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Crittias
05-10-2010, 10:32 AM
I teach a large lecture class at my university, and every semester I deal with multiple cases of student cheating. Most of the cases involve students copying computer files from their cohorts and submitting them as their own work: an action strictly forbidden by our Honor Code, and re-emphasized in multiple course documents.

The good news is that when I catch these offenses, they're inarguable, and the guilty/not-guilty argument is simple and straightforward. Penalties range from moderate (letter grade deductions in the class, for instance) to the severe (last semester a student received an F in the course, flagged with a notation on their transcript that the F was due to misconduct. The student was suspended from the University for three years, and permanently banned from my specific college).

I announce at the beginning of every semester that my TAs and I are very good at catching cheaters, and that we rigorously prosecute every case. I would think that students would eventually get the message that the cost of cheating is much higher than the cost of performing poorly on a homework, but apparently that's not the case, as these violations have been happening consistently for more than five years.

So: why do students cheat? What is it about the current state of academics that gives the typical (by my point of view) college student the incentive to cheat, even when their chances of success are demonstrably low, and the consequence of their misdeeds is significant?

Insight into this issue? It has me scratching my head. I'd like to put together a game plan to further eliminate these infractions, but I'm at a loss as to what else to do.

Ink Asylum
05-10-2010, 10:35 AM
They're lazy and stupid but think they're smarter than you.

Crittias
05-10-2010, 10:37 AM
They're lazy and stupid but think they're smarter than you.No doubt, that's true. My followup question is: what can I do to convince them to behave otherwise? If anything?

Vigil80
05-10-2010, 10:40 AM
Some people - maybe even most - don't view school as an experience, but purely as something they just have to do in order to get by, like paying taxes. So it's no stretch for them to try to take shortcuts to make it easier.

(Incidentally, I viewed most of school as such, but didn't bother cheating because I did grasp the risk/reward imbalance, and I was lucky enough that most of it came easily, anyway.)

Like many things, it's probably easy to lull themselves into a false sense of security, too, thinking "it (getting caught) won't happen to me." Add that to the fact that some professors aren't as diligent or successful at catching cheaters as you may be, and some folks try their luck.

I'm not sure there's much you can do that you aren't already doing. At least, nothing that wouldn't be arcane or suffer from diminishing returns. There will always be someone that will try.

Ink Asylum
05-10-2010, 10:41 AM
If laying things out at the beginning don't work, I don't know that there's much else you can do. These students know the costs but they've convinced themselves they're clever enough to get away with it. It's hard to get a cocky young adult to understand that he's not as devious as he thinks he is.

Repeat the penalties for cheating when giving out every assignment? Call out cheaters publicly?

Crittias
05-10-2010, 10:46 AM
Call out cheaters publicly?I really really want to do this, but legally cannot. Yes, a wall of shame would probably work VERY well.

Vigil80
05-10-2010, 10:46 AM
Try to be very approachable, I would say. They may be in the vast minority, but I know at least a few people try to cheat out of panic. "I have to pass this class."

It's easy to admonish students to seek tutoring, don't procrastinate, etcetera, but we all know that sometimes it just gets away from you.

More flies with honey, and all that. I'm sure there's no shortage of notices about the pitfalls of cheating. Add to that a support system that makes cheating even less attractive, and that should be all the bases covered. The importance of open communication lines cannot be overstated.

Goronmon
05-10-2010, 10:48 AM
Some people - maybe even most - don't view school as an experience, but purely as something they just have to do in order to get by, like paying taxes. So it's no stretch for them to try to take shortcuts to make it easier.

This in combination with...

They may be in the vast minority, but I know at least a few people try to cheat out of panic. "I have to pass this class."

...this probably sums up just about all the cheaters out there.

Jeffool
05-10-2010, 10:52 AM
This in combination with...



...this probably sums up just about all the cheaters out there.I was about to point out exactly those two passages from Vigil80. People see college (school entirely,) as something they MUST do. "I MUST pass. I MUST get good grades." Appeal to their sense of self-interest. Try to convince them that it's okay if they fail a class. That's not failing at life. What's important is that they learn, not that they pass. And if they repeatedly fail a class, then they've learned that this class (and possibly this career) isn't for them. Basically, it's the "you're only cheating yourself" argument, but without such a hackneyed expression.

Kagger
05-10-2010, 10:53 AM
Some people - maybe even most - don't view school as an experience, but purely as something they just have to do in order to get by, like paying taxes. So it's no stretch for them to try to take shortcuts to make it easier.

I'm a current student, 2 exams left in my junior year of engineering. You mentioned copying computer files, so I'm guessing you are a CS/engineering teacher.

Depending on the level, one thing you can point out is that if you are not capable of getting through basic programming assignments without cheating, how are you going to be able to get through the real world. Stress that this isn't a great job market, so candidates who can barely get through intro classes are going to skipped over for jobs.

If a student doesn't care about their honor, they are probably the type that thinks an engineering degree entitles them to 60k a year out of college. I'd go that route of "your degree is worthless if you can't write passable code on your own."

Pale Ale
05-10-2010, 10:56 AM
Insight into this issue? It has me scratching my head. I'd like to put together a game plan to further eliminate these infractions, but I'm at a loss as to what else to do.

If you could generate a solution, your name would be added to the annals of history.

Ultima Thulian
05-10-2010, 11:00 AM
To pass, obviously. Why? Mostly laziness. Lack of confidence in abilities, smugness, and general worthlessness regarding handling of responsibility also factors. Fix it? You can't. People suck. My advice: Show no mercy. If possible, anytime someone cheats, you know 100% they cheated, give them an "F" and boot their asses out of the class. And no, a public "wall of shame" would do jackshit. If these people were seriously concerned about their reputation, they wouldn't do dumb shit to begin with. These same people brag to their friends about cheating and likely mock your lack of oversight behind your back.

Again, show no mercy. Fuck 'em. They're parasites and deserve whatever heel crushes their insignificant existence. Just be sure you make your policy on cheating abundantly clear as to leave no wriggle room, and be sure to be loyal about office hours and letting students know venues for help if they feel they are not doing well in class. This will eliminate most of the excuses and wriggle room the slimy little shits will try to use to escape punishment. Let your punishment be swift and harsh. Only way they'll learn. Hope this helps.

Smoof
05-10-2010, 11:02 AM
You know, I wonder if a lot of them cheating are due to the fact that they don't come to class and then realize they have a paper due or something. I'm inferring that you teach at a University, so you have large class sizes and an attendance grade is not feasible?

That way, people will simply fail based on the fact that they don't attend and writing a paper will do nothing for them. Thus maybe less incentive to turn someone's work in for a grade since they already know they're failing?

Vigil80
05-10-2010, 11:03 AM
Not saying you're wrong, but whew, I wouldn't have wanted you as a teacher, Thulian. ;)

That way, people will simply fail based on the fact that they don't attend and writing a paper will do nothing for them. Thus maybe less incentive to turn someone's work in for a grade since they already know they're failing?

This borders on the arcane measures I had in mind. It takes up class time and teacher energy to keep up with attendance, especially for a medium to large classroom. And it starts punishing people who haven't done anything wrong. If a student is doing well, they don't necessarily need to be there the third or fourth time the professor has to go over a topic, for example.

From a student perspective, I never noticed that professors who took attendance had much difference in the demographics of their class. The people who didn't want to be there, or who wanted to cut corners, still did so.

Superman's Dead
05-10-2010, 11:08 AM
I really really want to do this, but legally cannot. Yes, a wall of shame would probably work VERY well.

A friend of mine is an English professor who's in trouble with his school for even implying that a student who cheated is a burden. They get touchy.

His path of action has been to make a rep for himself. He isn't a hard-ass, but he won't let anyone slide by and he calls people out on their shit. Eventually students likely to do those things stopped taking classes from him, and started taking them from other professors. So he enjoys classes more now.

Crittias
05-10-2010, 11:09 AM
Try to be very approachable, I would say. They may be in the vast minority, but I know at least a few people try to cheat out of panic. "I have to pass this class."Fair enough. My TAs and I have LOTS of office hours, and we do try to be approachable, but luring procrastinators is still a tough sell.

To provide context, the files where we're catching the cheating are each worth 3% of their overall grade. Not a whole lot. And most students that cheat do so not because they would receive a zero on the assignment, but because they'd receive a low grade (i.e. 50%, or something). So on the margin, students are probably cheating for 1-2% of their overall grade. Which is sad.

Ultima Thulian
05-10-2010, 11:14 AM
Not saying you're wrong, but whew, I wouldn't have wanted you as a teacher, Thulian. ;)

Here's how I see it, and I do plan on possibly being a college professor some day:

1. Many of these students receive financial aid of some sort. Taxpayer money. If they are cheating, then what a waste a taxpayer money says I.

2. Cheaters undermine the accomplishments of students who actually toil and study.

3. Cheaters think they can trick or fool me. This irritates my over-inflated ego.

4. Showing leniency in regards to cheating encourages further cheating. I'm a student, and I know how students think. If they think a teacher is "weak," that teacher will get no respect. Students will leave class early without permission, cheat more often, etc etc.

5. There's no excuse. Even small colleges offer several tutoring programs, online study guides, etc. Professors have office hours...use those too. Boundless library and computer resources. I can understand failing and being overwhelmed. As a teacher, if a student showed a sincere want to work something out, I'd be all for it. I don't want be some evil prick, but I'll be damned if cheating will be allowed in any way. ESPECIALLY if I'm a college professor. I just took nearly a decade of hard schooling to get where I am, and you think you can take an easy route and cheat your way to the top? I think not.

6. Importance of grades is generally over-inflated. As a student, you're building a portfolio, and GPA is only a part of it.

7. If it's that hard, just drop and take it again in the future. Dropping is usually an option till the end of the year, and even then you can still get a WP, with only a WF truly being "damning." And even that can be remedied to an extent.


I know I'm sounding harsh, but I personally wouldn't tolerate an ounce of cheating. But each teacher has his or her own style and rules, so it really depends I guess. I just wouldn't stomach it. Pisses me off something fierce.

Squidbot
05-10-2010, 11:15 AM
Perhaps statistics? Examples of people that have tried to cheat, keeping it all anonymous of course.

Thanasimos
05-10-2010, 11:15 AM
I don't know how to stop it, but believe me when I say I hate the cheaters. I won't say I've always worked my ass off, but I will say I've always able to take the heat when I don't. If I fuck up, or if I don't want to do the homework, whatever, I take the shit grade for it. People that do otherwise piss me off.

The cheaters are cowards, through and through. I won't even break bread with them; every time they cheat they steal from me. There is, thankfully, not a lot of out and out cheating at my university, but it still kills me just to see kids opening exams before the professor gives word to.

In short, I think the real solution to cheating is relaxing laws regarding assaults, so kids like me can fix the problem! ;)

Handmade.Mercury
05-10-2010, 11:24 AM
They wait until the last 5 minutes before something is due, realize that their grade depends on this assignment, and then decide to take the risk.

Crittias
05-10-2010, 11:28 AM
Ultima, we're cut from the same cloth. My justice is swift and unwavering. As a result, I deal with tears and hair-pulling every semester. It changes nothing, but the teeth-gnashing and wailing can be amusing, in a pathetic way.

Vigil et al: I do not take attendance. If a student doesn't want to come to my class, that's their decision. Taking attendance only encourages slacker students to come and goof off, which is worse than they're not being in the seats. That said, our homeworks are based on lab exercises, and students tend to attend their labs pretty diligently.

Squid: I do share statistics and examples at the beginning of every semester. I actually demonstrate some of the techniques we use to catch cheaters! Doesn't seem to matter. Or rather, it works on most students, but not all of them.

Thanasimos: I feel your pain. As a good student back in the day, cheaters that earned similar grades to my hard-won ones really chapped me.

nabokovfan87
05-10-2010, 11:29 AM
I teach a large lecture class at my university, and every semester I deal with multiple cases of student cheating. Most of the cases involve students copying computer files from their cohorts and submitting them as their own work: an action strictly forbidden by our Honor Code, and re-emphasized in multiple course documents.

The good news is that when I catch these offenses, they're inarguable, and the guilty/not-guilty argument is simple and straightforward. Penalties range from moderate (letter grade deductions in the class, for instance) to the severe (last semester a student received an F in the course, flagged with a notation on their transcript that the F was due to misconduct. The student was suspended from the University for three years, and permanently banned from my specific college).

I announce at the beginning of every semester that my TAs and I are very good at catching cheaters, and that we rigorously prosecute every case. I would think that students would eventually get the message that the cost of cheating is much higher than the cost of performing poorly on a homework, but apparently that's not the case, as these violations have been happening consistently for more than five years.

I'm going to wonder what kind of subject you teach here, and ask if it is similar for all classes in this major(s), or just this class.

So: why do students cheat? What is it about the current state of academics that gives the typical (by my point of view) college student the incentive to cheat, even when their chances of success are demonstrably low, and the consequence of their misdeeds is significant?

Insight into this issue? It has me scratching my head. I'd like to put together a game plan to further eliminate these infractions, but I'm at a loss as to what else to do.

I see a lot of fingerpointing towards "lazy bastards" and such, but let me explain why students, at my school in particular, tend to cheat.

One teacher here, just about puts you to sleep because he is so monotone and it is phsically impossible, it seems, to stay awake. Homework isn't often, but someone who doesn't or has trouble paying attention, I can see them copying the homework.

Another type of teacher, the math/electrical engineering department here has several teachers who do one of three things:

1. Assign an immense amount of homework and grade 1 of 10/20/30 problems to determine the grade
2. Assign such homework to be due the DAY OF a major test, or over a weekend break.
3. Assign work on something that was never covered in class so everyone (maybe in one circle of friends) tries to get the answer together and they all turn in the same thing.

I think you can see what I am getting at here, but possible the class just isn't designed to get students interested in what your teaching, there is a ton of work making it just hard to do, or perhaps the assignments and stuff are too difficult. A lot of times outsiders tend to point the finger at the student and say shame shame shame, but seeing as it isn't a once in a while thing, I imagine the issue is elsewhere.

Would you be open to posting what a typical homework assignment would be and how long someone in your class would have to complete it?

Squidbot
05-10-2010, 11:30 AM
it works on most students, but not all of them.

I think the ones it doesn't work on are a lost cause, really. Some people are just assholes.

Crittias
05-10-2010, 11:33 AM
nabokov, thanks for the input. Without elaborating, let me say: it's not due to boring lectures or uncovered material. This is not me pumping myself up: my homeworks are based on practical lab exercises that each student performs every week under the supervision of TAs. Homeworks are rigorously and comprehensively graded, and due dates are spaced well away from exams.

So, I get what you're suggesting, but I've done my best over that last 15 years to make sure my courses don't fall into those traps.

I think the ones it doesn't work on are a lost cause, really. Some people are just assholes.Amen.

Bandango
05-10-2010, 11:35 AM
Insight into this issue? It has me scratching my head. I'd like to put together a game plan to further eliminate these infractions, but I'm at a loss as to what else to do.

I think college students cheat because a lot of the people who attend university shouldn't be there in the first place. A wall of shame would be nice if you could do that. Maybe some deal with facebook that would flag students' accounts who cheat/plagiarize as being lazy and ignorant and unfit for college.

Vigil80
05-10-2010, 11:39 AM
Let me thank you on behalf of your students for putting in effort to not be one of "those" teachers. :)

You raise an interesting point, Bandango. As our economy shifts toward being more knowledge-based, I wouldn't be surprised if it results in many people enrolling in "higher education" who really don't belong there. I wish we wouldn't be quite so quick as a nation to import our "trade" work, but that's a discussion for another thread.

nabokovfan87
05-10-2010, 11:50 AM
So, I get what you're suggesting, but I've done my best over that last 15 years to make sure my courses don't fall into those traps.

No worries, You asked why, thats why, at least over here.

Philonious
05-10-2010, 12:08 PM
...wouldn't be surprised if it results in many people enrolling in "higher education" who really don't belong there. I wish we wouldn't be quite so quick as a nation to import our "trade" work, but that's a discussion for another thread.

You speak the truth: This is already very much the case. Kids are raised to think university is the only option, so many students who don't belong end up enrolling. Smaller schools accept them if only to bring in more money, but this hurts educational standards in the long-run.

As for cheating: Like most other moral/ethical issues, people will do anything that they feel they can get away with. Piracy and speeding being excellent examples of this.

Crittias
05-10-2010, 12:27 PM
Blow some steam off on a forum of awesome dudes and keep up the good work. :DNow there is some good advice. Thanks! :)

Dorkandproudofit
05-10-2010, 12:30 PM
IMO, it's a matter of the value we place on grades rather than knowledge. Parents push their kids not to learn, not to be smart, but to get a nice big "A" on their paper. This teaches kids that the letter is all that matters, not the learning. That is why they cheat. The letter is all they know.

RandoM51
05-10-2010, 12:31 PM
Cheating is about getting the reward without putting in the effort.

Few people take classes with the reward being the knowledge gained. Quite often they apply no value whatsoever to what they could learn in the class. They take classes because they need it to pass, need the credits for whatever their ultimate goal is. How many people wake up in the morning with a burning desire to learn the intricacies of organic chemistry?

With that in mind, if they can get away with cheating they can spend their time on other things that they place higher value upon.

Vigil80
05-10-2010, 12:32 PM
Good point, Dork. Such are the pitfalls of our education systems. If I could see another effective way of evaluating our legions of students, I'd wholeheartedly support it.

Random, I do think that universities overly push their general education standards. But, it sounds like Crittias teaches classes for a specific track, so that doesn't so much apply here.

Ultima Thulian
05-10-2010, 12:35 PM
IMO, it's a matter of the value we place on grades rather than knowledge. Parents push their kids not to learn, not to be smart, but to get a nice big "A" on their paper. This teaches kids that the letter is all that matters, not the learning. That is why they cheat. The letter is all they know.

An excellent point and one I forgot to mention.

That's one thing that scared me away from elementary education: parents.

diablopath
05-10-2010, 12:57 PM
I know it was posted here a while back, how somebody was paid to write a paper for a girl and he bullshitted it. He then wrote her college about it, etc. Got her in really big shit, but hey, IMO she deserved it.

I hate when other students ask me for my work. I even get pissed off sharing notes unless I know the person missed due to an acceptable reason. As a student who works his ass off for his grades, it pisses me off when I see other students do none of the work and then expect students like me to have their backs.

Crittias
05-10-2010, 01:35 PM
I hate when other students ask me for my work.I treat the person that provides material the same as the student that uses the material. They both receive the exact same penalty. Enabling is part of the problem. Good on you for not adding to the issue by helping out your "friends."

LongStepMantis
05-10-2010, 01:42 PM
I was once accused of cheating in a class, and I absolutely wasn't. Turns out that a girl in the class who sat near me had copied some of an exam, got caught, and claimed it must have been me who cheated off of her. The really infuriating part is that she was a teacher's pet, so the instructor actually bought it, and suddenly I was the bad guy. I was nearly issued an F for the course and I never did a damn thing wrong.

Long story short, I certainly don't condone cheating, but please, make sure you get the "right" cheaters. That is all.

Crittias
05-10-2010, 02:03 PM
Long story short, I certainly don't condone cheating, but please, make sure you get the "right" cheaters. That is all.I promise, I dot the i's and cross the t's before I ever bring on the charges. And if future facts come to light that illuminate the situation in favor of the student, I will revisit the issue and potentially reverse my decision (that's happened once or twice).

Matthias
05-10-2010, 02:55 PM
I know you've mentioned that you make your course as interesting as possible, and make sure to schedule assignments properly against exams and all of that, and I thank you for that. The other thing to consider, however, is that your students are likely in other classes where they are not treated to such luxuries. Half of the close calls I have with deadlines are actually in reasonable classes that I've had to put off working on to fulfill the requirements of the less reasonable classes.

This semester, I've had to juggle a fun but heavy-workload cryptography class against a systems programming class with a professer who mumbles all class period while displaying slides that barely cover the topic and tells us to read a textbook that's more a POSIX manual than a tutorial on good systems programming. The combination of these two classes made it difficult to meet deadlines in some of my more laid back classes. I believe I've done a reasonable job this semester, but there are definitely times where I've had to ask friends to walk me through how they tackled a particular assignment, because I'm struggling with something and don't have time to figure out exactly which API call is best for handling something. I never submit other people's work as my own, but if someone is willing to spend 30 seconds showing me something that took them an hour to figure out, I'm going to ask for that help.

EDIT: When I do get help from friends in this area, I'm always scared to death that my code is going to come out looking very similar to theirs, and that I'll be accused of cheating. Thankfully, there tends to be one basic right way to do things, and I have my own programming style that's based off of the style guide Apple uses (and therefore most of my peers do not) so I really hope it's apparent that it is my own work.

Arphahat
05-10-2010, 03:47 PM
I really really want to do this, but legally cannot. Yes, a wall of shame would probably work VERY well.

Maybe a staged public calling out? Plant someone in the class, have them "cheat" on the first assignment, and then call them out in front of everyone. Then, have the gestapo come in and drag him away....

Too much? ;)

Crittias
05-10-2010, 04:10 PM
Maybe a staged public calling out? Plant someone in the class, have them "cheat" on the first assignment, and then call them out in front of everyone. Then, have the gestapo come in and drag him away....

Too much? ;)Funny, I already do a staged cell phone gestapo routine. And then about a week later, my TAs almost always have to kick out a real student, too. Yes, I boot students for using their cellphones, even for a second, during class.

Inspector Fowler
05-10-2010, 04:43 PM
The radio had an interesting piece on this about a year ago.

The summary (as I remember) was something like this:

90% of all students in the sample (it may have been high school or college) said that it is wrong to cheat. That's predictable, everybody says it's wrong to cheat.

However, something like 1/3rd of those people said that it was okay to use excerpts or even full text from somebody else's source without crediting the original work - maybe because "I found it" = "I wrote it" in their minds.

So basically, you're dealing with a group of people who have been taught that cheating is wrong but that the definition of cheating varies wildly. Add to that the people who will cheat anyway even though they know they are cheating and you have a terrible mix of unpredictable people with very flexible ethics.

I don't see it getting better any time soon. Students in the US are pretty much used to a system that doesn't really reward exceptional work but also doesn't really punish substandard work, either.

Matthias
05-10-2010, 04:55 PM
The radio had an interesting piece on this about a year ago.

The summary (as I remember) was something like this:

90% of all students in the sample (it may have been high school or college) said that it is wrong to cheat. That's predictable, everybody says it's wrong to cheat.

However, something like 1/3rd of those people said that it was okay to use excerpts or even full text from somebody else's source without crediting the original work - maybe because "I found it" = "I wrote it" in their minds.

So basically, you're dealing with a group of people who have been taught that cheating is wrong but that the definition of cheating varies wildly. Add to that the people who will cheat anyway even though they know they are cheating and you have a terrible mix of unpredictable people with very flexible ethics.

I don't see it getting better any time soon. Students in the US are pretty much used to a system that doesn't really reward exceptional work but also doesn't really punish substandard work, either.

That 33% statistic is odd to me, as I've always had teachers threaten to prosecute us for plagerism if we fail to cite our sources. My girlfriend even freaked out when she realized she hadn't included a citation for Shakespeare in a paper that was written entirely on a Shakespeare play for a Shakespeare class and with no other citations made. It was obvious every quote came from the play, but we've been taught to be paranoid about citations. Of course her professor said that since it was obvious she only cited the primary source of the paper, there wasn't really an issue with not citing said source.

Superman's Dead
05-10-2010, 05:00 PM
I was gonna say that I'd never cheated...but I copied the Music Theory workbook of this REALLY friendly cheerleader right before the final. I told the teacher about it one night when we were all drinking together.

Guess some circumstances are extenuating. ;)

Xerxes
05-10-2010, 05:33 PM
Greatest story never told....

In the 10th grade English, my class was about to take the hardest mid-term by the meanest SOB of a English teacher ever. I mean you'd here about this test in the 9th grade and dreaded it all 10th grade if she was your teacher. These kid had micro cheatsheets I'd never seen before and the exploited loopholes in her class and the fact that she couldn't moderate properly cause she had a bum leg. She made rounds but they were slow and not frequent. She still caught about 4 people and sent them to the principle but my whole class of 28 (I believe) was cheating. Excluding me. Oh I was all prepared to but then the word integrity just wrong through my head over and over again. I don't know why but I didn't want to be like those people. I convinced myself if it wasn't in my head then so be it. I meditated and maybe whispered a few silent prayers before it began an went to it.

I was the only who got an A in the class. What? When she singled me out like that and then wrote the grade distribution on the board, I felt all too proud of myself. I think it was only 2 Bs, handful of Cs and a bunch of Ds. Me and her were friends the rest of the time I was at high school. Apparently the other classes sucked even worse so I stood out even more.

I accomplished a similar feat while at University. No one was cheating as it was a open book test. I didn't use my book and I finished before everyone else. So when I got the only A in his class, his response, was "How, you sit in the front row and sleep every class." I told him that didn't stop me from listening. He tried to catch me off guard but the material from that class came to me easy. It was like a Print and Publishing class.

I think sometime people get in the mindset of it's better to cheat than repeat. I heard that before and thought it actually made sense. Sometimes I've blurred the lines of cheating and reasoned that it was jest.

Superman's Dead
05-10-2010, 05:36 PM
I accomplished a similar feat while at University. No one was cheating as it was a open book test. I didn't use my book and I finished before everyone else. So when I got the only A in his class, his response, was "How, you sit in the front row and sleep every class." I told him that didn't stop me from listening. He tried to catch me off guard but the material from that class came to me easy. It was like a Print and Publishing class.

These moments are the greatest moments of college. I once read a play in class because we had to discuss it and no one else had read it...so the class turned into twenty minutes of me and the professor discussing the themes while everyone else looked thankfully on.

(at least in my head)

Also, the bum leg thing is great.

Xerxes
05-10-2010, 06:07 PM
These moments are the greatest moments of college. I once read a play in class because we had to discuss it and no one else had read it...so the class turned into twenty minutes of me and the professor discussing the themes while everyone else looked thankfully on.

(at least in my head)

Also, the bum leg thing is great.

Instead of thankfully, I liked to think they were very spiteful. I was there ruler and they were nothing but mere subjects. In both cases, the instructors said they don't offer curves, but some of the students still thought I messed it up for everyone. I like to think those people got Fs if they can't even pay attention to the smallest detail such as that.

Shamrock Jimmy
05-10-2010, 06:20 PM
Good point, Dork. Such are the pitfalls of our education systems. If I could see another effective way of evaluating our legions of students, I'd wholeheartedly support it.


My sister used to go to a private school that didn't even give grades but instead gave completion checkouts, where a teacher would sit down with the students individually and make sure they knew what the had been studying completely before they can move on. That seemed to work really well for most students, but this was k-12 (or at least an equivalent of that) I think it might be a lot harder for a university to do that.

Lekon
05-10-2010, 06:23 PM
I've caught a few cheaters while teaching, and yeah crit, it's just so damn insulting to you as a prof. Ugh. Its not like the work is that damn hard. Just put some effort into it, but noooo. I do love the wailing/gnashing of teeth as you put it, but a former mentor of mine had a great way for stopping that. She'd just as the question "So, you *need* to pass. Great. But how does that pertain to me?" That usually stunned them enough.

Other thing I always hated was "But we're clients/we pay your salary!" Which is usually bes beaten with "No. you as students are not clients. You are product. I am paid to turn your raw, untreated selves into learned scholars in this field. I am paid by the school to do such, thus letting you cheat/get out of work is detrimental to my employer.

That said, I'm strangely like Xerxes in the school experience. Just never wanted to waste time cheating or being that douchebag who does. I've only ever cheated on two tests though, both in the same class. Was back in highschool, the computer science teacher was *adamant* that macs were better in every way than PC's. Not just fanboy, but spent half of each class yelling about PC's, while making us program on macs.

The mid term was a series of multiple choice questions on a hypercard stack. Said stack let you see how many questions you got right at the end. It also let you go back and change any answers and watch the number change. Or, well, you could also notice it was an unlocked stack, and just open it up, see the answers, put them in. *bam*.

The final was at least a locked stack.... but he left RegEdit on the machines during the final. Took all of 15 seconds to unlock and have the answers. I want to feel bad about doing that, but when you out computer the computer teacher, I'm still not sure if it was cheating. :p

Voodoo
05-10-2010, 06:27 PM
Cheating students make me nervous every time I go to the doctor.

Shamrock Jimmy
05-10-2010, 06:27 PM
I treat the person that provides material the same as the student that uses the material. They both receive the exact same penalty. Enabling is part of the problem. Good on you for not adding to the issue by helping out your "friends."

back in high school there were a few classes where we would have to take 20-30 pages of notes a day and me and some of my friends would share notes with each other so we would only need to do 1/2-1/3 of it each, and I'm just curious is that considered cheating?

Lekon
05-10-2010, 06:29 PM
Cheating students make me nervous every time I go to the doctor.

There's a pic somewhere of a flyer pasted up around engineering colleges. I'll try to find it, but it basically has:

"Engineers must not cheat in school. Cheating now kills people later. If it's too hard, save a life and get a new degree."

I always liked that poster, but I'm trying to think of a way to bend it for Communications/political science.

Inspector Fowler
05-10-2010, 07:02 PM
back in high school there were a few classes where we would have to take 20-30 pages of notes a day and me and some of my friends would share notes with each other so we would only need to do 1/2-1/3 of it each, and I'm just curious is that considered cheating?

Copying notes is not cheating, in general.

Presenting any amount of those notes as your own work is cheating.

The idea of academic dishonesty is that you are being asked to either reiterate previously stated material or formulate and express your own ideas on that material. If any amount of your product is an uncredited portion of somebody else's work, you are cheating.

Notes are simply copying down what the teacher is saying. If he wanted to (many college profs do) he could provide the notes online or via handouts, and everybody would start with the same info. Although you can certainly do more or less work while note-taking (thus resulting in perhaps a harder time on tests later), I would say that sharing the workload of note-taking is probably not cheating, unless your professor/teacher has somehow specified that you are only to use your own notes as a resource.

Lekon
05-10-2010, 07:10 PM
Copying notes is not cheating, in general.

Presenting any amount of those notes as your own work is cheating.

The idea of academic dishonesty is that you are being asked to either reiterate previously stated material or formulate and express your own ideas on that material. If any amount of your product is an uncredited portion of somebody else's work, you are cheating.

True. Some universities (mine for example) Even have note taking services for people who can't take notes due to any form of disability. (Hand injuries, learning disabilities, cognitive things, etc.) I made a few bucks through undergrad doing note taking that way. You take notes, drop them off at the center, and at end of semester get some money for it I think it was around 80 bucks per class, which isn't really a bad price for sharing your notes to help someone out.

Ultima Thulian
05-10-2010, 07:16 PM
Sharing and copying notes isn't cheating since it's not work. Just avoid plagiarism or copying something more than notes (i.e. homework, tests, etc) and you should be fine. Cheating is usually cut 'n dry, though there are exceptions.

bstiff
05-10-2010, 07:32 PM
Cheating students make me nervous every time I go to the doctor.

I guess it depends on the program but a lot of residency programs don't have a problem with cutting people loose who can't make the grade after they've been counselled about their performance. It happened to a guy I was in residency with, he was frighteningly AWFUL and several residents went to the chief resident and program director to express concerns. He was put on notice, didn't improve and a few months later was fired from the program.

Generation ABXY
05-10-2010, 07:45 PM
Cheating students make me nervous every time I go to the doctor.

Huh, and here I thought he was making a joke about sleeping with co-eds... but I suppose Lekon's and bstiff's interpretations work better.

Matthias
05-10-2010, 08:50 PM
Huh, and here I thought he was making a joke about sleeping with co-eds... but I suppose Lekon's and bstiff's interpretations work better.

I assumed he was referencing his students in Vodou... I pictured students poking a Voodoo voodoo doll with pins, accidentally killing him because they didn't pay enough attention to know how to cause only minor pains.

Xerxes
05-10-2010, 08:58 PM
I still used to feel a little bad for borrowing friends notes like I was taking advantage. I just used to find my notes so dreadful. I even took a course. I thought I was set, but it was like the shit in that dudes lecture and his examples didn't crossover. At least not for me they didn't.

Ultima Thulian
05-10-2010, 09:01 PM
Personally, I only rarely take notes. Notes don't do much for me.

cp#
05-10-2010, 09:32 PM
I couldn't do most of my homework without the solutions manual. I don't even consider it cheating.

I don't copy or let people copy my assignments, but as engineering student there is plenty of discussion about problems when we are all working on projects

Xerxes
05-10-2010, 09:54 PM
I couldn't do most of my homework without the solutions manual. I don't even consider it cheating.

I don't copy or let people copy my assignments, but as engineering student there is plenty of discussion about problems when we are all working on projects

Think I love about solutions is it actually helped me learn what was going on. Why the answers are the answers instead of running off with the solution I come up with until I get a grade.

I always hate how in math classes they gave you a baby time examples, and then sent you home with the harder shit. It's like if that the case, work out a beast of a problem on board and send me home with the regular hard shit. Then I'm thinking, well that wasn't that bad. In that reality I'm doing more than I thought I ever was since they aren't that bad.

Ghostbear
05-10-2010, 10:00 PM
I cheat... cause... like... ya know?

Expugnare
05-10-2010, 10:37 PM
For mandatory repetitive practice homework, I don't feel bad about cheating on because,, in my opinion, if I understand it and can do well on the quizzes and test (which I never cheat on), I have learned the material well enough that I don't need to do the same thing over and over and over because you can't find anything else to do with the class. Yes I am bitter because my AP Chemistry teacher has given us 19 4 page+ packets over the last 2 weeks to prepare for an exam that I am not taking.

Speaking of comprehensive exams, especially AP exams, I have found out that, despite being lazy throughout the year and accepting a mid B in most of my class, I generally destroy people that have studied and taken notes throughout the year on the actual exam. In my AP Gov class, I hadn't done much at all in the weeks leading up to our final practice exam, and scored the highest in the school while finishing with half the time remaining. The teacher left me alone after that.

wsuhoey
05-11-2010, 12:06 AM
My followup question is: what can I do to convince them to behave otherwise? If anything?

Instead of just SAYING that you're good at catching cheaters, why not PROVE it? You could SHOW a couple specific examples of how you catch the cheaters (removing identifying names and such of course), like the methodology. Some people don't believe words. Visually show them how you catch cheaters, and maybe they'll believe it then. It probably doesn't have to take up a whole lecture, but a few extra minutes in your intro when you talk about it could prevent more of it than just proclaiming it.

cp#
05-11-2010, 12:24 AM
Instead of just SAYING that you're good at catching cheaters, why not PROVE it? You could SHOW a couple specific examples of how you catch the cheaters (removing identifying names and such of course), like the methodology. Some people don't believe words. Visually show them how you catch cheaters, and maybe they'll believe it then. It probably doesn't have to take up a whole lecture, but a few extra minutes in your intro when you talk about it could prevent more of it than just proclaiming it.

There's software that can catch cheating. My professor caught a few people copying each others code this way (identical indentations are a good clue)

Lekon
05-11-2010, 01:12 AM
There's software that can catch cheating. My professor caught a few people copying each others code this way (identical indentations are a good clue)

Another thing you can do is go over whatever your uni's policy is on academic dishonesty so they see that the Risk/Reward ratio isn't so favorable. At the one I teach at, first offense of plagiarism (Actual, not just one miss attributed source) is an F in the course. Second case (in any class) is removal from the university. We're kinda mean here about that. :)

Downside at our Uni. We don't take it to the academic board unless we have 100% proof, but sadly it's usually as easy as Google their paper, find the website they stole it from. Print out, Highlight both their work and the website where it's copy/pasted. With Code it'd likely be the same deal?

Xerxes
05-11-2010, 01:39 AM
I remember when people use to try and copy my vb code they would always have issues. Funny thing is I spent time and extra care making sure my code was so clean and orderly, and they'd have the audacity to ask how I did something, look at it, then throw garbage back on their screen that looked mine in words but not the same attention to details. I always left them with new issues. It would always be naming conventions or something they screwed up. Same for when it was web dev stuff.

Narradisall
05-11-2010, 06:04 AM
I hated my uni back in the day, people openly cheated and they seemed to do bugger all about it.

I actually had one person openly calling my name then pointing at a question to get me to pass them the answer in an exam.

I am by no means the smartest kid in the bunch but it annoyed me no ends.

Part why I avoided group work like the plague. There was always the one asshole that did NOTHING and then tried to cut and paste the others work together to make it look like they'd done it.

One the flip side. I made a ton of cash making HTML pages for other students one year.... so...

Crittias
05-11-2010, 07:56 AM
Instead of just SAYING that you're good at catching cheaters, why not PROVE it?I do:
Squid: I do share statistics and examples at the beginning of every semester. I actually demonstrate some of the techniques we use to catch cheaters! Doesn't seem to matter. Or rather, it works on most students, but not all of them.



There's software that can catch cheating. My professor caught a few people copying each others code this way (identical indentations are a good clue)We use software as a tool to catch cheaters, as well as other things.

Shrinn
05-11-2010, 08:17 AM
Funny, I already do a staged cell phone gestapo routine. And then about a week later, my TAs almost always have to kick out a real student, too. Yes, I boot students for using their cellphones, even for a second, during class.

Please have a clock in your room. Sometimes I go crazy not knowing what time it is.

I'm with Supes on the workload thing. I've never cheated due to fear of the repercussions but I have let work slip by because some professors just don't understand that you're in 4+ other classes with 4+ other finals as well as work and you don't really have time to sit in the library doing case briefs that could have been assigned weeks earlier.

Crittias
05-11-2010, 08:27 AM
I'm with Supes on the workload thing.All of my assignments are given out at least two weeks before they're due.

zarathstra
05-11-2010, 08:31 AM
A friend of mine is a public high school teacher. He told me that he constantly gets papers that were copy and pasted out of Wikipedia, complete with hyperlinks and everything. I can't imagine how they think they're going to get away with something that blatant.

frederec
05-11-2010, 08:34 AM
All of my assignments are given out at least two weeks before they're due.

I try to consistently give out one assignment a week, to be due a week later. (When I'm on the ball, the assignment will go up on the web page before it's officially assigned, but people rarely start on anything until just before it's due anyway).

I know students use their phones to check the time. It's usually obvious the difference between doing that and texting. I did once kick a student out of a quiz for openly texting someone during a quiz.

I also caught a couple of kids cheating. One student had passed the class, didn't need to take the final. The other was pretty doomed. The student who didn't need to take the final showed up anyway. They each took the test, then put their names on each other's tests. I found out while I was grading it because it blew my mind how uncharacteristic their performance was. I confirmed it with handwriting samples from their homework.

And the most annoying thing (for me), is that neither of them got any real repercussions from the school. I feel that if you're caught red-handed cheating on a final exam, you should be expelled. At the very least suspended for a bit. But no, they both came back the next semester.

TheKeck
05-11-2010, 08:56 AM
back in high school there were a few classes where we would have to take 20-30 pages of notes a day and me and some of my friends would share notes with each other so we would only need to do 1/2-1/3 of it each, and I'm just curious is that considered cheating?
Was taking the 20-30 pages of notes some kind of assignment in and of itself (which would be stupid), or just what you found you needed to take for your own benefit?

TheFlyingOrc
05-11-2010, 09:17 AM
There's software that can catch cheating. My professor caught a few people copying each others code this way (identical indentations are a good clue)

My university had this, and one of my friends got caught by it when he didn't actually cheat, and then this guy was such a wuss that he didn't fight it.

I'm pretty irritated about that, but, for the most part, those software solutions are good - they're only REALLY a problem in entry level software classes, where your programs are so simple it's actually possible for two people to have the same code, especially if it looks at previous year's submissions.

TheFlyingOrc
05-11-2010, 09:20 AM
All of my assignments are given out at least two weeks before they're due.

You are a GOOD professor. They made up about 1/3rd of my teachers. My favorite was my database teacher who was not very good at English who read slides from a professor at another university which were clearly meant to be elaborated on. I'm not sure how I actually learned to do Boyce-Codd normal form, probably by dark magic.

But yeah, your reasonable assignments get destroyed by unreasonable ones sometimes.

Matthias
05-11-2010, 09:43 AM
You are a GOOD professor. They made up about 1/3rd of my teachers. My favorite was my database teacher who was not very good at English who read slides from a professor at another university which were clearly meant to be elaborated on. I'm not sure how I actually learned to do Boyce-Codd normal form, probably by dark magic.

But yeah, your reasonable assignments get destroyed by unreasonable ones sometimes.

Hate to do this, but QFT. This is kinda what I was trying to say earlier. My computer architecture professor last semester read stock slides that were little more than an outline of a book we didn't own, by a professor at another school. They were completely worthless, as were lectures. I learned more in 24 hours of pounding out a processor in Logisim using a guide by the same external professor than I learned in half a semester of lectures. I spent so much time trying to figure assignments and labs out in this class that my assignments in other, more legitimate classes with better professors suffered. Sometimes it's not your fault that a kid doesn't get around to your assignment in what you consider a timely fashion. It's great to have two weeks to do an assignment, but when the first 10 of those 14 days see 3 other deadlines, a kid will tend to not look at your assignment until day 11 at best.

For me, the obscure labs in this architecture class tended to be due on the same day as my exams in differential equations; indeed, the professor seemed to reserve the toughest labs for these overlap days. I very nearly flunked DiffEQ because of that, and only managed a B because my professor noticed that I had a textbook case of testing anxiety and helped me make sure I was extra prepared for the last two exams.

Ultima Thulian
05-11-2010, 09:46 AM
Somewhat off topic, but it needs to be said.

Professors: Please don't make us buy a book if it's not going to be used much or at all. The text book industry has become a legal extortion, not unlike most of upper level academia in this country, and frankly if I must take it in the ass by the long dick of the American educational system that nearly guarantees my living in debt for much of my adult life, I'd at least prefer some lube. Ain't askin' much here.

TrackZero
05-11-2010, 09:47 AM
Some people - maybe even most - don't view school as an experience, but purely as something they just have to do in order to get by, like paying taxes.

I was one of those students. I found High School incredibly boring. The topics I had interest in, I was already far past the class material. The topics I didn't have interest in, I knew would in no way impact my career (sorry Geography class). My life was busy, I could never fit enough in a day. Fitting said school work in, I viewed as a waste of my time. So it was simple, I cheated and never got caught. Same in college. If it wasn't there to help me advance, it was just an obstacle for me to jump over.

And you know what? I still view it the same way. If you know what you want to do with your life and how to get there, do it, fuck everything else. Once you've achieved your goals, you'll have plenty of time to go back and check out things that aren't particularly relevant. Teachers who can't understand that their material may not hold value for someone, well, that's their problem. Content is subjective.

And the unfortunate truth is, if you value money in life, at all, it is a race. Don't waste your time when you're young.

frederec
05-11-2010, 09:56 AM
Somewhat off topic, but it needs to be said.

Professors: Please don't make us buy a book if it's not going to be used much or at all. The text book industry has become a legal extortion, not unlike most of upper level academia in this country, and frankly if I must take it in the ass by the long dick of the American educational system that nearly guarantees my living in debt for much of my adult life, I'd at least prefer some lube. Ain't askin' much here.

I'll have you know that I recently changed the books for statistics and college algebra to books whose big selling points was that they were under $50 brand new.

I agree that it's criminal to charge upwards of Two hundred dollars (http://www.amazon.com/Elementary-Statistics-Students-Skillbuider-CD-ROMs/dp/0495017639/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273593247&sr=8-6) for a book that is used for only one semester. At least with something like calculus, the books are expensive, but you can use them for upwards of three semesters. Oh, and see how amazon is cheaper than the retail price? The university bookstore here routinely charges MORE than the listed retail price for a book.

This is why I usually try to email the class list before the semester starts to let them know what the book is, and they can use that time to find cheap copies however they can.

Ultima Thulian
05-11-2010, 10:01 AM
I'll have you know that I recently changed the books for statistics and college algebra to books whose big selling points was that they were under $50 brand new.

I agree that it's criminal to charge upwards of Two hundred dollars (http://www.amazon.com/Elementary-Statistics-Students-Skillbuider-CD-ROMs/dp/0495017639/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273593247&sr=8-6) for a book that is used for only one semester. At least with something like calculus, the books are expensive, but you can use them for upwards of three semesters. Oh, and see how amazon is cheaper than the retail price? The university bookstore here routinely charges MORE than the listed retail price for a book.

This is why I usually try to email the class list before the semester starts to let them know what the book is, and they can use that time to find cheap copies however they can.

Sir, you earned an e-hug. *hugs*

Seriously, I wish more of my professors did what you do. I do have one professor who generally abhors text books and instead prescribes certain important books and/or novels for his classes. He made us get Candide, Cheese and the Worms, Journal of my Life, and another book. Not only did I find most of the books enjoyable and more educational than most textbooks (you can get most info presented in textbooks easily online or at the library, but nuanced stuff that you see in Cheese and the Worms is harder), but they were all cheap as hell. I bought Candide for like 3 bucks. The other books were really cheap too. He taught Early Modern European History in case you were wondering. Cost effective and I feel they proved more effective than a textbook. Win win.

Obviously, not such an approach is possible in all classes, but I appreciated the fact I didn't have to blow 200 bones on a book I'd read only once and wouldn't be able to sell back since a "new" edition came out. Thank gawd for Amazon.

Matthias
05-11-2010, 10:04 AM
I'll have you know that I recently changed the books for statistics and college algebra to books whose big selling points was that they were under $50 brand new.

I agree that it's criminal to charge upwards of Two hundred dollars (http://www.amazon.com/Elementary-Statistics-Students-Skillbuider-CD-ROMs/dp/0495017639/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273593247&sr=8-6) for a book that is used for only one semester. At least with something like calculus, the books are expensive, but you can use them for upwards of three semesters. Oh, and see how amazon is cheaper than the retail price? The university bookstore here routinely charges MORE than the listed retail price for a book.

This is why I usually try to email the class list before the semester starts to let them know what the book is, and they can use that time to find cheap copies however they can.

Yeah our professors do the opposite; they apparently don't bother to keep the campus bookstore's lists up to date, so the list you get from the store before the semester often doesn't match the list you get on your syllabi. I've taken to just waiting until I've collected all of my syllabi and judge whether a book will be used, and amazoning everything I need from there.

frederec
05-11-2010, 10:08 AM
Obviously, not such an approach is possible in all classes, but I appreciated the fact I didn't have to blow 200 bones on a book I'd read only once and wouldn't be able to sell back since a "new" edition came out. Thank gawd for Amazon.

Yeah, since I teach math, and am admittedly old fashioned in my approach, I assign all my homework out of the assigned texts. It drives me nuts when I hear about teachers assigning "required" texts, then their lecture doesn't follow the book at all, and their homework is just pulled out of their ass. Waste of money.

I generally try to follow the book, because I know that when students are doing their homework, the first thing they're going to look at when they have trouble is their book. I don't exactly follow the book, my teaching style is a little to loose to allow something like that, but at least uses it as an outline.

I'm also a fan of having books around as references (I've got a halfway decent library of math books).

All that being said, I've come to believe that textbook publishers are money grubbing bastards. Just look at these textbooks that come shrinkwrapped with a stupid little laminated folder. You know why they do that? Because as soon as you open the wrap, you can't sell it back used. Such a racket.

frederec
05-11-2010, 10:10 AM
Yeah our professors do the opposite; they apparently don't bother to keep the campus bookstore's lists up to date, so the list you get from the store before the semester often doesn't match the list you get on your syllabi. I've taken to just waiting until I've collected all of my syllabi and judge whether a book will be used, and amazoning everything I need from there.

That may actually not be legal anymore. Just this past semester a mild stink was caused when it went around that there was some new federal law that required ISBN's for textbooks had to be submitted pretty early (I think in April or May for next fall), and before long all this textbook information has to be easily obtainable online.

Generation ABXY
05-11-2010, 11:19 AM
A friend of mine is a public high school teacher. He told me that he constantly gets papers that were copy and pasted out of Wikipedia, complete with hyperlinks and everything.

We're doomed!

Handmade.Mercury
05-11-2010, 11:47 AM
Yeah, paying $150 for a math textbook and then going to sell it back, only to have the guy give you a snarky grin and say "ten dollars" is terrible.

A. S. Houdini
05-11-2010, 11:47 AM
They may be in the vast minority, but I know at least a few people try to cheat out of panic.

I'm pretty sure--at least where I go to school--this is the main reason people cheat. Desperation. They all want to go to medical school, and that's hard to get in to. So they get desperate when they don't think they can hack it on the exam. But that's a slightly different problem than with computer science or other assignment-based classes.

With assignments--especially in CS classes--it's really easy to underestimate how much time you'll have to spend coding, and even easier to underestimate how long you'll have to spend debugging. I would guess that it's 5 am desperation that drives people to cheat on assignments like that.

I know something a lot of CS profs do is allow for a certain number of "late days." That way, folks who reach that eleventh-hour edge of desperation might not be driven to cheat. Or, at least, won't the first time.

That won't fix the problem entirely (there are plenty of lazy fuckers who can't be bothered to do the assignments ahead of time), but it might keep a few people from resorting to cheating. Just a thought.

EDIT: P.S. Crittias, what's the subject of the class you teach?

Expugnare
05-11-2010, 07:13 PM
Sir, you earned an e-hug. *hugs*

Seriously, I wish more of my professors did what you do. I do have one professor who generally abhors text books and instead prescribes certain important books and/or novels for his classes. He made us get Candide, Cheese and the Worms, Journal of my Life, and another book. Not only did I find most of the books enjoyable and more educational than most textbooks (you can get most info presented in textbooks easily online or at the library, but nuanced stuff that you see in Cheese and the Worms is harder), but they were all cheap as hell. I bought Candide for like 3 bucks. The other books were really cheap too. He taught Early Modern European History in case you were wondering. Cost effective and I feel they proved more effective than a textbook. Win win.

Obviously, not such an approach is possible in all classes, but I appreciated the fact I didn't have to blow 200 bones on a book I'd read only once and wouldn't be able to sell back since a "new" edition came out. Thank gawd for Amazon.
My brother had a professor that required one full sized textbook and 2 smaller manual type books for his class and none of them were used for more than reference material. Coincidently, each one of them had been written or co-authored by the professor.

frederec
05-11-2010, 07:22 PM
My brother had a professor that required one full sized textbook and 2 smaller manual type books for his class and none of them were used for more than reference material. Coincidently, each one of them had been written or co-authored by the professor.

I once had a professor use books he wrote for a class. At the beginning of the course he told everyone that if they felt that he was using them as texts to make money, rather than because he genuinely thought they were the best texts, he would gladly refund them the money he made from that book sale.

Thing is, they were honestly pretty darn good books on the subject.

Lekon
05-11-2010, 07:52 PM
My brother had a professor that required one full sized textbook and 2 smaller manual type books for his class and none of them were used for more than reference material. Coincidently, each one of them had been written or co-authored by the professor.

Wow...
that is just.. high class douche. There are a few books here (Economics no less) That are 240 bucks. That's just insane. I was always sure to tell my students "Get the used copy!" for my class, since I didn't need the CD, extra goodies in it. Anything to save the poor kids some cash, which I know is always tight in undergrad.

Still, man, force selling your own crap like that is just mean.

Ultima Thulian
05-11-2010, 08:01 PM
My brother had a professor that required one full sized textbook and 2 smaller manual type books for his class and none of them were used for more than reference material. Coincidently, each one of them had been written or co-authored by the professor.

Aw gawd, I hate when professors do that. I had one prof, who is otherwise a good teacher, that would pitch his novels during class from time to time. I don't think he required us to read his books (at least his novels anyway), but damn son. Save the commercials for later.

LongStepMantis
05-11-2010, 08:12 PM
Last semester I had to buy a book with only one chapter written by our instructor. He had us read his chapter, and then the book was shelved for the rest of the semester. The really funny/sad part is that his section wasn't even really related to our subject...I'm fairly sure he just wanted everyone to know he wrote something that was published.

That's not even as bad as another professor I had for my Gen Ed sentence structure/etymology class. She used a book written by a former student that was dedicated to her, and the material in the book was actually counter to what she taught us in class. It was completely fucking useless, and obviously only an ego-stroking endeavor. I mean, it's bad enough to want us to use a book simply because of the teacher's involvement, but we couldn't even apply any of the principles the book taught because they were "wrong" according to our professor. Well then, great fucking choice using it for your class, genius.

Loki
05-12-2010, 12:11 AM
My law teacher (go figure) made us sign a contract to reinforce the morality of cheating at the beginning of the year. I saw something in Predictably Irrational about cheating where if the student is reminded before they submit work that cheating is immoral, then there is a lower chance of it occurring.

If you're doing code, do the students copy the data on a thumb drive and email you, or what? I have an idea of maybe implementing something that could help if it fits with your homework process:

When a student is ready to submit their homework, have them log into a website to upload their homework and before they upload their homework, have them sign an agreement that the work done is original and restate the consequences of cheating, the fact that you will find them, and that they will follow your school's honor code (linked of course) in bold non-legalese text.

Another option would be have them email you with their homework and have an auto-response (with the same statement of the immorality of cheating, repercussions, etc.) set up where they must reply to it (initialed in the correct areas) before the homework is accepted. Also, as an added measure of assurance, say that if they feel that the first email submitted could be considered cheating then a second attachment would be accepted and the first would be deleted with no repercussions.

And a third option is if they turn in stuff in class, have them sign a contract saying that the work is legitimate.

Vigil80
05-12-2010, 03:58 AM
And the unfortunate truth is, if you value money in life, at all, it is a race. Don't waste your time when you're young.
Your words fill me with complete dread.

kyrieee
05-12-2010, 04:35 AM
Ugh, american textbooks, I feel sorry for you guys.
They tend to have so god damn much fluff in them and I think it's because the authors get paid per word. I know I shouldn't generalize but everyone I know feels the same way about them. I've seen books where maybe 1/10th of the text contains useful information but you still need to read it all to find it, it's just an obstacle to learning and I despise it.

Crittias
05-12-2010, 06:25 AM
My law teacher (go figure) made us sign a contract to reinforce the morality of cheating at the beginning of the year. I saw something in Predictably Irrational about cheating where if the student is reminded before they submit work that cheating is immoral, then there is a lower chance of it occurring.I already do this. And I collect each one in person, and shake each student's hand when I do so. That's 400+ students every semester that I make sure I have personal contact with, albeit for just a moment.

Doesn't seem to matter.

That said, your idea about re-upping the Honor Code during a homework submission is a good one. I may have to try that.

TrackZero
05-12-2010, 06:58 AM
Your words fill me with complete dread.

It's a conditional statement. I didn't say what value someone should place on money.

Shamrock Jimmy
05-12-2010, 12:36 PM
Was taking the 20-30 pages of notes some kind of assignment in and of itself (which would be stupid), or just what you found you needed to take for your own benefit?

It wasn't an assignment but some of the assignments had questions that referred back to the smallest detail of something that was said earlier that were completely irrelevant to the subject and if we didn't write it down then we would never be able to find the answer.

Akion-Totocha
05-12-2010, 04:30 PM
If I could program I would make one that takes a chunk of text, and changes some of the words, so it still keeps its meaning, but can't be processed through an internet search engine. Smartly translating it so it looks like it has been hard written. I can't do it. But I can bet that someone has/will.

As it went, I just didn't do it. Anything. I took my exams at the end of the year, but I didn't make notes, or do homework, or cheat actually. But I still got A's so... I didn't really need to.

O.o

zarathstra
05-12-2010, 05:18 PM
Aw gawd, I hate when professors do that. I had one prof, who is otherwise a good teacher, that would pitch his novels during class from time to time. I don't think he required us to read his books (at least his novels anyway), but damn son. Save the commercials for later.

I had one professor assign a book he had written. He figured outy how much he earned in royalties for each copy, and refunded the money directly to each student. I thought that was a pretty fair way to do it.

Xerxes
05-12-2010, 05:32 PM
I once had a professor use books he wrote for a class. At the beginning of the course he told everyone that if they felt that he was using them as texts to make money, rather than because he genuinely thought they were the best texts, he would gladly refund them the money he made from that book sale.

Thing is, they were honestly pretty darn good books on the subject.

Sometimes I don't think that's such a bad deal. I don't feel as jipped when you buy real textbooks from the big boys, and it's filled with issues that you think one of the million dollar editing would have found. If I was a prof, I'd do it.

After my Sophmore year, I stopped buying books until I knew they were being used. Fuck the bookstore and syllabus with premature booklist of shit to buy.

Vigil80
05-12-2010, 06:00 PM
It's a conditional statement. I didn't say what value someone should place on money.
You misunderstand me. Rather, I value money highly, and feel as though I have already lost. :(

Spockrocket
05-13-2010, 01:13 AM
Ugh, I ran into a problem yesterday with a major project for a programming course. It was a beast of a Java program, and one of my classes was subtly messing things up in the rest of the program. As a test, I tried running my code with a class that a friend had written. It worked pretty much flawlessly. So I read through his code and tried to remodel my class to emulate what his was doing. I submitted my code like this, but I'm worried it will look too much like my buddy's code and get us in trouble. Along with my program I submitted a message to my professor explaining the situation. Hopefully he will read it and realize I didn't just flat out copy code, but after reading this thread I'm pretty nervous. I didn't realize there was software that can compare code like that, though in retrospect, I should have known.