methods to new ones.
This is the kind of course I am talking about.  For a genuinely college level course there is not enough time to work a good cross section of substantial problems in an exam situation.  I therefore use exams to test the mechanical operations, and leave the harder and more important exercises - complicated applied problems, proofs or derivations, even multistep mechanical problems - as homework.

I agree with DvF. 

In addition to what he wrote, I'll throw out the (possibly radical) idea that the purpose of homework in many college classes is not rote practice of the same bitsy thing a dozen times, but being able to select from a huge storehouse of knowledge to synthesize an answer that draws on multiple areas (many of them not explicitly taught in the current course).  Being able to do that kind of thinking, analysis, and synthesis is the primary point.  The student is not ever going to be formally tested on being able to do a similar problem because that's not the point.  Help in this instance is asking a series of questions to make the student think about what's important and how to make connections; a "helper" doing the problem defeats the entire purpose of the homework.

In the other extreme when the point of the homework is to practice doing N problems of type X (find the perimeter of this triangle, that square, this parallelogram, that other triangle, and this rectangle), then doing the exact homework problem for the student to submit also is the wrong approach.  A good tutor/TA/instructor will select a similar problem and help the student work through that one while pointing out the steps.  If the point is to practice and then be able to do the specific problem, then someone who shortcircuits the process by doing the one problem for credit instead of insisting that the student practice on similar problems is doing the student a disservice.

Quote
Chasing and giving marks should not be the objective.

I agree.  So why are you fooling around to make sure the student gets a few extra marks instead of helping the student learn the material so that the student can both do the homework and ace the test?
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historywoman
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« Reply #41 on: December 19, 2012, 2:30:07 PM »

If you have to ask if you are cheating, then you probably are.
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usukprof
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« Reply #42 on: December 19, 2012, 2:32:17 PM »

If you have to ask if you are cheating, then you probably are.

The OP was hoping we'd all say the opposite.
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piledhigheranddeeper
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« Reply #43 on: December 30, 2012, 7:47:37 PM »

What is the academic honesty policy for the class and the institution? 

In some disciplines, students are allowed to discuss homework or get help on homework in a lab setting or even from other students.  But they are expected to do their own work as far as coming up with the actual answer.  Some professors may encourage study groups and students may even compare final answers.  They may explain how they got an answer as well.

I would think accounting, mathematics, and statistics classes would have very clear guidelines about homework. 

Take home tests are another area where it is important to have clear guidelines.

When different instructors permit can vary some.     
 
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lucy_
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« Reply #44 on: December 31, 2012, 8:47:54 AM »

Let's go back to the days before the internet:

If a student has trouble with the homework and talks to a classmate:

Does the student simply copy the classmate's homework? Is that cheating? IMHO, yes.

Does the student look over the classmate's homework to see where she/he was going wrong, figure out how now to do the work on her or his own, do the homework problem on her or his own. Since the point of all of this is to learn the information and how to solve problems. This, IMHO, is not cheating.

Getting help to learn how to do things vs copying someone else's work, as simple as that, IMO, internet or no internet.

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